Monday Night Football best bets: Rams at Packers
Deep Dive: The VSiN staff closes out NFL Week 15 with its best bets for Monday night’s Rams-Packers game.
The frozen tundra of Lambeau Field will live up to its name on a cold night in Green Bay for the Los Angeles Rams vs. Green Bay Packers Week 15 finale. Baker Mayfield and the Rams are getting a touchdown head start against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in a game between two teams with no playoff hopes and a lot of questions for the future. See what our analysts had to say about this matchup.
Odds are from DraftKings (unless noted) as of Sunday night.
Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET
Dave Tuley: Baker Mayfield didn’t start the Thursday Night Football game against the Raiders after just one practice with the Rams, but it looks like he’ll be starting Monday night at Lambeau Field.
Now, I’m not saying all the Rams’ problems are solved, but the fact remains that the Packers are still also having a major down season and shouldn’t be favored by this many points against just about anyone. They’re just 2-2 SU and 1-3 ATS this season as favorites of 7 points or more (and if Justin Fields’ QB sneak had been given the TD it deserved, the Packers probably would have failed to cover in that game, too).
The Rams have struggled this season with injuries at every position, especially the offensive line and Super Bowl heroes Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp. But even a makeshift backfield (led now by Cam Akers?) should have success against the Packers’ porous run defense– they are ranked No. 30 in average rushing yards allowed per game (154.) and average yards per rush (5.0)–along with Mayfield getting to know his receivers more.
Pick: Rams +7
Adam Burke: For a team that desperately needed a pick-me-up, an unlikely source provided exactly that. Baker Mayfield, claimed on waivers two days before Thursday Night Football against the Raiders, led an eight-play, 98-yard drive to come away with a 17-16 win to snap a six-game losing streak.
When the Rams signed Mayfield, some bloggers had their Spidey senses tingling, as Sean McVay is a pretty good coach to work with high-round picks that have talent, but maybe haven’t had the best situations. Jared Goff went from completely lost in 2016 to a Pro Bowler in both 2017 and 2018. Matthew Stafford won a Super Bowl last season. Baker has shown flashes throughout his career, but this may be a spot for him to experience a career rebirth.
Will that translate this week? Well, Mayfield has had more time to dig into the playbook, but he also profiles as a guy that may be better when he can just go out there and let his instincts take over rather than overthinking it. He was 22-of-35 for 230 yards with two exceptional drives and a lot of ugly play in between. He was sacked four times and the Rams only managed 4.6 yards per play against one of the league’s worst defenses.
On the positive side, the Rams shut down a Raiders offense that had been humming along. Davante Adams only had 71 yards on three catches and one of them was a ridiculous one-handed grab. The Raiders had all of 67 yards of offense in the second half. It was a huge effort from a Rams defense that had remained steady against the run, but had issues against the pass.
Neither one of these teams is having the season that was expected, but the Packers tend to play a lot of close games. They’ve fallen on the wrong side of a few and the right side of a few, but winning by margin seems like a tall ask. They won by nine last week for their second win of the season by more than a field goal, but got badly outgained and largely won by virtue of being +3 in turnover margin. It was Green Bay’s first game this season with more than three takeaways.
The Rams should keep this close on a very cold night at Lambeau Field.
Pick: Rams +7