Preview, prediction, odds and pick

With a first round bye basically out of reach, the Rams will look to become the first team to stop Jimmy Garoppolo in his run as the 49ers’ starter.

Jimmy Garoppolo may be the talk of the town in the NFC these days, but he’ll get his first large test as the starter for the San Francisco 49ers when he faces off against the Los Angeles Rams on the road on Sunday.

The 49ers have been rolling with Garoppolo under center, going 4-0 so far with the former New England Patriots quarterback leading the way for the red and white. He helped the team cruise to a big win over the Jacksonville Jaguars last weekend, and now will need a similar performance to try and take down the dominant Rams this Sunday.

The Rams are in a tough spot at the moment heading into their Week 17 battle at home against the 49ers. Their road to a first-round bye features some very slim chances, but they’re not in a position where a loss cannot hurt them in a competitive NFC playoff hunt. They’ll need to get Todd Gurley going offensively to keep their rushing momentum going, and they’ll need a win to keep high seeding in the playoff bracket.

Odds:  Rams -4, according to Odds Shark

The Rams may be favored in this one, but a lot of factors will play into how this game plays out. Garoppolo hasn’t faced an incredible offensive team yet, and this could turn into a shootout depending on how the cards fall. On the other end, the Rams are in an awkward spot between being competitive for the higher seed and wanting to rest players for a grind of a postseason.

This one may be the best game of the week, and I see the Rams matching the odds in a close battle to hand Garoppolo his first loss as an NFL starter.

Prediction: Rams 24, 49ers 20

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