Los Angeles Rams (-2.5) at San Francisco 49ers
Total points: 40
Jeremy: Last week, the Houston Texans squeaked by the Cincinnati Bengals. Jeff and Jeremy hit both of their picks as Houston grabbed the outright win in a low scoring game. This week features the Los Angeles Rams squaring off against the San Francisco 49ers. Can the 49ers find the end zone this week? Can Jared Goff and the Rams’ offense find the form they showed in Week 1? Let's get to the picks.
Thursday night record:
Jeremy: 2-0 (last week); 3-1 (season)
Jeff: 2-0 (last week); 3-1 (season)
The Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers open Week 3 action in an NFC West matchup Thursday in Santa Clara. The Rams are coming off an uninspiring loss to the Redskins in which they were inconsistent on offense while the 49ers continued their futility in a 12-9 loss to the Seahawks. San Francisco has now scored a total of 12 points in their two games and QB Brian Hoyer has failed to throw a touchdown while being intercepted twice and gaining less than 150 YDS/G through the air. I would expect their passing struggles to continue in this one. The Rams have a solid secondary led by Trumaine Jackson and held Kirk Cousins to less than 200 yards last week. Hoyer doesn't have the receiving weapons that the Redskins do and, besides Pierre Garcon, the cupboard is bare. Their best overall player is RB Carlos Hyde who will find tough sledding against a Rams’ front seven that got their best player in Aaron Donald back last week. Donald showed a lot of rust which is to be expected after missing all of camp as well as Week 1. Look for a bounce-back performance here against a vulnerable offensive line. The 49ers’ defense is certainly the strongest part of the team, which isn't saying much. Jared Goff came back to reality a little bit last week after exploding for 300 yards in Week 1. He should be able to move the ball through the air in this one as San Francisco doesn't have much to contain Sammy Watkins and Cooper Kupp. Kupp has acquitted himself nicely through the first two weeks. The rookie has been a surprise leading the team in targets while ranking second in yards, and is in line for another solid performance here. One thing to watch is the play of RB Todd Gurley, who had 88 yards last week and averaged 5.5 YPC but has now fumbled three times and is fortunate to have lost only one. I don't see a blowout in this one but the Rams are clearly the more talented team on both sides of the ball. Look for the Rams to win by 7-10.
As for the total, the number has been set at 40. The 49ers won't have much luck finding the end zone as Hoyer will face heavy pressure all game. The Rams should be able to move the ball fairly well, but I expect they will lean on Gurley once they get a lead which will keep their scoring down in the second half. Take LA giving 2.5 and under 40.
Pick: Rams (-2.5)
Total points: Under 40
Jeff: The 49ers head back home after suffering a tough defeat in Seattle 12-9. The Rams fell at home to the Redskins 27-20 as a late touchdown pass from QB Kirk Cousins to WR Ryan Grant was the difference. The Rams’ defense couldn't repeat their Week 1 performance as they gave up 385 total yards which included 229 yards rushing. The rushing game will be an area the 49ers will look to exploit as I expect to see a lot of RB Carlos Hyde. Hyde ran the ball really well against a tough Seahawks’ defense. Hyde finished the game with 124 yards rushing on only 15 carries (8.3 yards/carry). The success of the running game will open up opportunities in the passing game. QB Brian Hoyer will need to take advantage of these opportunities if the 49ers expect to get their first win of the season. Look for Hoyer to turn to WR Pierre Garcon and WR Marquise Goodwin to make plays down the field. As for the 49ers defensively, they'll need to key on limiting RB Todd Gurley production as he is off to a good start to the season with three touchdowns. The 49ers’ pass rush will need to make things difficult for QB Jared Goff as they'll need to pressure him into hurrying his throws and turning the ball over, which he is prone to do. I'm expecting a solid all-around performance from the 49ers as I expect them to play well and get the outright win. The 49ers have fared well against the Rams, going 3-1 against the spread and straight up in their last four games. As for the total, it is tough for me to see this game finishing with a combined total over 40. I think this game finishes with a total number of points in the mid-thirties. In the last four games of this series, the under has hit in three of those games. Expect that trend to extend to four out of the last five games after Thursday night.
Pick: 49ers (+2.5)
Total points: Under 40