Los Angeles Rams at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 2022 Week 9 NFL Pick

Los Angeles Rams (3-4) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-5)

This is a matchup of the previous two Super Bowl winners and a rematch of a divisional round game from a year ago when the eventual champion Rams barely got the best of the Buccaneers, in a matchup between a 12-win Rams team and a 13-win Buccaneers team. However, going into this matchup, both teams have disappointed significantly this season, with both teams sitting below .500, the Rams at 3-4 and the Buccaneers at 3-5.

The Buccaneers got off to a 2-0 start, but their offense has been middling at best all season, ranking 21st in schedule adjusted offensive efficiency, while their dominant defense that lead them to their first two victories has not been nearly as good since, in large part due to key injury absences, which will continue this week, with stud safety Antoine Winfield and top edge defender Shaq Barrett out for this game, among others. The Buccaneers offense is probably better than they’ve played so far, but they’re not the same in the receiving corps and on the offensive line as they’ve been in recent years and quarterback Tom Brady is starting to show his age, even if only a little bit, with a less impressive supporting cast.

The Rams, on the other hand, have been middling on both sides of the ball for most of the season, falling from 9th in schedule adjusted offensive efficiency in 2021 to 16th this season and falling from 9th to 12th on defense. Their offensive problems largely stem from the off-season losses of wide receiver Odell Beckham and offensive linemen Andrew Whitworth and Austin Corbett, but they’ve also had further injuries on the offensive line that have made things worse. On defense, their dropoff has not been as pronounced, as they do seem to be feeling the effects of losing top edge defender Von Miller this off-season.

Overall, I have both teams about even in my roster rankings, which makes this a tough call. I have the Buccaneers as slightly better and this line favoring them by a field goal is what you would expect when a home team is slightly better than the road team, but my numbers have the Rams slightly more likely to cover at this number than the Buccaneers, so I am taking them for pick ‘em purposes. There’s obviously not nearly enough here to bet on either side though and a push might be the most likely outcome, given that the most likely outcome when two evenly matched teams play is the home team winning by a field goal.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 23 Los Angeles Rams 20

Pick against the spread: LA Rams +3

Confidence: None

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