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San Francisco vs. St. Louis, 01/01/2012 13:00
Point Spread: -10½/-102 San Francisco
The San Francisco 49ers have a lot to play for Sunday, while the St. Louis Rams have nothing to play for. St. Louis can only hurt themselves by winning this game, which would potentially cost them the No. 1 pick. San Francisco would clinch the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye with a win.
The 49ers (12-3) clinched the NFC West title and their first playoff berth since 2002 with a 26-0 win over the Rams (2-13) on Dec. 4. All they have to do to claim that first-round bye is beat a St. Louis team which has lost six straight by a 150-53 score.
Frank Gore should be excited to face the league's worst run defense. St. Louis gives up 154.5 rushing yards per game. San Francisco is No. 1 in that category (75.1) and has allowed the fewest points in the league (202). St. Louis has a league-low 166 points, the only team to have scored fewer than 200.
The 49ers held the Rams to 157 total yards in December's victory and held leading rusher Steven Jackson to 19 on 10 carries. It was the second time in the last five meetings that St. Louis couldn't score on the 49ers. It's been a miserable season for the Rams, who have scored an NFL-low 15 touchdowns and rank last in third-down efficiency.
St. Louis is coming off its second shutout loss in four games, 27-0 to Pittsburgh last Saturday. Kellen Clemens started in place of the injured Sam Bradford at quarterback and completed 9 of 24 for 91 yards. Bradford is doubtful to start this game as well.
San Francisco is 15-5-1 ATS in their last 21 games overall. The 49ers are 13-3 ATS in their last 16 games as a favorite, including 4-0-1 ATS in their last 5 games as a favorite of 10.5 or greater. The Rams are 1-7-1 ATS in thier last 9 vs. a team with a winning record. St. Louis is 16-35 ATS in their last 51 vs. NFC West opponents. Bet the 49ers Sunday.