NFL Sunday of Week 1 is in the books, and it surely didn’t disappoint in the least. We could go over nearly every game and point out lots of notable occurrences. For one, the Patriots beat the Cardinals on the road with a depleted offense. Never discount Bill Belichick no matter the personnel he has in his corner. I can’t remember the last time I faded the Patriots on SNF, if ever. I took the Cardinals and paid for it last night. Nevertheless, there wasn’t much to complain about yesterday, because I went 3-1 and off to a nice start in the NFL. If I were to go 3-1 every Sunday I would be a very happy man. Tonight we take a look at the second game on the schedule for MNF. The NFL always likes to have a doubleheader on Week 1 and here we are with a couple of matchups to feast on.
I think the more interesting of games tonight is between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Washington Redskins. The Steelers are looking to improve on their results from a year ago, which saw them narrowly beating the Cincinnati Bengals in the Wild Card Round and then losing to the eventual Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos. Peyton Manning is no longer starting in Denver, but the Broncos still boast one of the best defenses in the NFL. And oh yeah, the Steelers will have to contend with the Patriots for supremacy in the AFC.
But for my NFL pick tonight, we’re going to turn to a game which I see two basement dwellers playing in. The Rams have a brand new home in LA, but this is still the same Rams team from St. Louis that hasn’t been relevant since Kurt Warner and Marc Bulger were in town.
While the Rams will get to play spoiler and upset a couple of teams this season and have an average season, there aren’t many expectations for them past that. The Rams traded up to acquire what they felt is a franchise quarterback, Jared Goff. Goff played at Cal, in an offense that you could liken to what Sam Braford played in at Oklahoma. Watching Goff play in college he reminded me of Bradford a ton. That isn’t a bad comparison if we’re talking about college ball, but at the NFL level I never thought it was suitable preparation to play efficiently.
Goff isn’t ready to play in the NFL and has been designated as the third-stringer in the season opener. Instead, Case Keenum, the former University of Houston product, will get the start for the Rams in their first start back as the Los Angeles Rams. The 49ers will counter with Blaine Gabbert. So, this isn’t the most attractive quarterback matchup, but let’s see what happens tonight on the first MNF of the 2016 season.
Los Angeles Rams vs. San Francisco 49ers NFL Betting Odds:
vs. 49ers +2.5(-110)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
Rams vs. 49ers Pick:
Keenum is a serviceable starter. He isn’t exactly what the Rams had in mind. They would have gladly had Goff come in as a rookie with a hot hand. However, what was looking like a quarterback battle between Keenum and Goff became an easy win for Keenum. Keenum has experience with the Rams, getting some time as a starter in 2015. He is probably best known for taking a violent hit to his head, when it whipped off the ground but was still left in the game despite him not knowing where he was. Ohh yeah, that guy. Keenum feels like a young guy, but he is already 28 years old, and in the NFL that is nearly old age. Keenum has appeared sparingly in three seasons, but has usually made the most of his time on the field. He’s thrown for 15 touchdowns and 9 touchdowns in his career, so not bad, but he’s not going to take over too many games.
The Rams’ strength is their front-seven. They should be able to impose their will against a feeble 49ers’ offense. Chip Kelly comes to LA after spending time in Philadelphia in his first ever NFL stint. The offense at Oregon could point up over 50 points with ease, but Kelly is finding life a bit more difficult at the higher level in the NFL. Defenses are faster and can catch on pretty quickly to the up-tempo attack. Remember a lot of these guys on defense played against these offenses in college too, it isn’t anything foreign to them. From a personnel standpoint, there isn’t much to get excited about on the 49er offense. I fully expect his offense to run over nails and blow a tire in 2016.
Gabbert has proven that he can at least occupy a roster spot with his play from last season. He’s improved drastically since leaving the Jaguars, where he was a highly recruited quarterback out of Mizzou. However, it isn’t saying all that much. Gabbert threw for 10 touchdowns and 7 interceptions in 2015. Like Keenum, there is some good and then there is the bad. Colin Kaepernick would have been perfect for this offense, but his skillset has diminished to the point of having to play backup to Blaine Gabbert. This looks something like a 20-17 or 24-13 final score. Neither offense is explosive here and should find trouble trying to move the ball often on Monday night. Now, are you happy that you read all the way through an article featuring the 49ers and didn’t have to hear about Kaepernick taking a knee?
PICK: UNDER 42.5 POINTS (-115)