Los Angeles Rams (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS) vs. San Francisco 49ers (0-2 SU, 1-1 ATS)
NFL Week 3
Date/Time: Thursday, September 21, 2017 at 8:30PM EST
Where: Levis Stadium, Santa Clara, California
TV: NFL Network
by Scott, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: LAR -2.5/SF +2.5
Over/Under Total: 41
On Thursday Night Football, the NFC West takes center stage, as the Los Angeles Rams come to Levis Stadium for a showdown against the San Francisco 49ers. Neither team won in week two. The Rams fell at home to the Redskins, 27-20, somewhat of a letdown after a promising week one win. They look to go to 2-1 this week, but are facing a San Fran bunch that showed some pluck in week two in a 12-9 road loss to the Seahawks. Before jumping to conclusions about how the Rams should win, remember that both of the 49ers wins last season came against this Rams team.
The 49ers came pretty close to scoring a big upset win on the road in week two. Seattles Russell Wilson needed a heroic TD throw in the final quarter to take the lead. It showed that in the right spots, the Niners are tough. One would think this could be one of those spots, at home in a divisional game against an opponent they swept last season, including a 28-0 shutout win over LA at home. The 49ers continue to languish on offense, but an apparent upgrade on the other side of the ball could have them in pretty good shape this season in an ATS sense.
Still, it would help if the San Francisco offense could find some positive momentum. They havent scored a touchdown on the young season, with four field goals making up their scoring thus far. Carolos Hyde was good on Sunday with 124 yards on the ground. But otherwise, the pickings have been slim. QB Brian Hoyer hasnt been all that good and he threw for a meager 99 yards on Sunday. They had just over 200 yards of total offense and more often than not, its not going to be enough. New head coach Kyle Shanahan should be able to create something positive, but is handcuffed by a roster lacking in talent on this side of the ball. It wont happen overnight.
When a team falls to the depths San Francisco has, you look for positive momentum in any form. It looks like they may have found it with a defense that has looked decent through two games, especially with an offense not offering any support. Last season, the Niners defense was as big of a problem as the offense. They look a lot better, allowing a combined 35 points through two games. Seattle couldnt run the ball and only made any real offensive progress very late in the game. Rookie DE Solomon Thomas looks to have helped the line, along with Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner. Linebacker NaVorro Bowman is still a handful in the middle and forging a nice tandem with Ray Ray Armstrong. Well see how they do at home and if they can maybe get a little more support from the offense.
Surely, one didnt expect a straight upward ascent from the Rams this season. Granted, their week two performance was a bit of a letdown after such a successful week one game where they pounded the Colts, 46-9. This game should provide more insight as to where the Rams really stand early in 2017. If they beat the team that swept them last season, it would be a good sign.
Not everything was negative on Sunday for the Rams. They fell behind 13-0 and were able to climb back into the game with the score tied at 20-20 late. QB Jared Goff was not as good as he was in game one and a lot of his new receiving talent was quiet. But Todd Gurley was effective, with 88 yards on 15 rushes on the ground, along with a receiving touchdown. Rookie TE Gerald Everett, a blossoming difference-maker at the position, had 95 yards receiving. It might not be an offense you can expect to fire on all cylinders on a consistent basis, but they have shown that they are a clear level above where they were last year. New head coach Sean McVay, 31, works well with quarterbacks and weve already seen his handiwork manifest.
The Rams didnt have their best game defensively on Sunday. The line was conspicuously dicey, not really getting after Cousins and having holes opened up on them left and right. It was a big running day for the Redskins, who had some big plays on the ground, which isnt even their forte normally. Look for DT Aaron Donald to be better this week after getting his feet wet last week following a holdout. The secondary at least kept Cousins in check aerially and well see if CB Trumaine Johnson can bounce back in time for this game after getting hurt against the Redskins. So far, the secondary has been pretty strong, with safeties Lamarcus Joyner and Maurice Alexander, with Johnson and Nickell Robey-Coleman at the corners. Look for a better defensive performance this week.
The Rams were able to start the season with two games at home. It seems like they should be able to produce a high-energy effort against the 49ers on the road. After a huge week one win, to lose to the 49ers after losing in week two would suck whatever positivity was created in week one right out of the locker room. While acknowledging that San Francisco might match up decently against the Rams and will be gritty in this home divisional setting, I see the Rams exorcising their 49ers demons this week with the win and the cover.
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im betting on the Los Angeles Rams minus 2.5 points. Bet your pick for this game using your credit card at an online bookie where it WILL work for deposits and where you’ll receive a generous 100% signup bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $250! (Example: Deposit $250 and they’ll give you an extra $250 FREE!) Find this great offer at Bovada Sportsbook.