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49ers vs. Rams how to watch: TV, live stream, odds, prediction, keys for ‘Monday Night Football’ showdown

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The final game of Week 10 of the 2021 NFL season pits NFC West rivals against each other. The Los Angeles Rams, coming off a disappointing home loss to the Tennessee Titans last week, travel to Northern California to take on the San Francisco 49ers, who have lost five of their last six games after starting the season 2-0. 

This game should mark the Rams debuts for Von Miller and Odell Beckham, while it will also be their first game since losing Robert Woods for the season. L.A. has an opportunity to gain some ground on the division-leading Cardinals after Arizona lost to the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. The 49ers are pretty far back in the playoff race at the moment, but they do at least have an opportunity to play spoiler here. 

So, can the Rams get back to their winning ways, or will the Niners send them into the loss column once again? We’ll find out Monday evening. But first, let’s break down the matchup. 

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How to watch

Date: Monday, Nov. 15 | Time: 8:15 p.m. ET
Location: Levi’s Stadium (Santa Clara, California)
TV:
 ESPN | Stream: fuboTV (click here)
Follow: CBS Sports App
Odds: Rams -3.5, O/U 50

When the Rams have the ball

The Rams suffered a tremendous loss in Friday’s practice, when Woods went down for the year with a torn ACL. The Beckham signing softens the blow a bit as it prevents the Rams from having to dig even deeper into their wide receiver depth chart, but Woods and Beckham are much different players. The Rams are almost surely not going to use Odell the same way they did Woods in the run game, for instance, and Woods’ facility and willingness to do the dirty work as a blocker is part of what made him such a valuable player for this offense. 

In Woods’ absence, it seems more likely that Van Jefferson will play more of Woods’ role, while Beckham slides into Jefferson’s role as a field-stretcher and back side threat. It’s a role that Beckham is well-suited for, but also one he didn’t particularly like playing in Cleveland. The Rams pass the ball far more often than do the Browns, so perhaps he’ll be more willing to accept that role because he’ll actually see more targets deep down the field. Matthew Stafford can certainly get the ball there on those plays, as well as those where Beckham is running the back-side dig that Woods or Jefferson would often run prior to Woods’ injury. 

No matter Beckham’s role in the offense, it seems highly likely that Cooper Kupp will maintain his place atop the team’s pecking order. He has shown immense chemistry with Stafford this season, he has the deepest wealth of knowledge of the offense, he’s the team’s best route-runner, and he’s now also easily the biggest and most physical of the team’s starting wideouts. 

Kupp lines up on the perimeter more often these days than he did earlier in his career, but is still most often aligned in the slot. The 49ers have allowed 46 catches on 55 targets to slot receivers this season, per Pro Football Focus, allowing 361 yards and two touchdowns on those passes. That is, uh, not very good. K’Waun Williams is the team’s top option in the slot and he’s been better than other defensive backs the Niners have tried in the role, but the 5-9, 185-pound Williams is at a distinct size disadvantage against Kupp, who is quite big for a slot receiver (6-2, 208 pounds). 

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The 49ers’ perimeter defensive backs have left a lot to be desired in coverage this season, leaving them potentially vulnerable to Jefferson and Beckham doing some damage as well. Josh Norman is listed as questionable for this game, but he’s been ineffective for most of the year anyway. Emmanuel Moseley has been… fine, but it’s easy enough to attack the 49ers’ other starters that you don’t even need to worry about throwing at him. 

The Niners are usually quite good at taking away the middle of the field due to the coverage abilities of their linebackers and safeties, but Dre Greenlaw has been out since Week 1, Fred Warner is having a down season, and Jaquiski Tartt has largely not played up to his usual standards, either. It seemed likely earlier this week that tight end Tyler Higbee was headed for a decrease in role after the Beckham acquisition; but the Rams now don’t have the receiver depth to dramatically ramp up their usage of 10 personnel, so Higbee will likely retain a near-every-down role in the offense. He could be set up fairly well in this matchup, too. 

The 49ers have been far more effective stopping the run (sixth in Football Outsiders’ rush defense DVOA) than the pass (25th), thanks in large part to the ability of their defensive line to make plays in the backfield. San Francisco ranks fifth in Adjusted Line Yards allowed per carry, and ninth in the share of opponent rushing attempts stopped at or behind the line of scrimmage. The Rams have done a good job of running the ball throughout the season so far, but the advantages they have in the pass game makes it seem like they should tip the balance more in that direction in this matchup. 

When the 49ers have the ball

This is not necessarily a strength-on-strength matchup, but it’s definitely a preference-on-preference matchup. The Rams’ defense is designed to encourage opponents to run the ball, and the 49ers largely want to base their offense around the zone running game. Few teams in the NFL use fewer defenders in the box than the Rams, who have aligned with six or fewer defenders near the line of scrimmage on 23 more defensive snaps than the next-closest team despite not yet having played their Week 10 game. 

The 49ers have tended to run into heavier boxes than most teams in the league, so this game should be a change of pace for them. Elijah Mitchell has run into an eight-plus man box on 39.3% of his carries, per TruMedia, the league’s highest rate among 49 qualified running backs. He’s averaged 5.0 yards per carry into those eight-man boxes, tied for the ninth-best figure among that same group of players. Mitchell has just 15 carries into light boxes this season, but he’s averaged 5.53 yards per tote on those plays. That’s a good sign for his potential to get going against the Rams, which would in turn set the 49ers offense up for success. 

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San Francisco’s pass game is predicated on a lot of play-action and bootleg concepts, which give Jimmy Garoppolo easier reads and wider throwing lanes. Garoppolo’s 108.7 passer rating on play-action throws dwarfs his 88.1 mark on straight dropback plays. The leveled crossing routes that are the 49ers’ staples on those plays, though, don’t work quite as well or as often against the types of two-high safety looks that form the basis of the Rams’ defensive coverages. It will be up to the likes of Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, and George Kittle to adjust to the zones and find open space for Garoppolo to deliver them the ball. 

It’s also worth watching what the Rams decide to do, coverage-wise, in this matchup. They have used Jalen Ramsey in the slot on about 40% of his defensive snaps this season, per Pro Football Focus. Using him there allows him to contribute to the run fits along with the defensive front, but might not allow him to contribute as much as a coverage player in what should be the team’s preferred matchups. It seems somewhat unlikely that he shadows either Samuel or Kittle wherever they go, but we can’t rule out the possibility. 

The Niners typically block things up very well up front, but the loss of right tackle Mike McGlinchey could prove damaging here as Von Miller might make his Rams debut on Monday night. Miller has tended to rush from the left side of the defense during his career, putting him right where McGlinchey would usually be. Couple him with Aaron Donald up the middle and Leonard Floyd on the opposite edge, and the Rams have the ability to make things very uncomfortable for San Francisco’s offensive line.

Latest Odds:

San Francisco 49ers
+3.5

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Prediction: Rams 33, 49ers 23

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Aaron Rodgers to the Jets? Giants' free agency options & Mike McCarthy's future with Cowboys | Ask Jay Glazer

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Jay Glazer discussed whether Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers will head to the New York Jets, the New York Giants’ free agency options, and breaks down Mike McCarthy’s future with the Dallas Cowboys.



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Super Bowl LVII: Chiefs and Eagles will meet for title in Arizona

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Patrick Mahomes finally got the best of Joe Burrow. 

All he needed was a little shove.

Harrison Butker made a 45-yard field goal with 3 seconds left — after Cincinnati’s Joseph Ossai was flagged for a 15-yard penalty for shoving Mahomes after he was out of bounds — and the Chiefs beat the Bengals 23-20 in the AFC championship game to make it back to the Super Bowl.

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Kansas City will face the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl on Feb. 12 in Glendale, Arizona. 

The Eagles opened as a 1 1/2-point favourite, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

There are no shortage of storylines: Kansas City coach Andy Reid goes against his old team — which he led to Super Bowl 39 — in a game that’s also the first matchup of Black starting quarterbacks in the Super Bowl with Mahomes and Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts. 

On top of that, there’s a brother-against-brother showdown between Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and Philadelphia center Jason Kelce.

“Officially done being a Chiefs fan this season!! ” Jason Kelce tweeted immediately after the Chiefs won.

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The Chiefs have been making deep postseason runs on a regular basis ever since Mahomes came to town as the franchise quarterback. 

This was their fifth straight trip to the AFC title game and will be their third Super Bowl appearance in that span. They beat the 49ers for the NFL title in the 2019 season, but lost to the Bucs the following season.

The Eagles clobbered the Niners 31-7 in the NFC title game earlier Sunday. They’ve looked dominant in the playoffs so far, also beating the New York Giants 38-7 in the divisional round.

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Philadelphia is back in the Super Bowl five years after beating the New England Patriots 41-33 on Feb. 4, 2018. 

Now a mostly new generation of Eagles — led by coach Nick Sirianni and Hurts — will come to Arizona to try and win another title.

The Chiefs-Bengals game looked as if it was going to overtime before Ossai’s ill-advised play. Mahomes — who was playing on a badly sprained ankle — was running to get a first down in the final seconds as Ossai desperately tried to track him down. 

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Mahomes was out of bounds when Ossai gave him a shove, sending both players tumbling to the turf. The ensuing 15-yard penalty was enough to push Butker into field-goal range and the kick split the uprights.

A distraught Ossai sat on the bench with his head in his hands, well after the game was over.

The Bengals and Chiefs were playing for the fourth time in less than 400 days and Cincinnati had won the previous three meetings — all by three points. This one was decided by a field goal, too, and all Burrow could do was watch.

The Bengals lost to the Rams in last year’s Super Bowl and they just missed another chance at returning to the title game.

NO DRAMA IN NFC

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Oddsmakers thought fans were in for some close conference championship games. 

They’ll have to settle for a 50% success rate.

The NFC title game was a blowout. Niners rookie quarterback Brock Purdy was injured in the first quarter when Eagles linebacker Haason Reddick drilled his right arm on a play that was ruled a fumble. The Eagles recovered that fumble and the injury proved to be a game-changer.

With Purdy hurt, San Francisco turned to 36-year-old journeyman Josh Johnson, who couldn’t do much before eventually leaving with a concussion. Purdy came back into the game, but could barely throw, and the Eagles cruised to the win.

The 49ers dealt with quarterback injuries all season, losing Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo before turning to Purdy, a seventh-round draft pick out of Iowa State. Purdy stepped into a starter’s role in December and won his first seven games before Sunday’s injury. 

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Here’s a few things to know about the upcoming Super Bowl:

WHAT’S THE UPCOMING SCHEDULE?

FEB. 5

Pro Bowl flag-football game, 3 p.m. EST, ABC/ESPN

FEB. 12

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Super Bowl LVII, Philadelphia Eagles vs. Kansas City Chiefs, 6:30 p.m. EST, Fox

RIHANNA AT HALFTIME

Rihanna will take center stage as the headline act for this year’s Super Bowl halftime show.

With sales of more than 250 million records worldwide, Rihanna ranks as one of the best-selling female artists ever. Her most recent album was 2016′s “Anti.” Rihanna last performed publicly at the Grammy Awards in 2018.

The singer said she turned down a similar opportunity for the 2019 Super Bowl that was ultimately headlined by Maroon 5. At the time, many artists voiced support for Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who protested police brutality against Black people and minorities by kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.

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Country music star Chris Stapleton will sing the national anthem, while R&B legend Babyface will perform “America the Beautiful.” 

PRO BOWL MAKEOVER

The Pro Bowl is getting a major makeover this year after the NFL eliminated its full-contact all-star game and replaced it with weeklong skills competitions and a flag football game.

The flag football contest is Feb. 5 in Las Vegas at Allegiant Stadium, one week before the Super Bowl.

The Pro Bowl debuted in January 1951 in Los Angeles and stayed there for 21 seasons before the game moved to different cities from 1972-80. Hawaii hosted from 1980-2009, and the game has had several homes in the years since, including Miami, Phoenix, Orlando and Las Vegas.

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“The game was kind of silly, I guess,” Saints two-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman Ryan Ramczyk said back in September when the news was announced. “Guys weren’t out there playing true football. Hopefully, there’ll be a lot of interactions with the fans and guys will get their opportunity to go out there and show some skills. I could see that being a good change.”

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Ohio State hires James Laurinaitis & Tennessee extends Huepel's contract | Joel Klatt Show

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Joel Klatt discussed Ohio State Buckeyes hiring former linebacker James Laurinaitis as a defensive GA. Joel believes that Laurinaitis can help transform the defense into a powerhouse like the offense is for wide receivers. He then discussed the Tennessee Volunteers giving Josh Huepel a contract extension after their 11-win season.



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