Rams vs Lions Prediction, Pick | NFL Wild Card Round

Rams vs Lions Prediction, Pick | NFL Wild Card Round article feature image

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Rams vs Lions Prediction, Pick | NFL Wild Card Round

Jan. 14
8 p.m. ET
Rams +3 (or better)
Pick: Rams +3 (-105; Bet to +3)

My Rams vs Lions prediction is on the spread, which has the Lions listed as three-point favorites. The over/under is up to 53 at most bet365.

The discussion around this Sunday Night Football Wild Card game will be centered around Matthew Stafford’s return to Detroit, but it will be a total team effort from an undervalued Rams squad as I believe they have a good chance of pulling off the upset in the Wild Card Round.

Here's my Rams-Lions pick.

Rams vs Lions Odds

Sunday, Jan 14
8:15 p.m. ET
Rams Odds
-110o / -110u
Lions Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.

Rams vs. Lions Prediction

Since their Week 10 bye, the Rams have quietly been one of the best teams in football. They won seven of eight games to end the season, with their only loss coming in overtime to the AFC’s top seed in Baltimore.

In the seven games Stafford has played in since their bye, the Rams have averaged 29.2 points per game. According to Sharp Football, in the 386 snaps in which Stafford was joined by a healthy Kyren Williams, Cooper Kupp and Puka Nacua, this offense averaged 6.8 yards per play. For context, the 49ers have the best offense in football at 6.6 yards per play.

When all of the Rams’ offensive playmakers have been in the lineup, this offense averages 0.18 EPA (expected points added), which would make it the top offense in the NFL by a considerable margin.

One key to the Rams’ offensive success is the ability to win on early downs. Since the aforementioned offensive turnaround coming out of their bye, this is an offense that has only reached third down on 41% of their new set of downs, which is the third-lowest rate leaguewide.

Sean McVay has done this by running the ball consistently on first and second down. McVay has called running plays on 45% of all early downs this season, which is the highest rate for any Rams offense over the last six years.

Incredibly, when the Rams have their four key weapons on the field, this rushing attack has generated a 0.16 EPA per designed run play, which would be the best mark of any team in the last 10 years, according to Nate Tice of Yahoo.

Rams vs Lions Picks | FanDuel

Rams +3

Lions -3

The Lions boast the league’s top rush defense, according to DVOA, but there is still plenty of reason for optimism for the Rams. Detroit faced a schedule rank of 22, according to DVOA, which signifies it had the benefit of playing one of the easier slate of offenses.

The Rams have implemented much more man/gap run concepts than in years past. Using zone concepts at the lowest rate under McVay, this version of the Los Angeles offensive line is built to come right at you.

The Lions have only had to match up with two teams ranked inside the top 10 in adjusted line yards created, a metric that really measures the importance of a strong push up front by the offensive line. The Rams rank fifth in this metric at 4.55 yards per rush created, which is the highest of any team Detroit has had to play against.

The Lions surrendered 109 yards on the ground against the Packers (eighth) on 22 attempts in Week 12, and then 113 yards against the Saints (ninth) the following week. The Lions allowed 28 or more points in both of those contests.

Rams vs. Lions Pick

I expect the Rams to consistently move the ball against a Lions defense that finished 26th in total defense in terms of yards per play allowed. The pressure will fall on Jared Goff to answer with scores of his own to keep up with Stafford and the Rams.

Not only will Goff feel the pressure to deliver the city’s first playoff victory since 1992, but he’s likely to face tangible interior pressure from Aaron Donald. Interior pressure has plagued Goff throughout his career, and it certainly tips the scales to the Rams when it comes to projecting which quarterback will make the costly mistake.

I will side with the playoff success of Stafford and McVay, fading a team in the Lions whose most recent victory over a playoff team came back in Week 6.

Play the Rams at +3 or better.

Pick: Rams +3 (-105; Bet to +3)

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