St. Louis Rams (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS)
NFL Football Week 2
Date and Time: Sunday, September 14th, 2014. 4:00PM EST
Where: Raymond James Stadium Tampa, F.L.
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Stl +7/TB -7
Over/Under Total: 37
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If you are a St. Louis Rams fan, it may be time to hit the panic button if you have not already. If losing Sam Bradford again was not enough in the preseason, perhaps last week’s offensive debacle was the tipping point. In the Rams 34-6 home loss to the Vikings last week, the offense was simply embarrassing to watch. Starting quarterback Shaun Hill was replaced in the 2nd half by Austin Davis as coach Jeff Fisher searched for answers. Running back Zac Stacy was held to just 43 yards and St. Louis just could not get anything going offensively. This week more questions loom than answers when the Rams travel into Raymond James Stadium for a date with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Tampa Bay had a bit of their own problems last week on the offensive side of the ball in their 20-14 opening loss to the Panthers. The Buccaneers compiled just 264 total yards and quarterback Josh McCown made a couple of dumb mistakes that proved to be costly turnovers. Furthermore to compliment the offensive concerns, star running back Doug Martin was held to just 9 yards on 9 carries. However much of the offensive woes the Buccaneers experienced last Sunday can be accredited to the Panthers defense. Carolina’s front 7 led by linebacker Luke Kuechly were downright nasty against the run and also aided in forcing McCown into throwing a pair of interceptions.
Carolina had one of the top defenses in the NFL in 2013 and they could be even better this season. The good news for Tampa is that McCown found some momentum in the 2nd half which should be a confidence builder moving forward. Additionally, the defense played pretty well considering the Buccaneers were dominated in the time of possession battle. With those positives taken into consideration and hope the Buccaneers running game will come alive this week, Tampa Bay is currently listed as 7 point favorites at most betting shops.
The bad news for bettors is that Tampa Bay has not exactly been a strong team to back on the betting market. The Buccaneers are just 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games and 4-7-1 ATS in their last 12 games inside Raymond James Stadium. In fact the Buccaneers have failed to win their last 4 games straight up when they were favored by more than 3 points. However, there is some good news if you want to fade St. Louis this Sunday. One reason is the St. Louis offense, should I talk about how pitiful they looked last week again? The Buccaneers have also posted a 4-2 mark ATS and 5-1 mark SU in their last 6 games against the Rams in Tampa.
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Ultimately this game comes down to the offense that can move the football and do it on a consistent basis. Both the Rams and Buccaneers defense will enter this Sunday’s matchup with similar mindsets. Each team will load the box to stop the run and bring blitzes to keep the pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Both the Rams and Buccaneers ability to run the football will be critical for their offense this Sunday and for the entire season for that matter. The quarterback that comes out early in this game to hit a few passes will be able to push the linebackers off the ball and likely get their running game going. Of course the big money question is: who will be able to accomplish that feat?
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I would not be the least bit surprised to see this game as a 7-3 or 10-3 football game after the first half. Scoring will probably increase a bit in the 2nd half but the under 37 appears to be a solid play. Additionally, I like the Buccaneers to cover the 7 points. I believe the Buccaneers defense will shut down Zac Stacy and keep pressure on Shaun Hill who will be starting again this Sunday. A few turnovers could help the cause but either way I believe the Buccaneers cover the 7. Good luck!