Both the Bucs and the Rams are coming off blowout wins in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. But Las Vegas has Tampa Bay opening as a three-point favorite (-3) as betting odds have opened for the Divisional round.

This is an interesting development considering that the Rams beat the Bucs in Los Angeles in Week 3 quite handily, 34-24. The Rams beat the Arizona Cardinals, 34-11, on Monday night and will have a short week to prepare for the Bucs before flying across the country to play in Tampa at 3:00 p.m. ET on Sunday.

Tampa Bay beat Philadelphia in a similar fashion, 31-15, but suffered some key injuries along the offensive line. Right tackle Tristan Wirfs sprained his right ankle and had to leave the game. He played only eight snaps. Wirfs’ replacement, Josh Wells, suffered a quad injury during the game but toughed it out until the end.

Center Ryan Jensen also suffered a sprained left ankle in the first half. But he was able to tough it out as well. Bucs head coach Bruce Arians said that the team may not know those players’ availability until later in the week.

“Well as tough as he is, I think there’s a chance,” Arians said. “He’s in a boot right now. Probably he and Ryan are going to go all the way until Friday before we know anything true. We’ll just have to wait and see.”

Having Bucs quarterback Tom Brady, the most successful player in the postseason in NFL history with 35 victories, is reason enough to make Tampa Bay a slight betting favorite. Yet Brady was sacked four times and the Bucs will be facing one of the league’s best pass rushing teams.

Los Angeles ranked third in sacks this season with 50, trailing only Pittsburgh (55) and Minnesota (51). The Rams are led by All-Pro defensive lineman Aaron Donald, who had 12.5 sacks, followed by outside linebacker Leonard Floyd’s 9.5. Los Angeles traded for future Hall of Fame pass rusher Von Miller this year. Miller has five sacks on the season and had one in the playoff win against Arizona.

The Rams have a 7-2 road record this year, while the Bucs are 8-1 at home.

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About the Author: Scott Reynolds

Scott Reynolds is in his 27th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive coordinator/defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]
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pinkstob
pinkstob
4 months ago

I would’ve rather we were underdogs in terms of the odds. We play better with a chip on our shoulder when we think we’ve slighted by someone.

bucballer
bucballer
4 months ago

As a fan, I predict we will win a shootout against the Rams! As a bettor, I would have to favor the Rams due to the sheer number of injuries that the Bucs have. That a lot of talent sitting on the shelf. Let’s wait till Friday and see who actually is in and who’s out. Did Rams have any injuries in their game?

Naplesfan
Naplesfan
Reply to  bucballer
4 months ago

The whole defense is back, only one offensive player is definitely out – Godwin – and Tom Brady passes for more yards per game when Godwin is NOT in the lineup (weeks 16-18) than when Godwin is IN the lineup (weeks 1-15). I doubt seriously that Jensen won’t play – he gutted it out most of the game against the Eagles… Wirfs has also been an iron man, so don’t bet against him being on the field. Besides, Tom Brady has the quickest release in the league – in the second half on Sunday he clocked in at a 2.17… Read more »

RW
RW
4 months ago

All comes down to line play. The Rams have the highest graded D-line and one of the best O-lines in the NFL. Can the Bucs O-line protect Brady long enough to make plays and open holes for a running attack? And can Barrett, Vea, Suh and company get some heat on Stafford?

bucballer
bucballer
Reply to  RW
4 months ago

Yes! That’s the key RW! Can our D pressure Stafford into unforced errors?

Naplesfan
Naplesfan
Reply to  RW
4 months ago

After the Bucs D literally destroyed the top running team in the league last Sunday, don’t bet against our defense. The only reason, season long, that we didn’t do so well against the pass was because our entire starting defensive secondary was out on injury multiple games, most of the season. They looked pretty good last week against a run first quarterback who doesn’t draw many sacks or throw many INTs. Stafford, of course, is a different kind of quarterback who DOEs throw a lot of INTs (twice as many as Hurts).

BigSombrero
BigSombrero
4 months ago

If you like money, take the Rams moneyline. If you’re wrong, you can at least be happy that the Bucs pulled out a miracle.

Naplesfan
Naplesfan
Reply to  BigSombrero
4 months ago

Las Vegas says very different.

Naplesfan
Naplesfan
4 months ago

The oddsmakers like a track record in placing their bets.

Maybe it’s got something to do with Tom Brady having 35 career playoff wins and 7 Super Bowl championships, vs. Stafford having one career win against a team that faded at the end of the season and barely coasted into the playoffs.

Eddie
Eddie
4 months ago

I think Fan noise will make the difference in this game. The home field advantage was huge for Rams last night. No reason why our fans cannot do just as good or better. Make enough noise to stop Stafford audible

James Taylor
James Taylor
4 months ago

The talent and health gap is too large. The Bucs will struggle to slow down the Rams offense and will struggle to sustain drives against the Rams defense. The Rams will win in the trenches and they will win their matchups of wide receiver-cornerback. The Bucs need to make this a game about halfbacks, tight ends, linebackers, and safeties. If this game comes down to which line will hold up better in pass protection for intermediate and deep shots and which group of receivers will win more one-on-one match ups the Bucs are going to lose.