NFL’s SNF Week 17: San Francisco 49ers @ Rams Preview

December 28, 2018 by Ryan Knuppel

San Francisco 49ers vs. Los Angeles RamsTwo NFC West rivals coached by offensive wunderkinds go head to head to close out the 2018 season.

The 49ers lost a hard fought 14-9 game against the Bears last week. In week 14, they beat the Broncos 20-14 and in week 15 they beat the Seahawks 26-23.

The Rams bounced back with a 31-9 romping of the Cardinals last week. In week 14, they lost 15-6 to the Bears and lost 30-23 to the Eagles in week 15.

BetOnline have the Rams as 10 point favourites with an O/U total of 48.5.

San Francisco 49ers

(4-11 overall, 0-7 on the road)

The 49ers offense has suffered from inconsistency with Nick Mullens at the helm, but is definitely more impressive with Mullens instead of C.J. Beathard. Mullens has thrown for 1995 yards, 10 TDs and 7 INTs while completing 63.5% of his passes and averaging 8.3 YPA over 7 games. George Kittle has been their most effective receiver, catching 79 balls for 1228 yards and 4 TDs. Kendrick Bourne (37/428/3), Marquise Goodwin (23/395/4), and Kyle Jusczyk (29/309/1) are involved as well. With Breida out, Jeff Wilson will assume the lead back role, and he has rushed 63 times for 257 yards.

The 49er scoring defense is ranked well below average, allowing 25.8 PPG. Their passing defense ranks just outside the top 10 allowing 234 yards per game and 31 TDs through the air while their pass rush ranks below average with 37 sacks. Their run defense ranks just outside the top 10 allowing 110.6 yards per game and 12 TDs on the ground. Their defense has forced just 7 turnovers (last) and as a team they own a -21 turnover differential (last).

Injuries and Inactive Watch

CB K’Waun Williams (knee) – questionable, WR Dante Pettis (knee) – out, RB Matt Breida (ankle) – out, WR Marquise Goodwin (calf) – questionable

Los Angeles Rams

(12-3 overall, 6-1 at home)

The Rams offense got back on track against Arizona even without Todd Gurley. Outside of a few weeks, Jared Goff has been really solid, throwing for 4489 yards, 28 TDs and 12 INTs while completing 65.2% of his passes and averaging 8.4 YPA. Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods are their dynamic duo in the receiving game, combining for over 2300 yards. Cooks has caught 75 balls for 1142 yards and 3 TDs while Woods has 84 catches for 1195 yards and 6 TDs. Gerald Everett (33/320/3), Josh Reynolds (25/347/3) and Tyler Higbee (23/256/2) are ancillary pieces. Todd Gurley is obviously their biggest offensive piece with 1251 yards and 17 TDs on the ground as well as 580 yards and 4 TDs receiving, however, C.J. Anderson filled in admirably with 20 carries for 167 yards and a TD last week.

The Rams scoring defense ranks middle of the pack, allowing 23.5 PPG. Their passing defense ranks above average allowing 234.4 yards per game and 28 TDs through the air while their pass rush ranks middle of the pack with 38 sacks. Their run defense is ranked below average, allowing 122 yards per game and 11 TDs on the ground. Their defense has forced 26 turnovers, and as a team they own a +7 turnover differential

Injuries and Inactive Watch

RB Todd Gurley (knee) – questionable, S Lamarcus Joyner (ankle) – questionable, EDGE Matt Longacre (illness) – questionable

Predictions

The 49ers offense really has nothing to hang their hat on outside of George Kittle and a well designed run game. The run game could be a problem for the Rams D as that has been their Achilles heel, but they should do a solid job of holding Kittle in check with John Johnson and Cory Littleton. Up front, the Rams defensive line (mostly Aaron Donald) should tear apart the Niners O line in Donalds quest for the sack record. If LA can get out to a lead and make the 49ers one dimensional they should be golden.

The Rams offense came back to life last week, and they have another nice spot here to keep it rolling going into the postseason. Even without Todd Gurley, the Rams run game should roll through a subpar Niner front 7, and Jared Goff should find open passing lanes against a patchwork secondary. The Rams are hearing the national media knocking them after 2 losses and want to make a statement before going into the postseason.

Final Pick: Rams (-10)