Did you know that, during Sean McVay’s time leading the Los Angeles Rams, his teams are 33-0 when they lead at the half? – This suggests that when he knows a team well enough to plan successfully, he doesn’t give up leads. The biggest inconsistency for his team right now is the play of his quarterback, Jared Goff. There are games in which he looks sensational, as in the Rams’ 38-28 win over Arizona. There are other games in which he looks dreadful, as in the team’s 23-20 loss to San Francisco, in which Goff turned the ball over multiple times.
Next up for the Rams is a rematch of Super Bowl LIII, as the New England Patriots come to town. The Pats have latched onto a gritty formula: run Cam Newton, play tough defense, and win the special teams battle. This helped them upset the Ravens and irritate the Cardinals – and shellac the Chargers last week. A team that was 2-5 is now 6-6.
Can they make it 7-6 in Los Angeles?
When: Thursday, December 10, 2020, 8:20 pm ET
Where: SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, CA
TV: FOX / NFL Network / Amazon Prime Video
Radio: Westwood One
JAZZ Sports Odds: Rams -5.5 / Total 44.5*
Why the Patriots Will Win
Cam Newton has not blown away observers with his passing this year, as he has thrown for 2,053 yards in 12 games, with a 5:9 TD:INT ratio. He has not thrown more than one touchdown pass in 15 consecutive games. One problem is that his wide receiving corps lacks talent, except for an aging Julian Edelman. On the ground, Damien Harris is currently the leading back, with 641 yards, but Newton has done a lot of the running himself.
The New England defense has been impressive, permitting 21.3 points and 344.6 yards on average. J.C. Jackson has led an intrepid secondary, hauling in seven interceptions. Chase Winovich keys the pass rush with 3 ½ sacks. The Pats have been great on Thursdays, covering in five of their last midweek appearances. They have also been gritty on the road, covering in five of their last seven games as road dogs. Against the Rams, they have covered six times in their last seven meetings.
Why the Rams Will Win
The Rams have won four of their last five games at home, and Jared Goff looked like his ideal self in the win over Arizona. On the year, Goff has a 17:10 TD:INT ratio, but he tends to throw his interceptions in bunches. Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods have caught seven touchdown passes combined. On the ground, Darrell Henderson Jr leads the team with 559 yards and five scores.
The Rams’ defense has also stood tall, allowing 291.3 yards and 20.3 points per contest. Aaron Donald is a terror on the pass rush, with 11 sacks, and Darious Williams leads the team with four picks. The Rams finish seasons well; in their last eight December contests, they have covered six times.
The Final Word
Bill Belichick got the best of Sean McVay in Super Bowl LIII, as the Patriots beat Los Angeles, 13-3, in the lowest scoring Super Bowl ever. There are ways for defenses to get to Goff and knock him off his game, and Thursday games tend to be a little uglier because of the shorter recovery and prep time from Sunday. I like New England to snag an upset here.
*Odds are subject to change.