Rams vs. 49ers: betting odds, lines and picks against the spread
This is the biggest week of the season to date for the Rams. They simply have to show clear improvement coming out of the bye week, especially against a formidable opponent like the San Francisco 49ers. Amazingly, the Rams would be a playoff participant if the season ended now, but the body of work has been disappointing at best.
With the Chargers on a bye this week, the Rams are the only focus in the City of Angels and a lot of eyes will be on this team going into a big game for the present and the future.
San Francisco 49ers (-1.5, 43) at Los Angeles Rams
Anybody who watched the first meeting between these two teams on Monday Night Football in Week 4 understands why San Francisco is a road favorite. The Rams mustered just 257 yards in that game and three field goals. It wasn’t as big of a blowout as the 24-9 final would suggest, as the 49ers had a pick-six in the fourth quarter to ice it, but that game sums up the season thus far.
The Rams are the lowest-scoring team in the NFC and have barely gained five yards per play. Their 13 turnovers are the second most in the league and at 21%, no other team has turned it over on a higher percentage of possessions than the Rams. In 19 red-zone trips, the Rams have nine touchdowns. If the ball doesn’t go to Cooper Kupp, it doesn’t seem to be moving forward down the field.
Can all of those issues be fixed over the course of a single bye week? Probably not, but Sean McVay’s bunch should look better in this game with a chance to spread all the cards out on the table and then shuffle the deck a few times. The problem is that there are two jokers in the deck and the two running backs are pictured.
Aaron Donald had to reiterate why he chose to leave Donda Sports because of antisemitic comments made by Kanye West, but the Rams now need to turn their attention to the rival 49ers.
The NFL has seen a major downtick in offense this season, due in large part to defensive scheme changes. With the running game deemphasized and a lot more focus on passing the ball, secondaries have finally made adjustments to play more cover-2, cover-3, cCover-4 and other variations of zone. Unless a team is getting elite quarterback play (Chiefs and Bills come to mind), teams that run the football effectively are having success. Neither Cam Akers nor Darrell Henderson fits that definition for the Rams.
Ironically, the 49ers are also not running the ball overly well, but they acquired Christian McCaffrey in hopes of fixing that. It wouldn’t be a big surprise if the Rams end up as players for Kareem Hunt or somebody like Alvin Kamara as the trade deadline looms, but no help is coming from within. That means more emphasis from the defense on Kupp and Tyler Higbee.
It may simply be that there are no solutions for the Rams with the current state of the roster. Better offensive line play would really help and the replacement for Joe Noteboom has a pretty low bar to clear as he allowed the most pressures in the NFL at the time of his injury, including 10 in game against the 49ers alone. But, that group has been in a state of flux all season.
So, maybe the Rams do look better. Maybe they do get the offense going. Maybe the defense plays at a higher level with some mild adjustments. At this point, though, I’d rather pay to see it. That means taking the 49ers this week.
Pick: 49ers -1.5
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