Week 15; Monday Night Football; #RamsHouse @ #GoPackGo

After a couple of ridiculous (and one very dull) games on Saturday, yesterday didn’t disappoint. We had several favourites taken down to the wire with the Texans taking the Chiefs to overtime and the Jaguars shocking the Cowboys in Jacksonville. Not to mention the crazy ending in Vegas where the Patriots decided to quite literally throw the game away instead of taking it to overtime.

The Jaguars have put themselves firmly in the frame for the AFC South with that win coupled with the Titans fourth loss in a row. And over in the NFC South, anyone can still win it after the Buccaneers loss to the Bengals.

Tonight’s MNF is between two teams who won their divisions last year, but have seen them be clinched by rivals over the weekend as the Rams travel to Green Bay.

Los Angeles Rams +7.5 @ Green Bay Packers: 39.5

This game features last years number one seed in the NFC against the reigning NFC (and Super Bowl) Champs, it’s got to be a good game right? Right?!

At the start of September it would have been hard to believe that these teams would both be sitting third in their division, six games off the lead at this stage of the season, but here we are. The Rams are pretty much checked out and looking to next year but the Packers still have an outside shot at the playoffs and are coming off a bye week, so should in theory be up for this one.

This is going to be a shorter preview than usual as I’m assuming no one really wants to read too much about these two teams…

Rams

Last time out the Rams somehow came back from a 13 point fourth quarter deficit against the Raiders. Despite being on the team only a few days, Baker Mayfield took 95% of the snaps and put on a solid display given the circumstances. He’ll likely be the Rams starter for the rest of the season now after leading them to their first win in seven games.

Cam Akers scored another touchdown in that win, taking him to four for the season, which is the most for any Rams player that will be active for tonight’s game. He should have the best chance of any Ram of finding the end zone again and only a handful of teams allow more rushing touchdowns per game than the Packers, so I don’t mind his touchdown odds of 12/5.

Ben Skowronek and Tutu Atwell were Mayfield’s top targets last week, but it was Van Jefferson that scored the game winning touchdown in the dying moments. That touchdown was Jefferson’s third in his last five games, him and Atwell (one) are the only Rams receivers not named Copper Kupp or Allen Robinson to catch touchdown passes this season. Betting wise this is an offense we should probably avoid but Skowronek over 2.5 receptions seems a banker, although it is only 5/7 (Skowronek o2.5 receptions).

Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times

Packers

The Packers entered their Week 14 bye at 5-8 after recording just their second win since Week 4 against the Bears. They still have a small chance at making the playoffs but will be relying on other teams slipping up. Given these other teams are the Commanders, Lions and Seahawks, there is still a chance.

This season has almost certainly been Aaron Rodgers worst as the Packers starting QB. The back-to-back MVP has seen a significant decline in pretty much every stat from his 2020 and 2021 campaigns and has thrown nine interceptions in 13 games. We need to go back to the 2010 and 2008 seasons for the only other times he has thrown more than eight.

In recent weeks, Rodgers seems to have built a strong rapport with rookie receiver Christian Watson. Watson has seven touchdown catches and one touchdown run in his last four games, averaging over 90 total yards per game in that period. His receiving line is 47.5 yards and I’d lean the over on that as he’s averaging over 20 yards per catch in those last four games. It was Allen Lazard catching all of the touchdowns earlier in the season and he has had to take a backseat while Watson emerges, not scoring since Week 9. Lazard has a slightly lower line of 43.5 and I’m more confident in that as he’s gone over that figure in eight of his last ten (Lazard o43.5 receiving yards).

Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon are on paper one of the best running back duos in the league but they have had their struggles like the rest of the team. Jones is averaging over five yards per carry but has only managed two rushing touchdowns on the season and Dillon was held scoreless for ten weeks before finding the end zone against the Eagles and Bears. The Rams have been pretty stubborn against running backs this season but you have to assume the Packers have the advantage in this game so they should both get plenty of work. Jones over 21.5 receiving yards is my favourite prop.

Who wins?

It’s hard to take anything other than a Packers win with the Rams season being all but over and only having one win outside of LA this year. I don’t think I can take the Packers to cover the spread at 7.5 though, despite the fact they are 5-0 against the spread in recent matchups with the Rams. I’d probably lean the over on 39.5 just because it’s such a low total.

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