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Free Pick: Tampa Bay at Los Angeles Rams 9/26/21
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Free Pick: Tampa Bay at Los Angeles Rams 9/26/21

This is the game of the week in the NFL. Two legitimate Super Bowl contenders meet head-to-head in an early season showdown and the winner will emerge as the premature favorite from the NFC for the Super Bowl. Of course, that is ridiculous with 14 more games to play.

Scouting Tampa Bay: The Bucs are rolling along on offense. Tom Brady is completing 65% of his passes for 655 yards and an amazing 9 touchdowns in just two games. Brady has spread the wealth among receivers, Chris Godwin, Rob Gronkowski, Mike Evans, and Antonio Brown. One concern on offense is the running game. They only have rushed for 134 yards and that will be something to watch in this game. The Tampa defense has given up 684 yards through the air and that is a problem. But, they have counteracted that with 4 interceptions. They have played well against the run but have only produced two sacks. Linebackers, Lavonte David and Devin White are the leading defenders as they have combined for 34 tackles.

Scouting the Rams: The Matthew Stafford era is off to a good beginning. He has completed 70% of his passes for 599 yards and 5 touchdowns in the first two games. He has established a great rapport with receiver Cooper Kupp as they have hooked up for 16 passes totaling 271 yards and resulting in 3 touchdowns. Wide receiver, Robert Woods has chipped in with 8 catches, 91 yards, and 1 touchdown. Derrill Henderson and Sony Michel have combined for 171 yards rushing and that is an area that the Rams would like to improve. Defensively, the Rams secondary has been all over the field. They have combined for 53 tackles and 2 interceptions. They would like to improve their rush defense as they have given up 243 yards through two games.

This is the first “big game” for Stafford. Can he step up and lead his new team to a win over Tom Brady and the Super Bowl champs? This is all ho-hum for Brady as he has done this a hundred times. I know it’s early, but if the Rams can win this one they could use it as a springboard for the rest of the season. Tampa Bay is a 1.5 point favorite.

AARON”S PICK: Los Angeles +1.5

PAPA DUDE”S PICK: Tampa Bay -1.5 (Just because I’m a Tom Brady fan and I don’t want to root against him)

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