A couple of shocking losses by both the Bills and Giants currently has us at 2-2 entering the Monday Nighter tonight from St. Louis. The Bills were seemingly neck-and-neck with the Pats throughout the game, but a couple of egregious errors by Kyle Orton turned it into a romp. Buffalo has had major difficulty stringing together victories over the past few seasons, something that must be fixed if they’re ever going to legitimately contend for a playoff berth. And in the Sunday nighter, well that was just over right from kickoff. The Giants handed the game to Philadelphia, exhibiting no resistance in the process. They were beaten in every aspect, and once again a team succeeded in making the Eagles look a whole lot better than they actually are. I still contend Philly is an overrated group that has underlying statistics that don’t mesh with their impressive record.
Tonight however we’ll focus on an intriguing matchup from the NFC West. The 49ers may not like their head coach Jim Harbaugh, but they remain a good football team and contenders in that conference. They’ll travel to St. Louis to take on a Rams squad that is a lot better than their 1-3 record indicates. Last week they were yet another winnable game against the Eagles, but conceded too many points in the early stages to effectively mount their comeback. Still, they have a lot of good pieces and will present a challenge playing at home on a Monday night against the 3-2 Niners. We’ll look to end the week with a Monday night winner, and read on below to find this evening’s winning selection.
49ers vs. Rams Betting Odds:
San Francisco 49ers -4 (-110)
@ St. Louis Rams +4 (-110)
Over 44.5 (-110)
Under 44.5 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
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49ers vs. Rams Pick:
While much of the discussion surrounding the lead-up to this NFC West showdown has featured around whether the Rams can keep it close, I think the chatter should be more along the lines of it St. Louis can pull the upset. They’ve competed in every game thus far, and should have a better record than the 1-3 they currently possess. It’s clear that losing Sam Bradford hurts, but Austin Davis has filled in admirably in relief. He’s coming off of a great second half against the Eagles, and though the Niners’ boast a solid passing offense, the Rams should be able to move the chains on Monday night.
On defense, the Rams have a great secondary and are currently atop the league in passing defense. While some of that is ability, a lot of it has to do with the fact that opposing offenses often stick to the ground game against the St. Louis defense. While their heralded defense hasn’t lived up to the hype in 2014, there are still a ton of great pieces that can play to a higher level. On a nationally-televised game against a divisional rival, I’m expecting a full effort and tighter defensive play from Jeff Fisher’s Rams. The key rusher to shut down is Niners’ QB Colin Kaepernick, who coincidentally, was absolutely shut down by St. Louis in 2013. The Rams held him to just 32 yards on 8 carries last season, and that past success should give them confidence headed into tonight’s encounter.
Expect Austin Davis to have yet another stellar performance. The Niners’ defense is good, but their pass rush has been lacking thus far in 2014. With time and protection, the Rams’ Davis should be able to hit his deep collection of receivers. While St. Louis doesn’t exactly boast a legitimate number one threat, the likes of Jared Cook, Brian Quick, and Kenny Britt are all dangerous and should be able to spring free against the Niners’ secondary tonight. Finally, this is a pretty big lookahead spot for the Niners. With the Broncos up next, it wouldn’t stun me to see San Francisco be a little off with Manning looming. I expect a tight and low-scoring game with defenses reigning supreme for the most part. While the Rams may not squeak out a victory, this is going to be a close contest, and I’ll side with the home team and the points on Monday Night Football.
PICK = Rams +4 (-110)