CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP - 49ERS @  RAMS

CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP - 49ERS @ RAMS

Time: 6:30 PM ET, Jan. 30, 2022
Location: SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, Calif.
Current Line: LAR -3.5  Total: 45.5

THE PICK:

There is also some history between the two head coaches – Kyle Shanahan of San Francisco and Sean McVay of the Rams. Both served together on the Washington staff before becoming head coaches. Shanahan is 27-18 ATS as an underdog. That includes a 2-1 ATS record in the playoffs. In the last 19 games in which the 49ers have been the underdog, Shanahan and the Niners have won outright 12 times. Shanahan is also 7-3 ATS against his friend McVay. All that said, there is just too much value on San Francisco as an underdog.

Back the Niners -3.5


Just like the AFC championship game, Sunday’s NFC championship game will feature a game in which the opponents have played each other already this season. In fact, the 49ers and Rams played each other twice this season as both teams are members of the NFC West division. Los Angeles would win five straight games down the stretch of the regular season and wind up capturing the division crown. The Rams only loss in their final six games came in the regular season finale. That loss was to San Francisco, which beat the Rams in both games this season. Could the 49ers beat the Rams a third time and earn a trip to Super Bowl LVI?

In that Week 18 game, the Niners won 27-24 in overtime, but the game really shouldn’t have been that close. San Francisco’s defense sacked Rams QB Matthew Stafford five times and held LA to just 123 second-half yards. The 49ers outgained the Rams 449 to 265. Ninety-two of those yards came on one drive. The Rams saving grace was the ability to convert on third down (10-of-17) and in the red zone (3-of-4 trips).

San Francisco also won the first game of this season rather easily. The Niners defense picked off Stafford on the Rams first two drives of the game. That defense held the Rams to just 52 yards rushing and 278 total. The 49ers ran for 156 and QB Jimmy Garoppolo completed 15-of-19 passes for 182 yards and two touchdowns. The game was never in question and San Francisco won 31-10.

What’s interesting is that if you go back a couple years, you will find that the 49ers have owned the Rams. San Francisco has swept the Rams in each of the past three seasons. They are a perfect 6-0 in the last six games against LA. The Niners have covered in the last four straight winning as the underdog in all four games. Will it happen again? San Francisco is a 3.5-point underdog heading into Sunday night’s game.

The Rams and Stafford started the 2021 season on a roll. Stafford was actually leading the NFL in passer rating before he began a second-half slump. From Week 9 on, Stafford threw 11 interceptions and four of those were returned for touchdowns. The Rams lost three straight games in November, but rebounded to win the next five in a row before the season-ending loss to San Francisco.

The Rams have won both of their playoff games with an offense that has scored 30 or more points in each game. They beat Arizona, also an NFC West foe, 34-11 in the wild card round and beat defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay 30-27 last week in the divisional round. Stafford is 41-of-55 for 568 yards and four touchdowns in the playoffs. More importantly, he has not thrown an interception. His No. 1 target, NFL leading receiver Cooper Kupp, had nine catches for 183 yards and one touchdown in the win over Tampa Bay.

Over their last eight games, the Rams are 7-1 straight up and 6-2 against the spread. The 49ers are 4-0 SU and 4-0 ATS in their last four games. The Niners are also 3-0 SU and ATS in their last three games as an underdog. San Francisco has won each of its last four games as an underdog. That includes two wins over the Rams as 3.5-point underdogs.

There is a history of division matchups in NFL playoff games. Since 2003, the visiting team is 15-8-1 ATS. Home teams had failed to cover in eight straight such games until this season. The team that has the lower winning percentage is 14-6-1 ATS in these games and the team that won the last game by a touchdown or less is 8-5 ATS.

There is also some history between the two head coaches – Kyle Shanahan of San Francisco and Sean McVay of the Rams. Both served together on the Washington staff before becoming head coaches. Shanahan is 27-18 ATS as an underdog. That includes a 2-1 ATS record in the playoffs. In the last 19 games in which the 49ers have been the underdog, Shanahan and the Niners have won outright 12 times. Shanahan is also 7-3 ATS against his friend McVay.

All that said, there is just too much value on San Francisco as an underdog. Back the Niners -3.5.

Back the Niners -3.5

Full  schedule for the CHAMPIONSHIP PLAYOFF here can be found here!