Greg Cote

Greg Cote’s Thursday NFL pick: Rams over Bucs

St. Louis Rams running back Todd Gurley sits in the bench area during the fourth quarter against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015, in St. Louis.
St. Louis Rams running back Todd Gurley sits in the bench area during the fourth quarter against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015, in St. Louis. AP

BUCCANEERS (6-7) at RAMS (5-8)

Line: STL by 1 ½

Cote’s pick: STL 19-16

TV: 8:25 p.m. Thursday, NFL (airing in South Florida)

A duel of NFC also-rans kicks off NFL Week 15, with Tampa Bay fighting for that last wild-card spot with only 14 percent likelihood of getting it, and St. Louis not mathematically eliminated but close to it. The game nevertheless has a watchability factor, thanks to a pair of exciting rookies in Bucs QB Jameis Winston and Rams RB Todd Gurley. In a strong year for offensive freshmen, they could be 1-2 in rookie of the year voting. Game also has an historical element, this being St. Louis’ final home game amid speculation the club could relocate (back) to Los Angeles after this season. Tee Bees present strong run defense to Gurley, but STL’s pass rush could bother Winston. See the Rams with a winning sendoff in a points-shy game.

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