NFL Week 17 Matchup – San Francisco vs St. Louis
The formula is quite simple for the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday – beat the St. Louis Rams and guarantee themselves a first round bye in the playoffs. Standing in their way is the wet paper bag known as the Rams!
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San Francisco 49ers (12-3) at St. Louis Rams (2-13)
When: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, January 1, 2012
Where: Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis, Missouri
49ers vs. Rams Betting Lines from betonline.com
Spread: 49ers -10.5
Over/Under: 35.5 points
San Francisco will look to stretch their modest win streak to three games in Week 17 while the Rams just may lay down in order to secure yet another first overall draft pick in the 2012 NFL draft.
The San Francisco 49ers will have a lot to play for in Week 17 despite locking up the NFC West a week after Thanksgiving. The team already owns a tiebreaker over New Orleans which means that a win would give them the second seed in the NFC West. The goal for this team will be to start quick, pile it on and gain enough of a cushion so that they can rest their starters for the playoffs.
It is well known that the 49ers won’t beat you with the pass. They are the 29th ranked passing team in the NFL and Alex Smith passed for a typical 179 yards, zero touchdowns and one interception in a win last week in Seattle. Smith, on the season will finish the season with barely 3000 yards (Drew Brees has 5100 after 16 weeks). He has tossed 15 touchdowns in 16 games but has limited mistakes by only throwing 6 interceptions all season long.
It will be up to the league’s 7th ranked running game to get it done against the Rams’ worst ranked rush defense. Frank Gore is already over 1000 yards and Kendall Hunter has proven to be a very valuable change of pace. The two combined for 178 yards last week against Seattle’s very tough run defense.
Defensively, the 49ers are a test for any club, let alone one of the worst offenses in the game. San Francisco’s 17th ranked passing game should have little problem with Kellen Clemens and the Rams receivers and the San Francisco’s top rated run defense will likely be able to limit the effectiveness of Steven Jackson who they held to just 19 yards on 10 carries in their first meeting.
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There is not a whole lot to like about the St. Louis Rams. Six straight losses has them in the hunt for last place in the NFL… again. They are dead last in a number of offensive and defensive categories and they have been shut out in two of their last four games. The only real question for the Rams ahead of Sunday’s game is – do they really want to win?
St. Louis own the league’s 30th ranked passing game and will likely go with Kellen Clemens again after a brutal 9 for 24 for 91 yard effort in Week 16. Thank goodness for Steven Jackson and the Rams 23rd ranked running game. Jackson reached the 1000 yard mark for the seventh time in Week 16 and is the only thing going on offense for St. Louis. Too bad that his final game in 2011 is against a team that allows an average of just 71.50 yards per game rushing and a team that allowed them 157 total yards in their first meeting!
Defense? What defense? The Rams have the 6th ranked pass defense and are dead last in stopping the run. This unit gives up a staggering 154.47 yards per game. Ugly, I know!
Betting Prediction: The San Francisco 49ers are 12-2-1 ATS this season and are 11-2 SU in their last 13. The 49ers are 7-15 SU in their last 22 games on the road but are 5-2 SU in their last seven away from home. San Francisco is 6-1 SU in their last seven games versus St. Louis and 4-2 SU in their last six trips to St. Louis. The St. Louis Rams are 0-5 SU and 0-4-1 ATS in their last five games. At home the Rams are 1-5-1 ATS and 1-6 SU in their last seven games. St. Louis is 4-10 ATS in their last 14 games against the 49ers and 5-17-2 ATS in their last 24 games at home versus San Francisco.
10.5 points is the Spread in this game. Even if the 49ers opt to rest a few of their players, they should be able to dominate. After all, the Steelers shut out the Rams 27-0 last week with Charlie Batch at QB. St. Louis will have distractions aplenty on Sunday. There is talk about it being Coach Steve Spagnuolo`s last game as a Ram, there is talk about what the Rams can do with the first overall pick and there is talk that Sam Bradford is on his way to injured reserve. There is absolutely nothing positive coming out of St. Louis – take the 49ers, no matter the Spread!
Pick: San Francisco 49ers -10.5