Sep 8, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein (4) celebrates with punter Johnny Hekker (6) after kicking the game winning 48 yard field goal against the Arizona Cardinals during the second half at Edward Jones Dome. St. Louis defeated Arizona 27-24. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
(SportsNetwork) -- Last year, these two teams tied in their first meeting, which took place in San Francisco, and St. Louis won the rematch on an overtime field goal by Greg Zuerlein.
For whatever reason the Rams tend to play better in divisional action (Rams QB Sam Bradford is 5-1-1 in his past seven starts against NFC West foes) and match up well with the more talented Niners. This may be an example where St. Louis was clearly looking past Dallas a week ago to this game.
"We've been on the losing end of a lot of games (in the rivalry), this organization has," Fisher said. "Now last year, we got our feet back on the map, but I don't think there's a rivalry yet. It's a division opponent. It's a big challenge for us on a short week, but I don't necessarily see it as a rivalry yet. Hopefully, we'll become one."
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Rams 20, 49ers 17
Over at our friends from Sportschatplace.com, the experts there also are liking the Rams, writing:
The San Francisco 49ers will be meeting up with their division rival, the St. Louis Rams this Thursday night at the Edward Jones Dome.
The St. Louis Rams are sitting at 1-2 on the season currently. The Rams started off the season with a win against their division rival the Cardinals at home, and since then St. Louis has dropped back to back road games, one at the Falcons, and then last week at the Cowboys.
The Rams were blown out by Dallas, falling 31-7 to the Cowboys. A lot of times in the NFL the score doesn't always reflect what actually happened on the field. In this case, it does. The Rams fell behind to Dallas early on and, unlike the week before when the Rams came back and made it a game against the Falcons; the Rams were never able to rebound against Dallas.
St. Louis was outgained by the Cowboys 232-396 on the day. Sam Bradford was again solid for the Rams, and is quietly putting together a nice season in St. Louis. Bradford was 29/48 for 240 yards and a score against the Cowboys, but was sacked six times on the day.
The ground game never got going as the Rams staring running back, Darryl Richardson saw action for just one play, and then left the game with a foot injury. The Rams as a team gained just 35 yards on the ground for the day. Givens was the leading receiver for the Rams, hauling in two passes for 54 yards, while being targeted eight times. The Rams have a solid defense this season, but if St. Louis is unable to find balance offensively, it will be tough keeping the defense off the field.
The San Francisco 49ers is off to a sluggish 1-2 start on the season. The Forty Niners fell last weekend to the Indianapolis Colts, and while people are not giving up on this team by any stretch, there is some concern in the Bay Area.
The Forty Niners have been outscored 56-10 in their last two games, one at Seattle (no shame in losing there, everyone does) and then last week at home against the Colts. One thing plaguing this team is the injury bug. Crabtree has been out all season long, and isn't due back until sometime in November, while their other receiver, Mario Manningham is slated to be back within the next month sometime.
The Niners were also without Vernon Davis last weekend as Davis injured his hamstring the week before in Seattle, but reports are that he feels well and is likely to play this Thursday night.
San Francisco will also be without Patrick Willis this Thursday as Willis suffered a groin injury Sunday against the Colts, and Aldon Smith was released from the team this past week, due to another DUI charge, and has since entered rehab. San Francisco managed just 254 yards of offense against the Colts, and were unable to move the changes and had poor field position the entire game. This team will be back and things will get better in the bay, but for right now, the Niners are up against it.
In San Francisco's last six Thursday night games, the Niners are just 2-4 against the spread and 4-2 overall. The Niners are just 4-9 against the spread in their last 13 divisional games. So far on the year, the Niners are 1-2 against the number. The Rams are 6-9 against the spread in their last 15 home games, and as a home underdog of three points or less, the Rams are 2-1 against the spread in their last three. So far this season, St. Louis is 0-3 against the number.
I'm going to take the points with the Rams in this spot. The Niners have had a brutal schedule to open their season, playing three playoff teams, but this team is banged up and their best football is still ahead of them a few weeks.
The Rams are coming off back to back road losses, including getting thrashed last week in Dallas. Fisher will have his boys ready to go on Thursday, and you know the Rams already match up well with the Niners as St. Louis beat San Francisco outright once, and tied them the other time. Close game, but I like the Rams to cover, and win outright on Thursday against the Niners.