If you read this column regularly (God bless your soul), then you’re well aware that my bold predictions are like shots in the dark aimed in the opposite direction. That being said, he’s a prediction from last week:
Last week, the Broncos failed to contain the New York Jets’ running backs in space, allowing them to get to the second level, eventually amassing 323 yards on the ground. RB Todd Gurley II thrives in situations llike this, which makes him destined to rush for over 200 yards and five touchdowns.
The five touchdowns was too bold, but RB Todd Gurley II had never ran for 200+ yards, so I’m just going to say what we’re all thinking: the Rams fans are Todd Gurley’s muse.
But now the Los Angeles Rams travel to Santa Clara where the hated San Francisco 49ers pretend that they’re still in San Francisco. Most of the Rams fans are picking the Rams to stomp all over the Niners even though it’s their third road game and San Francisco didn’t look horrible vs. the Packers last week. So, what’s going to happen?
Let’s get bold.
Bryce Hager has himself a day
LB Bryce Hager is one of those classic underdog players that is training harder than other players at his skill level. Basically, Hager is a hustle guy for Coach Bones. I like the kid and I’m boldly predicting that he’ll have two, count ‘em two, huge plays on special teams. One of these plays will be a blocked punt and the other will be a fumble recovery. This will happen. Trust me.
Greg Zuerlein comes up big with a game winner
How I’ve missed Greg the Leg. How many bowls of nachos were thrown across a living room due to the inadequate kicking skills of Sam Ficken and Cairo Santos? Too many to count. But this Sunday, Zuerlein will mark his return by breaking the hearts of the tech bros in attendance when he nails a 55-yard kick to take the lead. Yes, my sub-bold prediction is that the game will be too close for comfort in the 4th quarter. I’m just saying that a bold prediction is that the Niners hang with the Rams until the last five minutes when Jared Goff and Todd Gurley take over. Then, good ol’ Zuerlein will drive it home with his newly constructed groin (probably not the technical term, but my medical knowledge is limited to having watched four seasons of Scrubs.)
A pick 6 for fan favorite Cory Littleton
ILB Cory Littleton was talked about a lot in the offseason due to his “unknown factor” that is quickly eroding because the dude can ball. So, yeah, he’s gonna intercept a weak C.J. Beathard passing attempt and then he’s going to trot over 60 yards for a glorious touchdown.
With Cooper Kupp out, the tight ends emerge and dominate
It’s crazy how many snaps TE Tyler Higbee has gotten this season while barely getting noticed by anyone. He’s the Patrick Swayze in Ghost of offensive skill players.
And while TE Gerald Everett has shown his ability for splash plays, he hasn’t nearly reached his potential. And with a week to implement a game plan without the services of slot receiver Cooper Kupp, I predict that Coach McVay will go back to his first love: an offensive scheme that generosity dishes out passes to two tight ends. Both Higbee and Young Gerald will amass over a hundred yards in receptions as they make a statement that these guys are good; it’s just that WR Brandin Cooks, WR Robert Woods, and WR Cooper Kupp are really good.
Jared Goff will throw for over 400 yards and 3 TDs
When I make my report card for the Rams on Sunday night, I’m betting that I will be giving the Mighty Goff an A+ for his efforts. And a bonus prediction: he’ll score another perfect QB rating.
Similar to last week’s game, the Rams are going to find themselves in a competitive matchup. C.J. Beathard can make plays and given that he’s going up against the best team in the NFL, I’m predicting that he’ll rack up some gaudy stats, but in the end, the Rams’ defense will clamp down with some clutch stops. The Rams are the team to beat, but it won't be this week in Santa Clara, California. Rams win — 41-38.