Thursday, September 26, 2013

I Ching Thursday Night Pick: Niners/ Rams Grudge Match

49ers @ Rams +3.5

Hexagram 12: Stagnation

After Colin Kaepernick outdueled Aaron Rodgers in Week, it looked like the 49ers would have a seamless transition into a more pass heavy offense built around the unique talents of their young quarterback. They have continued to chuck it the last two games, but to lesser results, scoring just ten points total in their pair of recent defeats. The lack of playmaking receivers to facilitate such an attack hurts, and they have shown weaknesses in areas that were usually strengths in San Francisco. The offensive line has given up eight sacks, which puts them in the bottom half of the league in that regard. Pass rusher Aldon Smith will be gone indefinitely and already they are ranked just 29th in the league against the run so far. I wrote last week that through injuries and letting guys go their trademark depth and "next man up" approach will be severely tested early this year. They failed that test and things have only gotten worse since then. They have an offense that is struggling to score points and a defense that no one is afraid of anymore.

All the signs point to their struggles continuing tonight. The Rams won one game and tied one against their division rival last year, outscoring them 40-37 over a maximum ten quarters of play. San Francisco is travelling on a short week and playing in a Thursday night atmosphere known for its sloppiness and lack of crisp execution. Whatever it is ailing the Niners, I don't expect them to find an answer in time for this game. St. Louis has problems of their own, but considering how close these teams have played each other in recent history and the "Thursday Night Ugly Game" factor, I like the home underdog.

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