Playoff hopes are still alive, slim as they may be, for the St. Louis Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers when they meet at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis on Thursday Night Football. The Rams, despite sitting at 5-8, have not yet been eliminated from playoff contention, while the 6-7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers are currently two games back of an NFC Wild Card bid.
The Bucs are coming off a tough loss at home to the New Orleans Saints and will look to bounce back against a Rams offense that has struggled throughout the season. The Rams rank near the bottom of the league in most offensive statistical categories. They're averaging just 16.2 points per game, second-worst in the NFL.
The Rams are last in the league in passing yards, and current starter Case Keenum hasn't been much more effective than Nick Foles. Rookie running back Todd Gurley is the brightest spot on this offense and presents the biggest challenge for the Bucs. Gurley has 975 rushing yards and eight touchdowns on 189 carries this season, but the Bucs have been successful in slowing down their opponents' ground game. Tampa Bay allows just 94.1 rushing yards per game.
The St. Louis defense will have to work to contain Doug Martin, who rushed for 1,214 yards and five touchdowns on the season, as well as quarterback Jameis Winston. The rookie has improved as a passer, has limited turnovers and can also make plays on the ground. Totaling 26 sacks so far, the Rams have a formidable pass rush, and they'll need to bring plenty of pressure against Winston and the Bucs if they want to have a shot at a victory on Thursday.
How to watch
When: 8:25 p.m. ET
Where: Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis, Mo.
TV: NFL Network
Announcers: Ian Eagle, Trent Green, Evan Washburn
Online: Watch NFL Live