Sure, in the eyes of many, the Los Angeles Rams appeared to be “dominated” in Week 9. The match-up with the Tennessee Titans proved to be one that Sean McVay and staff were clearly not as prepared as they should’ve been. The Titans, while a formidable opponent, were not as impressive as the flow of the game suggested. More on that later. For now, let’s examine how good news from a bad loss makes the Los Angeles Rams one of the best bets in Week 10.
Los Angeles Rams Week 10: Good News From a Bad Loss
Game date & time: November 15, 5:15PM (PT) at Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA
Spread at publishing: Rams favored by 4 points (opened at 3), over/under: 49
For serious Rams fans, there’s little in life that parallels the joy of a victory over the San Francisco 49ers. In Week 10, they could be in for a treat. The Rams face their northern California division rivals at an optimum time. For one, the 49ers appear to be fast descending. You know things are near hitting bottom when a team begins on-field physical altercations with itself.
The 49ers, losers of five of their last six games, now find themselves facing a 0-4 division record with losses to every NFC West opponent (including an Arizona Cardinals sweep). Their victories are over NFC teams that are a combined 6-19. Lesser teams that are likely to be last if any were in the NFC West themselves. San Francisco’s chances of salvaging any parts of post-season hopes are all but fading. If you’re planning to bet on this Rams-49ers Week 10 battle of Week 9 embarrassments, ask questions.
Why Are the Rams the Short Favorite Here?
Why is a highly capable team a mere four-point favorite versus a 3-5 division foe obviously headed in the opposite direction?
Because it’s the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers, for one. The rivalry is bound to contain a surprise or two during the course of their annual two-game showdowns. What’s more, no matter what the records are, Kyle Shanahan’s 49ers are winners of three of the five contests since both coaches were hired prior to the 2017 season. Shanahan, that same person the Rams were waiting to interview post-2016 playoffs until McVay blew the doors off Rams headquarters, currently rides a four-game winning streak (that’s back-to-back sweeps, 2019 and 2020) in this head-to-head coaching match-up.
It also needs to be taken into account that this game is scheduled for Monday evening, where anything can happen. For some strange reason (pride, ego, exposure/concern of brand — take your pick), players get up for ESPN’s Monday Night Football and play as if their livelihood depends on it. After all, it draws tens of millions of viewers consistently.
Why Should One Expect Different Results Betting the Same Two Teams?
Why should you expect different results than the current Rams-49ers four-game trend?
The answer is quite simple here. Because this is not insanity, this is football — football’s only insane sometimes. Last week was crazy, sure, but crazy is not as dependable in football as it is in human behavior. This is why there are betting odds in the first place.
Try these on for size. The 49ers are now 1-9 in their last ten home games. They are currently trending downward while despite the Week 9 collapse, the Rams are in the midst of their best first 10-week stretch since 2018. And in what might be the proverbial final nail in the coffin, in equal seasons Sean McVay is 4-1 on Monday nights while Kyle Shanahan is 1-4.
Will Outside Pressures Affect the Rams and 49ers?
It’s obvious to both head coaches that this is an important game, every game is as it comes. But one can argue a good team showing is more important for McVay. Shanahan is under pressure because now the calls for heads to roll are beginning to roll in. However, it was just another loss in that current losing streak and he probably felt the same pressure the week before. But what McVay faces is the return of predictability from the lack of offensive speed outside. The Rams appear headed there again as the Tennessee Titans may have exposed.
The Titans also exposed the Rams offensive line’s lack of true grit. Yes, their recent play has been good but only good enough. Keep in mind, the team is now better built to win the NFC West. There are no Titans currently in the NFC West. The Arizona Cardinals are probably the closest at punching the Rams in their collective face on that side of the ball. We saw what happened in that first Rams-Cardinals game.
Which Team Has the Best Chance to Return to Form?
The Rams can return to doing what they do best without speed on the outside stretching the field, picking teams weak in the secondary apart. Furthermore, McVay is pretty good at recognizing his own parts in failures along the way. Expect better play-calling and the flow of the game to go accordingly.
The possible debut of ex-Broncos legend Von Miller can only inspire while key defensive players may return to full go with the extra day of rest. Unlike his counterpart, McVay will likely add to game-day enthusiasm with a few choice words encouragement.
Conversely, Shanahan may have thrown his team under the bus before diving under for cover after losing to a limited Cardinals team. We can only wait and see how his players respond. Admittedly so, pep talks aren’t Shanahan’s strength so it won’t be a surprise if things continue to spiral out of control.
All in all, the 49ers have had little problem rising up to the occasion of playing the Rams of late. But this is Monday Night Football, the first of the McVay-Matthew Stafford era. The numbers and circumstances are too right for things to not go in favor of the Los Angeles Rams in Week 10.
Week 10 Prediction: Rams 34, 49ers 20
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