The New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams are coming off convincing performances in which they both dominated in all three phases of the game and they meet on Thursday in the NFL (8.20pm ET; TV: Live on Fox).
The Patriots took Anthony Lynn and the Chargers to school, shellacking them 45-0. The Rams won a pivotal divisional game and looked comfortable doing so. They beat the Cardinals 38-28 and used a defensive touchdown at the end to make for a comfortable win and cover. The Cards scored a touchdown with two minutes left to cut the lead to 10 and make the final score more respectable, but the Rams had little sweat for much of the game. So what gives as this in-form pair clash? USAbetting hopes to answer that in this game preview with New England Patriots vs LA Rams picks.
Defense Wins Championships
The Patriots were completely dominant in all phases of the game. They had a defensive touchdown from a field goal block and added a special teams score with a punt return touchdown. Cam Newton and the offense added two scores on the ground and two through the air. Newton didn’t have to do much in the passing game and only had 69 yards and one touchdown on 12 completions.
The Patriots’ defense was the best unit on the field and was able to intercept rookie quarterback Justin Herbert twice in addition to the blocked field goal touchdown. They were able to hold Herbert to only 209 yards through the air and star running back Austin Eckler to a measly 36 yards on eight carries and the running game as a whole to 70 yards.
New England shutout a Chargers team that before last week averaged 25.2 points per game. The Chargers were also significantly below their normal average yards per game outputs. Through the air they average 272.9 yards per game, which is good for 4th in the NFL. On the ground they average 113.2 yards per game. The Patriots were able to hold them to 63 yards below their average passing output and 43 yards below their average rushing game.
The Patriots will need a similar dominant effort from their defense if they want to keep the game close on Thursday. They will be facing a Rams defense that is statistically one of the best in the league and arguably the best defender in Aaron Donald. This will be a tall task for a Patriots’ offense that has been lackluster at times this season. The Patriots rank 23rd in average points per game with 23.8, but thankfully for them their defense holds opponents to only 21.2 points per game. If it weren’t for their stingy defense, they likely would have far fewer wins. They currently sit at 6-6 and in third place in their division behind the Buffalo Bills and the Miami Dolphins. They are on the outside looking in if the season ended today, which makes every game that much more meaningful.
The Los Angeles Rams have one of the better defenses in the NFL and it has singlehandedly won them several games at times this season. They are currently sitting at 8-4 and have leapfrogged the Seattle Seahawks to first place in the division and the third seed in the NFC. The Rams rank 5th in the NFL in average points allowed per game giving up 20.2 points.
The 28 points given up to the Cardinals was tied for the second most they have allowed this season. I expect them to bounce back against a Patriots offense that can struggle to move the ball and especially through the air. I can’t imagine how the Patriots will be able successfully to move the ball against such a stout defense. The Rams rank 6th in the NFL in average passing yards allowed per game with 271.2.
The Patriots rank 30 out of 32 teams in average passing yards per game (191.4) and are one of only four teams in the league that average less than 200 yards or more per game. The Rams have one of the best corners in Jalen Ramsey and he is able to shut down some of the best weapons in the league.
The Patriots’ wide receiving group is average at best and could struggle mightily against a strong Rams’ secondary. Their leading receiver is Damiere Byrd with 518 yards and Jakobi Meyers with 458. Byrd is ranked 51st in the NFL in receiving yards and Meyers is ranked 69th.
New England’s bread and butter this year is on the ground. Damien Harris leads the team with 641 yards and quarterback Cam Newton is second on the team with 435 yards on the ground. Newton leads the team by a wide margin with 11 rushing touchdowns. The next closest is Rex Burkhead with three. Newtown also leads the team with 45 first downs on the ground.
Expect the Rams to sell out against the ground game and look to slow down Newton and the strong rushing attack. The Rams rank 3rd and only give up 93.1 rushing yards on average per game. They are one of five teams that give up less than 100 yards rushing on average per game. How will the Patriots possibly move the ball and score enough to push this game over the total?
Our Betting Preview’s New England Patriots at LA Rams Predictions & Picks Advice
USAbetting is going to be taking the total under. Initially I looked at the Rams -6pts, but I am much more confident in their strong defense than I am in their inconsistent offense against a solid Patriots’ defense.
The total is currently sitting at around over/under 45 total points with the top USA sports betting sites. I am quite confident that this game will go under the total. I could see the Rams ultimately covering as 6-point home favorites, but I like the under much more.
The Rams have one of the better defenses in the NFL and the Patriots have an inconsistent and at times below average offense. I think this will be a 23-13 victory for LA as they look to maintain their position at first place in the NFC West. So the final betting picks’ verdict of our Patriots vs Rams predictions and preview is: