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Rams at Buccaneers Divisional Round: 3 Bold Predictions

Here are three bold predictions ahead of the Rams at Buccaneers Wild Card Round matchup.

Sunday will be a monumental test for the Rams as they prepare for Tom Brady and the defending Super Bowl champion Buccaneers in Tampa Bay for the Divisional Round matchup. After last week's complete team effort over the Arizona Cardinals, the Rams seem to be trending in the right direction. Most importantly, quarterback Matthew Stafford, who had thrown 13 interceptions in his last nine games, didn't turn the ball over in the Rams 34-11 win in the Wild Card Round.

With the stakes taken up a notch, here are three bold predictions ahead of the Rams and Buccaneers win-or-go-home showdown:

1. Mike Evans is locked up by Jalen Ramsey for the third straight meeting

Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey usually doesn't stick to covering one receiver but should see a significant amount of time guarding wide receiver Mike Evans. With Ramsey in coverage against Evans in the last two meetings, the Bucs standout receiver has been held to five catches for 54 yards, per PFF. With wide receiver Chris Godwin done for the season, Evans has seen a significant target share, including a nine-catch 117-yard performance in the Wild Card Round against the Philadelphia Eagles. Despite a lack of other weapons, I think Ramsey locks down Evans, which could be the key to a Rams victory. 

2. Rams' midseason acquisitions continue to shine

Pass rusher Von Miller and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. proved their worth in Monday night's win over the Cardinals. Beckham posted 54 yards and a touchdown while also throwing a 40-yard pass to running back Cam Akers. Meanwhile, Miller recorded a sack in his sixth consecutive game and recorded three tackles for loss. Overall it was a fantastic night for the Rams' newcomers, and I think they continue the hot streak this weekend. Despite facing an excellent Tampa Bay offensive line, I believe Miller continues his streak of sacks, while Beckham posts at least 75 receiving yards.

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3. Cam Akers consumes the role of a bell-cow running back

Cam Akers' recovery from his Achilles tear has already been completed in record time, and the Rams' rusher displayed he's fully back last week. In the Wild Card Round game last Monday, Akers out-touched Sony Michel 18 to 13 in only his second game back from injury. Most impressively, Akers caught two deep balls going out as a pass-catcher with one coming from Stafford and another from Beckham on a trick play. With Akers looking fully healthy, I believe he gets the workload of a bell-cow running back, cementing himself as the Rams' running back of the future. Akers averaged 110.5 yards per game in last year's playoff run and I think this is the game that Akers' returns to form in that fashion, registering a monster day.


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