Sunday will feature a battle of two NFC West teams basically having opposite type season. Originally scheduled for the Sunday night game, the Los Angeles Rams and the San Francisco 49ers are now scheduled for a 4:25 pm ET kickoff. For the Rams, the are 6-0 and have been largely seen as one of the best teams in the NFL this season. For the 49ers, they sit at 1-5 and have as many injury issues as most anyone in the league.
Despite the dominant record of the Rams, their last 3 games have been tighter than they have anticipated. Against the Broncos, Seahawks and Vikings, each game was decided by a touchdown or less. In fact, the last time they truly destroyed a team was back in week 2 when they beat the Arizona Cardinals 34-0. On the other side, despite the injuries, the 49ers came out to play last week. Against an Aaron Rodgers led Green Bay team, the 49ers controlled much of the game and it wasn’t until late that the Packers were able to sneak out a win 33-30. Still, the two will decide it on the field when the Rams travel to Levi’s Stadium to take on the 49ers.
The point spread comes in with the Rams as 9.5-point favorites on the road. The over/under on total points scored is 52.
Rams Look To Keep Undefeated Record Intact
The Los Angeles Rams have so many weapons at their disposal. They have a solid passing game, possibly the best running back in the league and a defense that, while not playing up to expectations this year, still can impose fear in an opposing offense.
Under center for the Rams is Jared Goff. This season he is 134 for 194 with 1,928 yards passing, 12 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. One of the most impressive things for Goff is his ability to spread the ball. He has 5 receivers with touchdowns and 4 who have 200 or more yards receiving (3 with 400+). The top receivers on the team have been Robert Woods (36 catches, 524 yards, 3 touchdowns), Cooper Kupp (30 catches, 438 yards, 5 touchdowns) and Brandin Cooks (28 catches, 505 yards, 1 touchdown).
As good as they have been in the air, they are even better on the ground. Todd Gurley continues to show that he is the best running back playing the game right now. He has 623 yards and 9 touchdowns on 129 carries. Malcolm Brown comes in next with 23 carries for 117 yards.
On the defensive side, they have been able to hold opposing offenses to under 100 yards per game on the ground and under 250 yards passing per game. Their top defensive performers have been Cory Littleton (31 tackles), Ndamukong Suh (3 sacks), Aaron Donald (4 sacks) and John Johnson (2 interceptions). Despite how well San Francisco played last week against the Packers, they will definitely be going up against a stronger defense this week.
49ers Look To Shock Divisional Rival
Realistically, not much has gone right for the 49ers this year. They lost their starting quarterback (Jimmy Garoppolo) early in the season and also have had to a rotating carousel of running backs dealing with injuries. Still, they continue to fight.
Backup quarterback CJ Beathard has come in to take the start under center. On the season, he is 73 for 114 since taking over with 892 yards passing, 6 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. His leading receivers have been George Kittle (27 catches, 429 yards, 1 touchdown), Pierre Garcon (20 catches, 225 yards), and fullback Kyle Juszczyk (17 catches, 227 yards, 1 touchdown). Last week, though, their best wide receiver was Marquise Goodwin who had 4 catches for 126 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Packers.
On the ground, Raheem Mostert and Matt Breida split the carries last week. Mostert had 12 rushes for 87 yards while Matt Breida had 14 carries for 61 yards and a touchdown. Regardless, while the offensive unit played exceptionally against the Packers last week, I don’t anticipate a repeat of that this week.
Rams Win And Cover
Last week was a great story seeing an injury-plagued 49ers team give the Packers all they could handle, but I don’t think it happens two weeks in a row. The Rams are just too tough on both sides of the ball, and while it might stay relatively close in the first half, I see the Rams pulling away in this one by the time it is all said and done. After last week’s performance, I could envision many falling in love with the 49ers as underdogs, but for my money, I am taking the Rams, even giving up the 9.5 points.