Thursday Night Football features an AFC versus NFC matchup as the New England Patriots (6-6) will take on the Los Angeles Rams (8-4) at SoFi Stadium in California. Kickoff for this one is scheduled for 8:20 pm ET.
The Patriots come into this game third in the AFC East, three games behind the Buffalo Bills. It has been an inconsistent season, but they are coming off of a dominant performance as they beat the Los Angeles Chargers 45-0 last weekend. In that game, Cam Newton threw for one touchdown and rushed for two more. They will look for a similar outcome against the other Los Angeles team on Thursday.
At 8-4, the Rams sit atop the NFC West division. Even though they have the same record as the Seattle Seahawks, they currently hold the tiebreaker. Their division has undoubtedly been the best in the NFL this season, so every win is imperative at this point in the season. Last Sunday, they were able to take out a division rival in the Arizona Cardinals 38-28 and will look to keep it rolling this week.
The Los Angeles Rams are the favorites in this one playing at home. They are currently -240 to win while the Patriots’ moneyline is +198. The spread features New England +5 while the over/under for total points is 44.5.
By The Numbers
Neither of these teams have been dominant offensively, but it is the Rams who hold the advantage. They rank 17th overall, averaging 25.1 points per game, while the Patriots, who rank 23rd, are averaging 22.8 points per game.
While both have been suspect at times on offense, both have top-ten defenses. Los Angeles currently ranks 5th in the NFL in scoring defense as they are allowing just 20.2 points per game. The Patriots rank 7th allowing 21.2 points.
Patriots Look For Continued Success After Dominating Performance
At 6-6, this has been quite an inconsistent season for a team we are so accustomed to seeing as the models of consistency. As they have fluctuated up and down, last week was definitely a high for the team as they dominated the Chargers.
Now, behind quarterback Cam Newton, they will look to do the same to the Rams. On the season, Newton has thrown for 2,053 yards, 5 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions. While the touchdown to interception ratio is concerning, Newton has also added the versatility of a run game to New England’s quarterback spot. Thus far, he has rushed for 435 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Defensively, the team has been led by Adrian Philips (84 tackles), Chase Winovich (3.5 sacks), and J.C. Jackson (7 interceptions).
Rams Look To Keep Division Lead In Their Grasp
With the Seahawks, Cardinals, and even the 49ers within striking distance, the Rams know that every win is crucial to maintain their division lead. With just a quarter of the season left, they will try to add another tally to the win column on Thursday.
Leading the way under center for the Rams is Jared Goff. On the season, he has thrown for 3,372 yards, 17 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. While he is not nearly as mobile as Newton, he has also rushed for three touchdowns.
Through the air, Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods form one of the best wide receiving tandems in the league. Kupp has 74 receptions for 836 yards and 2 touchdowns, while Woods has 71 receptions for 764 yards and 5 scores.
Defensively, they are led by John Johnson (56 tackles), Aaron Donald (11 sacks), and Darious Williams (4 interceptions).
Rams Win, But Can They Cover?
While they stay in the City of Angels, the Patriots are playing a completely different type of team this week. In fact, they go from playing the 27th ranked defense in the Chargers to the 5th in the Rams. With that in mind, don’t expect them to have the same type of offensive success as last week.
Not only is the defense better in favor of the Rams compared to the Chargers, but the offense is also better too. Ultimately, this is going to be a tough matchup for the Patriots, and I expect their rollercoaster of a season to continue with another loss on Thursday.
For my money, I like the Rams not only to win but to cover the 5-point spread playing at home.