The visiting San Francisco 49ers face the Los Angeles Rams in Week 17 of the 2018 NFL regular season. Niner Noise previews the matchup, including key stats, players to watch, X-factors, odds, injury news and how to watch the game live.
After beginning the season with different expectations, the San Francisco 49ers and the Los Angeles Rams enter the final week of the 2018 NFL regular season with different intentions.
A victory over the rival 49ers is essential for the playoff-bound Rams and head coach Sean McVay, as a Week 17 win would ensure that Los Angeles receives a much-needed first-round bye in the playoffs. After peaking early in the season, the 8-0 Rams stumbled as the team faced stiffer competition in the second half of 2018, before nearly falling apart in December.
A year removed from capping off a stellar regular season with a short one-and-done playoff run, a free trip to the second round of the playoffs is exactly what the Rams need — and an extra week of rest would allow star running back Todd Gurley to return to full force. In order to embark on a legitimate Super Bowl run, Los Angeles will need their top offensive player rested and ready for action, as Gurley will miss his second consecutive game on Sunday due to a minor knee injury.
A Week 17 victory is far less important for 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch, as the team continues to shut down established veterans in order to give added reps to rookies and younger players. A win on Sunday would also have an adverse effect on the Niners’ 2019 draft prospects. With the first overall selection still in play, a loss would ensure the 49ers a top-3 draft pick in 2019, while a Week 17 win could push San Francisco back to pick No. 5.
Las Vegas is well-aware of the team’s conflicting interests, as sportsbooks opened betting with the Rams as ten-point favorites. The line has moved very little over the week, and currently sits with the Rams favored by 10.5 points, per OddsShark.
Let’s break down the numbers you need to know about the San Francisco 49ers and their Week 17 opponent, the Los Angeles Rams, beginning with the Niners’ draft picture: