|-3 TB (-110) @ betway|
My 10* MNF Magic play is on the TB Bucs at 8:15 ET.
The 6-3 Los Angeles Rams need a win to keep pace with the 7-3 Seattle Seahawks in the NFC West and the 7-3 Tampa Bay Bucs need a win to stay just a half-game back of the 8-2 Saints in the NFC South. Tampa Bay has a lot of prime-time exposure with the addition of TB-12 but tonight's game "main attraction" could be two of the NFL's best defenses. Led by two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald (nine sacks), Los Angeles ranks second in both scoring defense (18.7 PPG) and total defense (296.4 YPG), while also ranking third in passing defense (199.7 YPG) and fifth in rushing defense (96.8 YPG). Tampa Bay's "stop unit" ain't bad themselves, ranking first in rushing defense (76.6 YPG) and third in total defense (300.3 YPG). Tampa Bay is eighth in scoring defense (22.6 PPG) and ninth in passing defense (223.7 YPG).
Jared Goff led the Rams to a Super Bowl berth in the 2018 season by throwing fir 4,688 yards with 32 TDs and just 12 INTs (191.1 QB rating) and while he threw for 4,638 last season, his TD/INT ratio was just 22-16 and his QB rating fell to 86.5 (Rams went from 13-3 to 9-7). He's on pace to throw for just over 4,300 yards in 2020 and his TD/INT ratio is 13-6 (QB rating of 94.9). The Rams said good-bye to RB Gurley and the running game has gone from averaging only 93.7 YPG (3.7 YPC) in 2019 to 134.2 YPG (4.3 YPC) this season. Henderson (486 yards on 4.8 YPC with four TDs) and Brown (347 yards on 4.3 YPC and five TDs) have shared the workload. Kupp (53 catches / 2 TDs) and Woods (42 catches / 4 TDs) are quality WRs and the TE duo of Higbee and Everett have combined for 45 catches and four TDs.
Brady has completed 66.0% for 2,739 yards with 23 TDs and seven INTs and RB Jones has 730 rushing yards on 5.1 YPC on 5.1 YPC with five TDs, after running for a career-high 192 yards last Sunday. Brady has plenty of targets, in WRs Evans (40 catches / 8 TDs) and Miller (27 catches / 2 TDs) and TE Gronk (29 catches / 4 TDs), who has 17 catches and all four TDs in his last five games. Then there has been the addition of the controversial Antonio Brown (10 catches in two games), who when "not in trouble," caught 100-plus passes for six consecutive seasons for Pittsburgh (2013-18) with 67 TD receptions!
Both teams are hoping to win their respective divisions but the winner of this game also takes a step toward a wild card spot. The Bucs entered the week trailing the Saints by a half game in the NFC South but realistically it’s a game and a half because New Orleans owns the first head-to-head tiebreaker (2-0 this season vs Tampa). Speaking of those two games with the Saints, Brady has thrown FIVE of his seven INTs on the season in them, while his TD/INT ratio in Tampa Bay's other eight games is 21-2, with the Bucs going 7-1. Yes, the Bucs were embarrassed by the Saints at home but they are 3-0 in their other three home games, averaging 35.7 PPG. The Bucs already have matched their win total from 2019, but that was never the goal. You don’t sign a 43-year-old Brady, trade for tight end Rob Gronkowski and add receiver Antonio Brown, and running backs Leonard Fournette and LeSean McCoy as free agents unless it’s Super Bowl or bust. Lay the points with Tampa Bay.