NFL

Picks: Tom Brady won't; Aaron Rodgers will

Of the total of 32 games played so far, a third or, to be exact, 10, have been decided by a field goal or less.

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Tom Brady es capturado por la defensa de los Rams durante el juego de 2020.

Although the heartbeat slowed a bit, the trend is still alive in the NFL: Five underdogs won in Week 2 and three of them did on the road.

Of the total of 32 games played so far, 10 have been decided by a field goal or less, which ranks fourth in NFL annals, in a tie with 2019, 2007, 2000 and 1999 seasons.

From nine I went to 10 picks, which is 60% of effectiveness, which makes me the Daniel Jones of the picks. It is not enough, of course.

Let’s see how I deliver this week.

Game of the week

Tampa Bay (-1) at Los Angeles Rams

In late November of last year, the Buccaneers had back-to-back losses by exactly the same score, 27-24, to the Rams and Chiefs. At the time, Tampa Bay was 7-5 and no one was talking about the Super Bowl.

Those, however, were the last defeats of the Bucs’ campaign. Starting the following week, Tom Brady began to feel more comfortable in coach Bruce Arians' offense and Tampa Bay won eight straight, included Super Bowl LV.

At the start of the 2021 season, Brady has nine touchdown passes, but that against so-so defenses like Dallas and Atlanta before. The Rams represent a different challenge.

With Aaron Donald up front and Jalen Ramsey on the perimeter, the Rams' defense keeps their two All-Pro's and that spells trouble for any offense, even the one lead by “TB12".

In November, however, the Bucs' offensive line did an excellent job against Donald. In fact, statistically, Donald was a ghost that Monday Night as he did not register even a tackle, less a pressure or rush to Brady.

Tampa Bay needs more of the same Sunday at SoFi Stadium.

Brady basically didn't challenge Ramsey that night, and he completed just 54% of his passes for 216 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Ramsey will have entertaining duels with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, but the Los Angeles defense must also have a plan to contain Rob Gronkowski, who arrives this week after a two-touchdown game against the Falcons.

When the Rams have the ball, the Bucs' defense will face a very different animal than they did last year. With Matthew Stafford, coach Sean McVay's attack is vertical and very dangerous.

Stafford, now with a contender for the very first time in his career, has 599 yards, with five touchdowns, one interception and a rating of 127.0 points.

Cooper Kupp is his best option in the passing game: 16 receptions, 271 yards (average of 16.9 per catch) and 3 touchdowns.

And if the Rams have Donald, the Bucs have probably the best front-7 in the league, with names like Shaquil Barrett, Ndamukong Suh, Lavonte David and Devin White, among others.

Stafford has to be quick in reading and making decisions because any mistakes are paid for with points when you face the champions.

The pick: This is the duel between the two best teams in the NFC, and that means this probably won't be the last time they see each other in the 2021 season. The Rams have won 6 of the 7 more recently, and with Stafford, in control, I think the trend will follow the same route. Rams 27-24 Bucs

Sure Pick

Arizona (-7.5) at Jacksonville

If Trevor Lawrence is patient, maybe one day he can do what Kyler Murray does. Cardinals 31-21 Jaguars

Upset

Green Bay in San Francisco (-3.5)

If Aaron Rodgers and the "Cheeseheads" really are contenders, then they have to win this game, right? Packers 27-24 Niners

Two minute drill

Carolina (-8) at Houston

What an irony: losing your starting quarterback and not being able to use Deshaun Watson. Panthers 26-14 Texans

Washington at Buffalo (-8.5)

Coach Ron Rivera's defense will keep this game close, but Josh Allen will be able to solve it in the end. Buffalo 19-13 WFT

Chicago at Cleveland (-7)

Has anyone already noticed that Baker Mayfield has completed 81.6% of his passes? Browns 28-20 Bears

Baltimore (-8) at Detroit

If Lamar Jackson doesn't relax after beating Patrick Mahomes for the first time, then this could end pretty ugly. Ravens 38-23 Lions

Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City (-6.5)

It's easier to watch a unicorn give birth than two consecutive losses of coach Andy Reid's Chiefs. Kansas City 33-27 Los Angeles

New Orleans at New England (-3)

Bill Belichick has to keep his team focused on New Orleans and not on the game next week, when Tom Brady returns to Foxborough. Patriots 23-17 Saints

Atlanta at New York Giants (-3)

Sure we love the NFL, but three hours of this is a brutal punishment I don't wish on anyone. Giants 24-19 Falcons

Cincinnati at Pittsburgh (-3.5)

Without Ben Roethlisberger, coach Mike Tomlin's team relies more than ever on his defense… with or without TJ Watt. Bengals 20-19 Steelers

Indianapolis in Tennessee (-5)

There is no good defense that Derrick Henry can't crush during 60 minutes of football. Titans 27-20 Colts

New York Jets at Denver (-10.5)

Guessing game: At the end of the game, will Zach Wilson have more sacks or interceptions? Broncos 30-13 Jets

Miami in Las Vegas (-3.5)

It looks like Jon Gruden finally has a team ready to fight Kansas City in the AFC West. Raiders 26-17 Dolphins

Seattle (-1.5) at Minnesota

One of the two will have a couple of painful losses in a row, and in these duels that look so even I always pick the best quarterback. Seahawks 27-25 Vikings

Philadelphia at Dallas (-4)

The Dallas defense played a great game against Justin Herbert and on Monday Night they have the mission to contain the explosive Jalen Hurts. Cowboys 27-24 Eagles

Over/ Under

WFT vs. Buffalo UNDER 45.5

New Orleans vs. New England UNDER 42.5

LA Chargers vs. Kansas City OVER 55.5

Last week: 10-6

In season: 19-13