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2013 NFL Betting, Online NFL Betting Odds & Lines

Can Bucs Keep Slim Playoff Hopes Alive Against The Rams On Thursday?

Posted by on 12/16/2015 3:10:28 AM

A week ago the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were a .500 team with a legitimate shot at contending for a playoff spot within a single game of the final NFC Wild Card spot. A lot can change in a week. Tampa Bay failed to take care of business in a 24-17 loss to the New Orleans Saints while the Seattle Seahawks beat up on the Baltimore Ravens to increase the hole the Buccaneers are in to two games with Seattle and the Minnesota Vikings both at 8-5. Tampa Bay will have an uphill climb catching either of those teams with just three games to play but Lovie Smith’s group isn’t about to throw in the towel just yet and they enter Week 15 in a must-win situation as they visit the St. Louis Rams on Thursday Night Football.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ St. Louis Rams

Sunday December 17, 2015 – 8:25 PM ET

NFL Betting Line: Pick’em

What The Buccaneers Will Have To Do To Win

The Bucs couldn’t build on the momentum of a big 23-19 win over the Atlanta Falcons and as a result they stumbled at home against a New Orleans side they were favored to beat last week. Tampa Bay’s defense will have to be better this week and it will help that they won’t have to face Drew Brees, who completed 31-of-41 passes against them for 312 yards and two touchdowns without an interception. The Buccaneers must keep Case Keenum from having time to pick them apart in the pocket with an even bigger focus this week on stopping the run with Todd Gurley lined up on the other side of the football. Meanwhile, Jameis Winston needs to be more accurate with the football after being held to 18-of-32 passing against a Saints’ defense that hasn’t been good at all this year. Tampa wants to be able to move the football on the ground with a strong rushing attack led by Doug Martin but they still need more out of Winston and in particular when the game is on the line in the fourth quarter after he was held to just 182 passing yards versus New Orleans.

What The Rams Will Have To Do To Win

St. Louis will once again turn to Keenum with the hope that he can improve on last week’s performance after he completed 14-of-22 passes for 124 yards and an interception in a 17-14 win over the Detroit Lions. Gurley rushed for 140 yards and two touchdowns and really took the pressure off of Keenum but the Rams will need more from their quarterback this week. With the offense limited to Gurley and whatever Keenum can muster up with a limited cast of wide receivers the defense will also have to step up and keep Winston and company in check. St. Louis will focus on stopping the run and then generating pressure up front to attack Winston and force him in to making mistakes.

Outlook & Pick

The Rams have nothing to play for but pride at this point but don’t overlook Fisher ripping in to his team a couple of weeks ago and the effect that had on them in last week’s win and potentially moving forward. The Buccaneers are a desperate team that absolutely has to win this game so look for them to pull out all of the stops to get the job done. Tampa Bay needs more out of Winston and its defense and after an emotional letdown last week the Bucs will be playing with a sense of urgency as they rise to the occasion and find a way to keep their slim hopes alive with a win in a close game that could come down to a fourth-quarter field goal.

Pick: Tampa Bay PK

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