Los Angeles Rams vs San Francisco 49ers: Predictions and Odds (NFL Week 16)
The Green Men of WSN’s Picks and Best Bets Podcast predict the 49ers will win this one. My prediction for the final score is 49ers 24, Rams 19
How to Watch: Rams vs 49ers
What: Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers
When: Saturday, December 21 at 8:15 pm ET
Where: Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California
How (TV): NFLN
Rams vs 49ers – Point Spread
Rams +6.5, 49ers -6.5
Los Angeles vs San Francisco – Game Preview
Though technically the Los Angeles Rams are still in the playoff hunt (they now have a whopping 5% chance to play football in January), they really act as a spoiler in Week 16 when they face division rivals, the San Francisco 49ers.
The Rams pretty much blew their postseason chances last week with a blowout loss to the Dallas Cowboys, 21-44, whereas the 49ers have clinched the playoffs as a Wild Card but with a win here, hope to battle the Seattle Seahawks for the first overall seed in Week 17.
Los Angeles has been up and down all year, especially their run game, an area where San Francisco has been excelling in all season, so here we compare these two teams side-by-side to see how they matchup for this exciting Saturday night NFC West showdown.
49ers are also Adam’s (of the NFL weekly picks podcast) best bet this week. Check out all the best bets and picks for NFL Week 16.
The 8-6-0 Los Angeles Rams
At this point, the Los Angeles Rams are basically out of the playoff run, so that leaves them as a Week 16 spoiler to the San Francisco 49ers’ postseason goals, plus a win here would remind Rams fans that their team is actually quite talented and capable of winning the big games, even when they don’t actually count.
It’s odd how an offensively talented team like the Rams has had trouble translating their production into wins, but then when you look at how ineffective their Todd-Gurley-based run game has been, it’s no wonder that their passing attack has been more easily kept out of the end zone.
There’s no doubt, the Rams could totally beat the 49ers in this one, but they would have to be having one of their up days instead of one of their downers (they’ve had 6 of those so far) and that all depends on whether their playmakers are inspired to show up and make plays, and that’s most likely a game-time decision at best.
The 11-3-0 San Francisco 49ers
The 11-3 San Francisco 49ers have had their doubters and haters along the way (“Their schedule is weak!” and “You watch, they’re bound to fail”!) but by Week 16 they have proven they are a force to be reckoned with on both sides of the ball, but mostly on defense because they have been tearing off some helmets on that side of the ball.
It starts with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who is accurate, consistent and everything as promised and more but it’s head coach and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan who is pulling the levers and calling the plays, and he’s built a run-based offense that’s scoring almost 30 points per game.
To win this game, San Francisco just has to show up early and establish their dominant run game, then start play-action passing some mid to deep balls and put themselves in position to fight the Seahawks for the first overall seed when they play them next week in the exciting conclusion to their 2019 regular season.
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Rams vs 49ers – History
These two NFC West rivals have met 140 total times (including 1 postseason game), with Los Angeles winning 67 of those times and San Francisco winning 70 games along with 3 ties.
The last time these two teams played was back in October of this season when the 49ers traveled south to Los Angeles to beat the Rams 20-7, giving them an important divisional win.
If the Rams win this matchup, they’ll move to 9-6-0 and, though they’ll remain in third place of the NFC West, they would technically stay in the playoff hunt behind the Minnesota Vikings, who go into Week 16 with a 10-4 record.
But if the 49ers come out winners in this one, they’ll be 12-3-0, keeping the pressure on the Seattle Seahawks, who enter Week 16 at 11-3 and who are currently the projected first overall NFC playoff seed, though that could all change in Week 17 when these two teams play each other.
Questions to Answer
Who’s favored to win this Week 16 Rams-49ers matchup?
Which team has a better offense? Defense? Special teams?
Which team’s quarterback is more likely to lead his team to victory?
We’re going to briefly compare the Rams and the 49ers next and attempt to answer those questions and more.
Check out also: “Who Will Be the 2019-2020 NFL MVP“.
Offensive Stats Comparison
Los Angeles Rams Overall Offense
- Ranked 12th overall in 2019
- Passing attack currently ranked 6th
- Rushing attack currently ranked 24th
The Los Angeles Rams offense is one of the big mysteries of the 2019 season – run by Jared Goff, the fourth most productive passer in the league, and yet they are posting less than 24 points on the scoreboard per game, compared with almost 33 ppg last year with basically the same crew.
One thing that’s different is running back Todd Gurley, whose substandard output this year could be the result of injury/wear and tear (i.e. arthritis) or being held back by head coach Sean McVay in order to keep his legs fresh for the postseason.
The problem is, it looks like now there will be no postseason, and any chance they do have is made tougher with tight end Gerald Everett (knee), offensive tackle Rob Havenstein (knee) and placekicker Greg Zuerlein (leg) all listed as questionable for this one.
San Francisco 49ers Overall Offense
- Ranked 6th overall in 2019
- Passing attack currently ranked 13th
- Rushing attack currently ranked 2nd
What a score quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has turned out to be for the San Francisco 49ers offense, the man completing almost 70 percent of his passes for close to 3,500 total yards and 26 touchdowns for a decent QB rating of 102.8.
The 49ers are best on the ground, their two-headed attack (Matt Breida and Tevin Coleman) helping to make their rushing attack the second-best in the league, posting almost 150 yards per game, the second-best average in the league.
San Francisco is suffering from injuries (as are many teams at this point in the season), with fifteen players on their roster having to go on injured reserve, but right now (fortunately) there are no offensive 49ers listed as questionable for Week 16.
The San Francisco 49ers will have the offensive advantage over the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday because they are superior on the ground and through the air they are comparable, plus this season they outscore them by almost a touchdown per game.
Defensive Stats Comparison
Los Angeles Rams Overall Defense
- Ranked 12th overall in 2019
- Passing defense currently ranked 9th
- Rushing defense currently ranked 23rd
The Los Angeles Rams are not bad on defense (the have Aaron Donald and Cory Littleton, so how could they be?), but they rank in the middle of the league right now on D after allowing opponents to gain over 220 yards and score almost 22 points per game.
Donald is a beast with 11 sacks (7th most in the league), quarterback hits, a safety, 2 forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and 43 total tackles (for a loss), a player that San Fran’s head coach and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan will have to game plan around.
The bad news is that the Rams’ defense may have to get by without cornerback Troy Hill, who is dealing with a thumb issue right now and is listed as questionable for this Week 16 game.
San Francisco 49ers Overall Defense
- Ranked 2nd overall in 2019
- Passing defense currently ranked 1st
- Rushing defense currently ranked 21st
From front to back, this San Francisco 49ers defense is fast and fierce and second-best in the league with the ability to cover receivers, giving the D line a few extra seconds to get after opponents’ quarterbacks, resulting in 47 total sacks (3rd most in the league) so far this season.
The two biggest sackers on the Niners’ defense this year are defensive ends – Arik Armistead, with 10 sacks, 16 quarterback hits, 2 forced fumbles and a recovery plus 49 tackles and rookie Nick Bosa, with 9 sacks, 20 quarterback hits, and interception and 4 passes defended, a forced and recovered fumble and 41 total tackles.
The 49ers are suffering from a huge bite from the injury bug, with defensive end Dee Ford (hamstring), cornerbacks Richard Sherman (hamstring) and K’Waun Williams (concussion), safety Jaquiski Tartt (ribs) and defensive tackle Jullian Taylor (elbow) all listed as questionable for Week 16.
Whether against the run or the pass, the 49ers have a huge advantage on defense over the Rams in this one, to the point where it will be interesting to see how Goff and Gurley fare, their production key to the Ram’s ability to win games.
Rams vs 49ers – Final Game Analysis
Why Will the Rams Win this Game?
Given that the Los Angeles Rams are essentially a spoiler in this one, there is absolutely zero pressure to win, so, therefore, they will play their best game ever and make playoff seeding life difficult for the San Francisco 49ers because being thoroughly relaxed helps athletes to excel.
Jared Goff will most likely have a decent game with his trio of talented, speedy and consistent targets (Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks) but it’s the wavering run game of Gurley that will have to step up if the Rams expect to beat the superior 49ers.
The Rams could certainly use kicker Greg Zuerlein, who is suffering a strained quad and is listed as questionable for this one (see above), and to win, whoever backs him up (if need be) had best be reliable enough to kick a game-winning field goal.
Why Will the 49ers Win this Game?
The San Francisco 49ers have faced and beaten scarier opponents than these Week 16 Los Angeles Rams this season (like the Green Bay Packers, the New Orleans Saints, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Rams in Week 6) so this should not be a difficult win for Garoppolo.
With a superior rushing attack and a stifling defense on their side, it should be a walk in the park for the 49ers on Saturday, assuming most of their players show up healthy enough to suit up (see above).
The 49ers need this win to put further pressure on divisional and Week 17 rival, the Seattle Seahawks (playoff seeds are at stake, after all), so expect Shanahan to bring everything he’s got to secure a win over this shockingly inferior Rams team.
Rams vs 49ers – Who Will Win?
The San Francisco 49ers and their crushing defense will put the final nail in the Rams’ 2019 playoff coffin by beating them on Saturday, making the Niners’ Week 17 matchup with the Seattle Seahawks even juicier.
The Green Men of WSN’s Picks and Best Bets Podcast predict the 49ers will win this one.
My prediction for the final score is 49ers 24, Rams 19.
Los Angeles Rams vs San Francisco 49ers Odds