4-1 on the season with his Matchbook Insights selections, top handicapper Fabian Sommer is keen on a total play out west on Sunday night!
We are getting a discount here, based on recent performances of both teams.
The San Francisco 49ers presumably rushed Jimmy Garoppolo back onto the field after getting three limited practices done off his high ankle sprain. He had an abysmal performance against the Miami Dolphins and got benched at halftime.
That was not the Jimmy Garoppolo we used to know and he’s going to get another week to heal his ankle and get more routine during practices.
As a result of starting Nick Mullens and a poor game against the Dolphins, the metrics for the 49ers look average at best. For instance, the Niners rank 24th in EPA per play (0.04). But our prior for this offense is significantly higher and should not be ignored.
The Rams are 4-1 and their offense has been rolling for the most part, ranking 4th in EPA per play – behind only the Packers, Seahawks and Chiefs.
Their defense, however, is massively overrated at this point after playing against all four NFC East teams who have all been struggling tremendously on offense.
The only above-average offense they have faced, the Buffalo Bills, dropped 35 points on them while turning the ball over twice. The high perception on the Rams defense combined with the low perception of the 49ers is providing us with a total that should rather be 54 than 51.
I am beating the same drum as last week, but this is not the 2019 49ers defense.
They have lost an immense amount of talent, including the likes of Nick Bosa, Dee Ford, DeForest Buckner and Solomon Thomas along their defensive line. LB Kwon Alexander is in the concussion protocol, CB Richard Sherman won’t be back this week. CB Emmanuel Moseley (concussion) could be back.
Their starting defensive line consists of DE/DT Arik Armstead, rookie DT Javon Kinlaw, DE Kerry Hyder and DE Dion Jordan. Without Richard Sherman, who locks down one side of the field, San Francisco will struggle to cover Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp.
San Francisco won’t be able to generate pressure against the Rams’ offensive line that is significantly improved from last year.
The Rams O-Line possess the 7th-highest pass-blocking grade by Pro Football Focus on the season.
Jared Goff has always been allergic to pressure but is able to play as a top-8 quarterback from clean pockets. I don’t see how he’s going to be under duress at all here.
Goff has the 4th-highest passing grade out of 34 starting signal-callers and Sean McVay has found his groove again: tons of pre-snap motion, the highest play-action rate in the league (48.5%) and packaged plays are helping Goff a lot. In turn, it puts a lot of pressure on opposing defenses who are always guessing.
Jared Goff has an extremely low ADOT (average depth of target) on the season, but I expect them to open up their vertical passing attack quite a bit. I am having a hard time seeing this Niners defense preventing the Rams from scoring many points.
Let’s flip the sides.
We are going to see a different Jimmy Garoppolo this time:
- Without the rust.
- With more confidence in his ankle.
- With a full set of weapons around him.
The Niners offensive line will struggle to defend Aaron Donald – as every offensive line does – but Kyle Shanahan will find ways to scheme away from Donald.
The Rams just don’t have a lot of quality players on defense.
Going into the season they were a bottom-third unit on paper and this metric shouldn’t change drastically just because they played a bunch of bad offenses.
No Ram outside of Donald can create pressure and no DB outside of CB Jalen Ramsey is particularly good at covering opposing receivers. Rookie safety Jordan Fuller was a positive surprise thus far, but he just hit IR with an injury. The rest of the secondary might look extremely bad against the Rams passing offense.
The Rams defense will struggle to handle all the speed that comes from WRs Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk and RBs Jerick McKinnon and Raheem Mostert. They also won’t be able to cover TE George Kittle.
This is going to be a bounce-back game for Jimmy Garoppolo, Kyle Shanahan and the whole Niners offense.
I am looking at a score of like 30-24 or 30-27 and we are getting a discount on the number because of all the recency bias.
Let’s get some points in this west coast battle!
- Los Angeles Rams / San Francisco 49ers OVER 51 -105 (1.95)