The Los Angeles Rams gave the San Francisco 49ers one of their ugliest losses of the year on October 21, drilling the 49ers 39-10 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. Some experts think the score will be closer when the two teams meet again this week, but the outcome is expected to be the same.
The Rams enter the game at 12-3 and will be playing for a first-round bye in the NFC playoffs. That means they won’t be resting their starters like they did last year in a 34-13 home loss to the 49ers in Week 17.
The 49ers have been putting up a fight in recent weeks against favored teams at home, but this week they’re back on the road and will be shorthanded on offense due to injuries at the running back and wide receiver positions.
In a nutshell, the feeling surrounding this game is that the 49ers may well put on a better showing against the Rams than they did in Week 7 but that the Rams will be too much to overcome, even if they don’t play running back Todd Gurley due to a knee injury.
Here’s a look at what the national analysts are saying about this game.
CBS Sports/Pete Prisco: Rams 30, 49ers 13
“The Rams need this game to lock up the second seed in the NFC. That’s not a good thing for the 49ers,” wrote Prisco. “The Rams will be focused here, and they are clearly the better team. This could get out of hand early. Look for Jared Goff to have a big day.” Click here for Prisco’s full Week 17 picks, which include the Vikings over the Bears, the Colts over the Titans and the Ravens over the Browns.
Bleacher Report expert consensus: Rams 37, 49ers 17
“You have to establish the run in order to neutralize the Rams’ pass rush,” Bleacher Report analyst Brad Gagnon said, “but the 49ers running game has the second-worst DVOA in the NFL. And you have to find a way to turn over Jared Goff in order to get the Rams flustered on offense, but the 49ers defense ranks dead last in the NFL with seven takeaways. It’s just not a good matchup.” Click here for Bleacher Report’s full Week 17 predictions.
ESPN NFL Nation: Rams over 49ers
Nick Wagoner, 49ers reporter: Rams 30, 49ers 20 – The 49ers have won four consecutive Week 17 games against the Rams, but there hasn’t been much at stake in most of those matchups. This time, the Rams might need a win to sew up a first-round bye, depending on what the Bears do in their finale. Unlike last year, Los Angeles likely will play its starters the whole game, which means the Rams should have a clear advantage in this one.”
Lindsey Thiry, Rams reporter: Rams 32, 49ers 17 – “The Rams are motivated in Week 17 to secure a first-round bye, to continue to tune-up their offense and to help defensive tackle Aaron Donald break the single-season sack record. Donald tallied a career-best four sacks earlier this season against the 49ers and needs three sacks to tie and four sacks to break Hall of Famer Michael Strahan’s single-season sack record of 22.5.” Click here to see the NFL Nation Week 17 picks.
ESPN expert panel: Rams over 49ers
Each week ESPN’s panel of ten experts (Matt Bowen, Mike Clay, Mike Golic, Dan Graziano, Mina Kimes, Louis Riddick, Molly Qerim Rose, Kevin Seifert, Seth Wickersham, Trey Wingo) picks the winner of every NFL game, with their predictions being put into a feature along with the community prediction of the online NFL Pigskin Pick ‘Em game. This week, every expert likes the Rams to win, as do the players of the Pigskin Pick ‘Em game. Click here to see the full Week 17 predictions.
ESPN: Darren Woodson and Tedy Bruschi – Rams over 49ers
Woodson: “Defensively there’s a lot of things they need to work on as far as the back end of that secondary. I think they shore some of those things up, and Aaron Donald again, I think he gets that three-and-a-half sacks.”
Bruschi: “I don’t think he gets three-and-a-half, that’s going to be tough for him. What I want to say is kudos to the San Francisco 49ers. You lose your quarterback so early. They’ve played hard the entire year and have been able to squeak out some wins. They’ve played hard, this is a good team for the future, but this is one game they won’t win.” Click here to see their full prediction.
MMQB/Sports Illustrated: Rams over 49ers
This year’s panel picking straight up for MMQB is Andrew Brandt (Business of Football Columnist), Albert Breer (Senior Reporter), Mitch Goldich (Producer/Writer), Jonathan Jones (Staff Writer), Bette Marston (Senior Producer), Mark Mravic (Executive Editor), and Jenny Vrentas (Senior Writer). Every panelist likes the Rams over the 49ers this week. Click here to see their Week 17 picks.
New York Times/Benjamin Hoffman (picks against the spread): 49ers (+10)
“The Rams (12-3) looked like the presumptive N.F.C. champions after Aaron Donald, Samson Ebukam and the rest of the defense helped the team to a thrilling win over Kansas City in Week 11,” wrote Hoffman. “At that point Los Angeles was 10-1. But the Rams were 2-2 after that, and the wins were hardly impressive, coming against Detroit and Arizona. Still, the Rams can secure a first-round bye by winning at home against San Francisco. A Los Angeles victory is all but a lock, but the plucky 49ers (4-11) might make the double-digit point spread seem unwise.” Click here for Hoffman’s Week 17 picks.
NFL.com/Elliot Harrison: Rams 37, 49ers 24
“The 49ers have been such a tough out lately that nothing is guaranteed here for the home team,” wrote Harrison. “If the Rams can handle their pesky division foes from the north, they will retain the No. 2 seed. Last time these two teams met up, the 49ers could not block the Rams up front. Aaron Donald had a career day, C.J. Beathard got pummeled — and so did the Niners. Nick Mullens has performed a notch or three better than Beathard, though, and will seek to put last week’s poor decision on fourth down behind him. Los Angeles, meanwhile, could feature a Todd Gurley/C.J. Anderson combo, unless the former isn’t ready to rock or this game gets outta hand early. Sean McVay needs his lead tailback healthy for the postseason, with Anderson’s punishing runs (and fresh legs) enough to earn a win at the Coliseum. Don’t expect these Niners to go down easy. They came awfully close to upsetting the same Bears team that absolutely stifled the Rams three weeks ago.” Click here for Harrison’s Week 17 picks.
Patriots.com/Don Banks: Rams over 49ers
“The 49ers have been pesky of late and won’t no-show in the Coliseum,” wrote Banks. “They’ll make the Rams work a bit to wrap up the NFC’s No. 2 seed and a first-round bye, and you know Aaron Donald would love to take a real run at Michael Strahan’s single-season sack record. But Los Angeles will prevail and send San Francisco home with a mirror opposite record to its 12-4 mark.” Click here for Banks’ Week 17 picks.
Sporting News/Vinnie Iyer: Rams 30, 49ers 17
“The Rams would be smart to sit Todd Gurley and his banged-up knee another week before the playoffs, because they can still secure the bye without him,” wrote Iyer. ”Sean McVay was right about C.J. Anderson being able to run in his scheme, and in this game, Jared Goff should like all the matchups he sees against the 49ers’ depleted secondary. The Rams’ defense will close with pressure that forces mistakes from Nick Mullens.” Click here to see Iyer’s picks.
USA TODAY expert panel: Rams over 49ers
This year’s panel of USA TODAY experts that will be picking the outcome of NFL games each week are writer Jarrett Bell, Nate Davis, Mike Jones, Mike Middlehurst-Schwartz, and Lorenzo Reyes. The picks this week are unanimous in favor of the Rams. Here’s a look at their score predictions — Bell: Rams 31-24; Davis: Rams 27-13; Jones: Rams 30-22; Middlehurst-Schwartz: Rams 38-20; Reyes: Rams 31-26. Click here to see their full Week 17 predictions.
Source: “Los Angeles” – Google News