Week 16 NFL Betting Preview: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at St. Louis Rams

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at St. Louis Rams
Edward Jones Dome – St. Louis, Missouri

Sunday, December 22, 2013, 1:00 pm Eastern, TV: Fox, NFL Sunday Ticket
Opening Line: St. Louis -5 1/2
Opening Line: St. Louis -4
Opening Total: 42 1/2
Current Total 43
Opening Money Line: Rams -220 / Buccaneers +185
Current Money Line: Rams -205 / Buccaneers +175

The 6-8 Rams host the 4-10 Buccaneers Sunday. St. Louis is a 4 point favorite.
The 6-8 Rams host the 4-10 Buccaneers Sunday. St. Louis is a 4 point favorite.

Both the 6-8 St. Louis Rams and 4-10 Tampa Bay Buccaneers are eliminated from playoff contention as they meet Sunday in St. Louis. However, they are still evaluating talent for next year. Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano could be fighting for his job as well.  Since 2001, Tampa Bay leads the series against St. Louis 4-2. The Rams won last year in Tampa Bay 28-13. Tampa Bay hasn’t played in St. Louis since 2004.

Tampa Bay is coached by Greg Schiano. The Buccaneers have road losses at the New York Jets 18-17, New England Patriots 23-3, Atlanta Falcons 31-23, Seattle Seahawks 27-24 in overtime and Carolina Panthers 27-6 along with home losses to the New Orleans Saints 16-14, Arizona Cardinals 13-10, Philadelphia Eagles 31-20, Panthers 31-13 and last week against the San Francisco 49ers 33-14. Tampa Bay has home wins over the Miami Dolphins 22-19, Atlanta Falcons 41-28 and Buffalo Bills 27-6, along with a road win at the Detroit Lions 24-21. Tampa Bay is 6-8 ATS and the total is 7-7 this season. The Buccaneers were 4.5 point underdogs against the 49ers last week and the total was 41.

Tampa Bay is being outscored 23-18 this season. The Buccaneers are #28 in scoring and #14 in points allowed in the NFL. Tampa Bay is averaging 283.7 yards per game including 178.1 passing and 105.6 rushing yards. The Buccaneers are #32 in total offense and in passing. On defense, Tampa Bay is allowing 344.5 yards per game including 234.9 passing and 109.6 rushing yards. The Buccs are #13 in total defense and #15 both against the rush and pass. The Buccs are +11 in turnovers. Tampa Bay is 68/211 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 73/187. The Buccaneers have forced 33 sacks and allowed 38 this season. Tampa Bay has three defensive touchdown and has allowed three defensive/special teams touchdowns. The Buccaneers are averaging 74 penalty yards per game and opponents are averaging 60.

Tampa Bay released quarterback Josh Freeman after three games, and he is now with the Minnesota Vikings. Rookie Mike Glennon has started ever since then. Glennon has completed 59.9% of his passes for 2,231 yards with 17 touchdowns and 8 interceptions, along with 34 rushing yards. He has been sacked 31 times this season.

Running back Doug Martin is out for the season with a shoulder injury. Martin rushed for 456 yards and a touchdown, along with 12 catches. Mike James has 60 carries for 295 yards along with 10 catches, and a touchdown catch. He also threw a touchdown pass but he out for the season as well with a knee injury. Bobby Rainey has 106 carries, 460 yards and 4 touchdowns, along with 9 catches for 22 yards and a touchdown. Brian Leonard has 42 carries for 147 yards, along with 25 catches  for 174 yards.

Receiver Vincent Jackson has 69 catches, 1,091 yards and 7 touchdowns. Timothy Wright has 45 catches, 486 yards and 4 touchdowns. Mike Williams is out for the season with a hamstring injury. Williams had 22 catches, 216 yards and 2 touchdowns. Tiquan Underwood has 18 catches for 340 yards and 3 touchdowns. Kickers Connor Barth (Achilles’ tendon) and Lawrence Tynes (staph infection) are both out for the season. Rian Lindell is the kicker for the Buccs. Five defensive players and three tight ends  are on the injury report for Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The St. Louis Rams are coached by Jeff Fisher. The Rams have home wins over the Arizona Cardinals 27-24, Jacksonville Jaguars 34-20, Chicago Bears 42-21, and New Orleans Saints 27-16 along with road wins at the Houston Texans 38-13 and Indianapolis Colts 38-8. The Rams have home losses to San Francisco 35-11, Seattle 14-9 and the Tennessee Titans 28-21, along with road losses  to the Atlanta Falcons 31-24, Dallas Cowboys 31-7, Carolina Panthers 30-15, 49ers 23-13 and Cardinals 30-10. St. Louis is   6-8 ATS and the total is 9-5 this season. The Rams were 6.5 point underdogs against the Saints  and the total was 47.5.

St. Louis is being outscored 23.1-22.6 this season. The Rams are #20 in scoring and #13 in points allowed. St. Louis is averaging 317.3 yards per game on offense including 202.3 passing yards and 115 rushing yards per game. The Rams are #26 in both total offense and #27 in passing offense. On defense, The Rams are allowing 362.9 yards per game including  257.5 passing and 105.4 rushing yards. The Rams are #12 in rush defense, #27 against the pass and #21 in total defense.  St. Louis is +10 in turnovers. The Rams are 71/203 on third and fourth down conversions and  opponents are 77/187. The Rams have forced 42 sacks this season and allowed 33. St. Louis has 8 defensive/special teams touchdowns and have allowed 4 this season. The Rams are averaging 60 penalty yards per game and opponents average 63.

St. Louis quarterback Kellen Clemens took over earlier in the season when Sam Bradford tore his ACL. Clemens has completed 54.7% of his passes for 1,358 yards with 7 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, along with 62 rushing yards. Clemens has been sacked 18 times this season. Back-up Brady Quinn is also on IR with a hip injury. If something happens to Clemens, Austin Davis is the back-up.

Running back Zac Stacy has 202 carries for 854 yards with 6 touchdowns, along with 21 catches, 113 yards and a touchdown. Benny Cunningham has 46 carries for 263 yards and a touchdown, along with 5 catches for 57 yards. Daryl Richardson has 69 carries for 215 yards along with 14 catches for 121 yards. He is questionable with a thigh injury

Tight end Jared Cook has 44 catches 614 yards and 4 touchdowns. Chris Givens has 32 catches for 546 yards. Tavon Austin has 40 catches for 418 yards and 4 touchdowns. Austin also had 9 carries for 151 yards and a rushing touchdown, along with a punt return for a touchdown. He is questionable with an ankle injury. Austin Pettis has 34 catches, 368 yards and 4 touchdowns. Brian Quick has 16 catches for 286 yards and 2 touchdowns. Lance Kendricks has 26 catches for 200 yards and 4 touchdowns. Two offensive linemen and cornerback Cortland Finnegan are questionable or out Sunday.

Tampa Bay is 5-1 ATS after allowing more than 150 rushing yards and and after a straight up loss of more than 14 points, 5-2 overall, 5-11-1 after allowing more than 350 total yards, 7-18-1 in December, 3-8 in week 16, 2-6 against teams with losing records, 1-4 after allowing more than 30 points, after gaining less than 250 total yards, and on turf. The underdog is 6-1-1 ATS in this series recently and the Buccaneers are 5-2-1 ATS in those games.

St. Louis is 4-1 ATS at home and on turf, 17-35-1 against teams with losing road records, 3-7 against NFC teams, and 1-5 after allowing 90 rushing yards or less. The under is 5-1 in the last 6 games in the series.

St. Louis sometimes looks like a very good team, like in home upsets of the Bears and Saints recently. Other times they look really bad. The Rams are much better at home though. Tampa Bay has gone 4-2 since an 0-8 start. They are much better at home also. I like the Rams to win at home by double digits.

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