Free NFL Game Preview & ATS Pick: Lions vs Rams

Fresh off their bye week, the Los Angeles Rams will try to pick up where they left off when they visit the Detroit Lions in Week 13. Game time is set for 1:00 EST on Sunday, December 2, at Ford Field in Detroit. Fans in local markets can watch the game on Fox.

According to the Week 13 betting odds, the Rams are 9.5-point favorites on the road. The over/under for the game is set at 55 points.

Lions vs Rams Vegas Odds & Game Preview

The Lions are all but out of the playoff conversation in the NFC. They received a brief reprieve with their shocking win over the Panthers a couple of weeks ago. But a Thanksgiving Day loss to the Bears ended almost any hope of a late-season run. Detroit has now lost four of their last five games to fall to 4-7 on the season.

Technically, the Lions are just two games out of a playoff spot and have some winnable games against the Cardinals and Bears upcoming. However, they would need to win out and get a lot of help over the final five weeks. That scenario seems unrealistic with games against the Rams, Vikings, and Packers still left on their schedule.

As for the Rams, the last time we saw them they were winning an instant-classic against the Chiefs on Monday Night Football. After that 54-51 shootout victory, the Rams were able to take their bye during the week of Thanksgiving and rest up for the stretch run. With a win over the Lions on Sunday or a loss by the Seahawks this week, the Rams will officially clinch the NFC West title with four weeks to spare.

Of course, the Rams still have some work to do if they want home-field advantage in the playoffs. They’ll need to win out and hope that the Saints slip up at least once coming down the stretch. After visiting Detroit this week, the Rams still have to play the Bears and Eagles, giving Los Angeles some potential stumbling blocks late in the season.

Free Pro Football Pick Against the Spread: Rams -9.5

Even for the mighty Rams, this is a lot of points to cover. L.A. actually has a losing record against the spread this year despite being 10-1 overall. That being said, the Lions are a mess right now on both sides of the ball. With three of Detroit’s last four losses coming by double figures, I’ll eat the points and trust the Rams to cover.

Offensively, the Lions have some serious problems at the moment, mostly relating to personnel. Golden Tate has been traded away, Marvin Jones has been placed on IR, and rookie running back Kerryon Johnson is likely to miss his second straight game this week. That’s making life awfully difficult for Matthew Stafford. Meanwhile, Detroit’s lackluster offensive line is just adding to the problems. 

In their last five games, the Lions have eclipsed 20 points just once, and even that was in a losing effort. Without their leading rusher or a full complement of receivers, Stafford is getting desperate and has been more prone to turnovers. He has five touchdown passes but also five interceptions in his last five games. Unfortunately, the cavalry isn’t coming, so the pressure is all on the turnover-prone Stafford to carry the Lions.

To be fair, the Rams haven’t exactly been stout on defense lately. They’ve conceded at least 27 points in each of their last four games, including two games that they’ve allowed over 40 points. Of course, those two games came against the Saints and Chiefs. In theory, the Rams have a lot of talent on defense and should be able to handle a depleted Detroit offense, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt for now.

Meanwhile, there’s nothing wrong with the Rams offensively. It continues to be business as usual for Jared Goff and company. Even when Cooper Kupp was lost to a season-ending injury, Josh Reynolds stepped up and took on a more prominent role so the L.A. offense didn’t skip a beat. On the season, the Rams are scoring 35 points per game. While they could be a little rusty after an extra week off, I’m expecting a strong performance on Sunday.

It should help that the Lions are average defensively, and that’s on a good day. Detroit’s defense hasn’t been particularly good against the run or the pass this year. They’re also struggling to defend once opposing teams reach the red zone. Even when they managed to slow down Chicago’s running game on Thanksgiving, they made Chase Daniel look like a competent starting quarterback, so I don’t have high hopes for the Lions stopping Goff.

For what it’s worth, the Rams have only one win by more than a touchdown since Week 3. Despite all the winning, it’s become a rarity for them to win comfortably. However, this week’s game against the Lions has all the signs of a potential blowout. I don’t think it’s a stretch for the Rams to win by 10-plus points, so I’ll eat the points and lean toward the road favorites.

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