The NFL season is officially underway, with the Denver Broncos defeating the Carolina Panthers on Thursday Night Football by a final score of 21-20. The Panthers had a chance to win it late, but Graham Gano pulled a 50-yard field goal wide in the closing seconds.
That was just the appetizer for Sunday and Monday, with 13 games scheduled for Sunday, and two in the now annual Week 1 Monday Night Football doubleheader. That MNF doubleheader is kind of a big deal once again this year, with the San Francisco 49ers playing in the late game. They host the Los Angeles Rams in the renewal of their California rivalry.
The 49ers are a 2.5-point underdog on Monday, and opinions right now seem mixed, but leaning toward the Rams. I’ve pulled up a grab bag of "NFL experts" to see what people are thinking. For specific score predictions, it’s mostly the Rams. For just general winner/loser picks, it’s also a notable edge to the Rams. Out of 39 just straight picks listed without a score, 15 picked the 49ers.
I strongly believe the 49ers can win this game outright. Turnovers could be a huge difference-maker in this one, with both defenses in position to take advantage of questionable offenses. Count me as optimistic that the young defensive front, with Tank Carradine getting some edge setting the tone early in the pass rush, and creating plenty of disturbance for Case Keenum. I think we see a low scoring game (bet the UNDER!), and the 49ers get just enough from Carlos Hyde and the offense.
Here are some picks and predictions for the 49ers Week 1 matchup with the Los Angeles Rams.
SB Nation: 4 out of 10 pick 49ers
ESPN: 3 out of 10 pick 49ers
CBS Sports: 3 out of 8 pick 49ers
FOXSports.com: 3 out of 6 pick 49ers
USA Today: 2 out of 5 pick 49ers
Elliott Harrison, NFL.com: Rams 22, 49ers 20
Greg Cote, Miami Herald: Rams 19, 49ers 10
Dennis Manoloff, The Plain Dealer: 49ers 20, Rams 13
Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: Rams 19, 49ers 16
Neil Greenberg, Washington Post: Rams cover -2.5
Pro Football Talk: MDS Rams 24-14, Florio Rams 17-10
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