The NFC West looks like the best division in the NFL right now, and an NFC West showdown takes center stage Sunday as the Los Angeles Rams host the San Francisco 49ers.
San Francisco has battled through injuries this season, limping to a 4-6 record. The Rams, meanwhile, have surged to the top of the division at 7-3, currently holding the No. 2 seed in the NFC.
Kickoff is at 4:05 pm ET on FOX.
San Francisco 49ers Preview – Weather the Storms
The 49ers have lost their previous three games, all to likely playoff teams. Three straight double-digit losses to the Seattle Seahawks, Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints have San Francisco heading towards a Top 10 pick instead of a Top 10 finish.
Nick Mullens has taken over under center following the injury to Jimmy Garoppolo. Mullens has completed 115-of-171 passes for 1,390 yards with six touchdowns, but he’s also thrown six interceptions and lost a fumble.
The losses haven’t necessarily been Mullens’ fault, as injuries have continued to mount. Garoppolo and tight end George Kittle are likely done through the end of the season. Running back Tevin Coleman, wide receiver Deebo Samuel, and tight end Jordan Reed are all questionable with injury or illness.
Rookie wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk is the healthiest receiver and ranks only behind Kittle in receiving yards. Aiyuk has also scored three touchdowns on the season and has five carries for 61 yards and two touchdowns. The versatile weapon is a threat to score wherever he lines up on the field.
Despite the injuries, the 49ers' defense allows the seventh-fewest yards per game (315.9) and eleventh-fewest points per game (23.4). Their 12 turnovers are nice, but the team has a -5 turnover differential this season.
Los Angeles Rams Betting Preview – Donald and the Defense
The first-place Rams have impressed in their last two games, winning at home against the Seahawks and on the road against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Their defense has been the biggest reason for their success, allowing the fewest yards per game (291.9) and second-fewest points per game (19.2).
Aaron Donald and Leonard Floyd have combined for 16 sacks, and Donald has forced three fumbles. Cornerback Darius Williams has four interceptions, and 12 passes defended. The Rams are tied for the fourth-most sacks in the league.
On the offensive side of the ball, Jared Goff is having a capable season and is putting up much better numbers than he was a year ago. Goff has completed nearly 68% of his passes for 2,823 yards, 16 touchdowns, and eight interceptions.
Last year, Goff averaged one interception per game. Limiting turnovers against San Francisco will be instrumental to a Rams win Sunday.
Expect rookie wide receiver Van Jefferson to score his second touchdown of the season this week. Jefferson has mostly been an afterthought in the Rams offense, but with all the injuries in the 49ers' secondary, San Francisco will likely focus on shutting down Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods. Jefferson has a great opportunity for a breakout game.
49ers at Rams Betting Odds & Lines
Mybookie has the Rams at 6.5 point favorites.
Free Betting Pick
The Rams are looking at a post-Thanksgiving feast against a battered 49ers bunch. San Francisco won their previous meeting 24-16, so the home Rams will be playing with a chip on their shoulder as they look to improve their playoff positioning.
Los Angeles may kick in a defensive touchdown here, too.