Week 4 in the NFL concludes with an NFC West rivalry as the Los Angeles Rams visit the San Francisco 49ers in a rematch of last year’s conference title game.
Which way should we lean at the top-rated sportsbooks?
Los Angeles Rams vs. San Francisco 49ers
Monday, October 03, 2022 – 08:15 PM EDT at Levi’s Stadium
The NFC West rival Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers are going to be featured in prime time a lot this season, and they meet on Monday from Santa Clara, California, to conclude Week 4.
Of course, the Rams won the Super Bowl last season, but one could argue the 49ers were the better team. They won both regular-season meetings and led the NFC Championship Game at SoFi Stadium 17-7 in the fourth quarter.
However, Jimmy Garoppolo picked a bad time to really struggle, including the game-clinching interception by the Rams’ Travin Howard on third-and-13 from the Niners’ 22 with 1:09 left as Los Angeles prevailed 20-17. Matt Gay’s 30-yard field goal with 1:46 left proved to be the winner.
San Francisco is 5-0 against the spread in the past five meetings.
Rams Not Clicking Offensively
The Super Bowl Hangover is a bit of a cliché, but most cliches are true for a reason, and the Rams have looked a bit hungover in their 2-1 start –at least offensively... maybe they really miss Odell Beckham Jr. Los Angeles is averaging only 20.3 points per game. They scored exactly 20 on Sunday when they won at Arizona by eight. Matthew Stafford didn’t have a TD pass –he really isn’t throwing deep yet– as running back Cam Akers and receiver Cooper Kupp both rushed for a score.
Kupp, the 2021 NFL Offensive Player of the Year and among the favorites according to the NFL odds to repeat, has now scored a touchdown in nine straight games. It was the first rushing TD of his career. Three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald got his 100th career sack in the game, reaching that mark in 130 games. That’s a record for a tackle. Linebacker Bobby Wagner had his 1,400th career tackle, the 17th player all-time to reach that number and the only active.
Cornerback Derion Kendrick, a sixth-round rookie, made his first career start in his NFL debut and had nine tackles. He was targeted a whopping 15 times by Kyler Murray. LA was a bit thin in the secondary with Jordan Fuller, Cobie Durant, David Long, and Shaun Jolly all inactive.
Injuries are partly why the Rams have allowed 56 catches for 667 yards and five touchdowns to wide receivers through the first three weeks. That’s tied for the second-most touchdowns allowed and the second-most yards allowed to wide receivers. Coach Sean McVay improved to 17-8 against the NFC West and 11-5 on the road. Los Angeles is 4-1 ATS on the NFL odds in its past five Monday games.
More Injuries For Niners
Jimmy Garoppolo’s first start of the 2022 season didn’t go great, as the Niners lost 11-10 at Denver on Sunday night in Week 3. Jimmy G was just OK, completing 18 of 29 for 211 yards, a TD, and a pick.
He took four sacks, and that number might be low going forward because maybe the NFL’s best left tackle, Trent Williams, suffered a high ankle sprain in the loss and will miss 4-6 weeks but won’t need surgery.
Coach Kyle Shanahan on Monday told reporters that Colton McKivitz would be the likely fill-in at left tackle. He was a 2020 fifth-round pick out of West Virginia.
Jaylon Moore got the first crack at left tackle after Williams went down Sunday, but he struggled mightily and got pulled for McKivitz, who was dealing with an injury and didn’t get a full week of practice in.
McKivitz also was the fill-in for Williams last year in Week 18 against the Rams. The Niners might get interior lineman Daniel Brunskill back from injury this week.
The Bad News Keep Coming
The Niners also got bad news on linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair, who sprained his MCL and might miss eight weeks. Shanahan compared Al-Shaair's injury to that of top running back Elijah Mitchell's after Week 1 –it won't require surgery and will likely take eight weeks total for recovery.
Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles stepped in for Al-Shaair against the Broncos, posting three tackles in the loss.
San Francisco will remain without cornerback Jason Verrett and safety Jimmie Ward as both are ineligible for the first four games on the injured reserve list. One bright spot Sunday was the season debut of Pro Bowl tight end George Kittle off injury. He was fairly quiet with four catches for 28 yards.
Rams vs. 49ers: The Final Verdict
I don’t completely disregard how well the Niners played the Rams last year, but San Francisco is just so beaten up right now and Aaron Donald could wreak havoc with no Williams in the lineup.
For this NFL pick, I might actually like the total more. The under is 4-1 in the past five meetings.
Score Prediction: Rams 20 - 49ers 19
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