LOS ANGELES RAMS (1-1)
at SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (0-2)
Levi’s Stadium – Santa Clara, CA
Kickoff: Thursday, 8:25 p.m. ET
Line: Los Angeles -2.5, Total: 41.5
The Rams will be hoping to get right back over the .500 mark with a Thursday night victory over the 49ers.
Los Angeles is coming off of a rough loss to Washington last week, as the Rams battled back from 13-0 and then 20-10 to eventually tie the game at 20-20. They then let the Redskins march right down the field for a game-winning touchdown drive with just about a minute and a half left in the fourth quarter. Los Angeles must now regroup and find a way to get ready for this matchup with San Francisco. The 49ers have not yet won a game this season, but they were very competitive in a 12-9 loss to the Seahawks in Seattle. San Francisco is not as horrible as people thought before the year started and will definitely be eager to face Los Angeles here. The 49ers have also dominated this head-to-head series in recent seasons, as they are 3-1 both SU and ATS against the Rams over the past three seasons. That includes a 2-0 record both SU and ATS when playing Los Angeles at Levi’s Stadium. One trend that stands out when looking at this one is the fact that teams that have scored nine points or fewer in two straight games (San Francisco) are 34-11 ATS over the past 10 seasons. Also favoring the 49ers is the fact that the Rams are 3-11 ATS in games played on grass fields over the past three seasons.
The Rams are coming off of a brutal defeat at the hands of the Redskins, but they have to be feeling confident in their chances of winning on Thursday. They’re facing a very beatable 49ers team and the short week is going to be rough for San Francisco, which lost a very physical game against Seattle in Week 2. QB Jared Goff (530 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT) will, however, need to make some big throws on Thursday. Goff has completed 66.7% of his passes through two games this year, and he has definitely shown some improved awareness thus far. He did, however, stare down WR Cooper Kupp (7 rec, 109 yards, 1 TD) on the final drive of the game against Washington last week. That allowed the Redskins to pick him off to end things once and for all. Goff can’t make mistakes like that moving forward, and the Rams also need him to find a way to score in the red zone. They had a few chances to take the lead against Washington, but they had to settle for field goals far too often. RB Todd Gurley (128 yards, 2 TD) looked great against the Redskins, though. He rushed for 88 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries, and he also had three catches for 48 yards and a touchdown. He appears locked in and ready for a bounceback season this year, so look for him to make some plays against San Francisco.
The 49ers were right there against the Seahawks in Week 2, but they just did not make enough plays to ultimately pull off what would have been a shocking upset. They will now look to win their first game of the season against the Rams on Thursday, but they won’t do that unless QB Brian Hoyer (292 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT) raises his game. Hoyer looked ready for a relatively big year after the third preseason game against the Vikings, but that has not translated to regular season success. Perhaps he’ll be a bit better against the Rams defense, which is nowhere near as good as Seattle’s. One thing he’d be wise to do is target WR Pierre Garcon (9 rec, 107 yards) early and often. If Garcon starts off the game with a couple of catches then the Rams might send some extra help his way. Once that happens, that would free up track star WR Marquise Goodwin (6 rec, 47 yards) to beat his man deep. The 49ers must also continue to let RB Carlos Hyde (169 yards) make plays. Hyde was incredible against Seattle, rushing for 124 yards on 15 carries. That’s one of the best defenses in football, so it just might be a big year for the former Ohio State stud. Defensively, the 49ers would be wise to get some pressure on Goff here. He is still a bit slow to make decisions, so they can definitely give themselves an edge by getting to him.