It’s an all NFC West divisional clash in Week 13 on Sunday as the St. Louis Rams head to California to do battle with the San Francisco 49ers. The Niners enter with limited rest, but are fresh off a monstrous victory against a punchless Washington Redskins squad. For the Rams, they’ll continue fighting despite their limited playoff chances. They enter winners of two straight and have a real opportunity to frature as big spoilers in San Francisco. Jeff Fisher’s squad is young, exuberant, and dangerous, and with two big blowout victories in their past two contests, the Rams are a viable threat to San Francisco this week. This promises to be an exciting and intriguing clash that should be competitive throughout. Read on below for an official selection and further game thoughts.
Rams at 49ers Betting Odds:
St. Louis Rams +7.5 (-110)
@ San Francisco 49ers -7.5 (-110)
Over 41 (-110)
Under 41 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Rams at 49ers Pick:
The Rams received some very good news in their preparation for this contest on Friday as it was confirmed key running back Zac Stacy has been medically cleared to suit up against the Niners. Stacy has run well in recent weeks for St. Louis and the diminutive running back should put the pressure on the San Francisco 49ers this week. St. Louis enters on a real high, bursting with confidence. Two blowout victories against capable teams in the Bears and Colts have them feeling good about their chances, and they should be able to keep the momentum going this week in San Fran.
When these two squads face off, the game is often quite close. Since 2010, when the Niners have been a pretty good teamd and the Rams not so much, San Francisco has only recorded 4 of a possible 7 victories against the Rams. Despite their apparent superiority, the Niners have struggled against the Rams in recent seasons. Last year, the Rams went into this very stadium in San Francisco and emerged with a tie. They know they can hang with the defending NFC champions, and look for them to do just that Sunday afternoon. Under centre, back-up Kellen Clemens has done an admirable job of replacing Sam Bradford, and like his team, seems to be brimming with confidence. While the Niners defense is one of the league’s best, Clemens’ current form and rapport with the speedy Tavon Austin could cause big issues for San Francisco.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Rams have really taken some huge steps forward in this area. Robert Quinn and Chris Long have formed a dominant duo of late, and will be tough match-ups for anyone along the Niners’ offensive line. Expect the Rams’ pass rush to unsettle Kaepernick and not allow him much time and space in the pocket. Despite last week’s big breakout performance, Colin Kaepernick and the Niners’ offense hasn’t been all that great in 2013. Expect them to revert to that form against a disruptive front seven of the Rams. And even though Michael Crabtree finally returns from injury for the Niners, it will take the key receive some time to get up to speed and re-gain his form.
While the Niners are the better team and should be hungrier, playing a dangerous group like the Rams on a short week will not be easy. St. Louis is playing great football at the moment and will see this game as a real challenge for their young group. Not to mention the fact that this game represents a big lookahead spot for San Francisco as next week they’ll take on the Seahawks. Ultimately the Niners will prevail, but it won’t be easy. Jeff Fisher is a perfect 8-0 against the spread against teams with a winning percentage of .600 or better, and its apparent this Rams team gets up to take on the good teams. The Rams will keep this game tight throughout, and should be able to get the road cover when all is said and done.
PICK = Rams +7.5 (-110)