The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and St. Louis Rams will collide on Thursday night in an NFC matchup. Both teams have had their low moments this season, but a primetime game on Thursday night is a great opportunity to prove doubters wrong. The loser of this game will be just about mathematically eliminated.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-7)

The Buccaneers may only be 6-7, but let's not count them out just yet. At 6-7, they are currently the No. 7 seed in the NFC behind the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings have a tough schedule down the stretch, and a Buccaneers win on Thursday night would make things very interesting. The Carolina Panthers have already clinched the NFC South.

Jameis Winston is having a solid rookie year with 18 passing touchdowns. You could very well make the case he is the Offensive Rookie of the Year this season. It appears as if the Buccaneers made a wise decision selecting Winston No. 1 overall in the NFL draft. We haven't seen the Buccaneers make the playoffs since the 2007 season, but that will definitely change in the near future.

Winston is playing well, but the offense still revolves around running back Doug Martin. Martin has 1,124 rushing yards this year, his first such 1,000-yard season since his rookie year back in 2012. It's great to see Martin healthy as he has battled numerous injuries causing him to miss 15 games in just the last two years. The Buccaneers' defense is also starting to play significantly better from what we saw in September. Defensively, the Buccaneers rank 11th overall.

The Buccaneers play the Chicago Bears next week.

St. Louis Rams (5-8)

It's been another disappointing season for the St. Louis Rams. At 5-8, they would need an absolute miracle to make the playoffs. Jeff Fisher may be on the hot seat considering he has missed the playoffs every year with the Rams. With constant talks about relocating to Los Angeles and so many holes to fill, this is going to be one agonizing offseason for Rams fans.

The Rams' offense has been absolutely horrendous this season. They rank 31st in yards, 31st in points and dead last in passing. Outside of Todd Gurley's great year on the ground, there's really not much to show for on offense. Nick Foles clearly isn't getting the job done, not that Sam Bradford ever really did either. The Rams are coming off a one touchdown win over the Detroit Lions, and that could spark a little momentum for Thursday night.

Tavon Austin has to get open downfield against the Buccaneers secondary. Wes Welker has become an afterthought since being picked up in free agency, and it's time for him to start making plays in the slot area.

The Rams play the Seattle Seahawks next week.


The Buccaneers and Rams will play each other on Thursday, Dec. 17 at 8:25 p.m. EST on the NFL Network. The game will be played at Edward Jones Dome Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. You can watch a live game stream here.


Neither team has a winning record for a reason. They're both flawed. The Rams have home-field advantage in this game, although that really hasn't meant much this season. The Buccaneers could actually make a run at being a wild card team if they win this game. This will be Winston's first time on Thursday Night Football, and I've got a feeling it's going to be good one.

Buccaneers win 27-20

 Follow Damon Salvadore on Twitter @DamonSalvadore1