49ers-Rams Line Changes Dramatically with Key L.A. Starters Resting

Matthew Jordan

Thursday, December 28, 2017 2:28 PM UTC

Thursday, Dec. 28, 2017 2:28 PM UTC

There are several games in Week 17 of the NFL season with playoff ramifications. However, 49ers-Rams isn’t one of them – yet it still has the biggest line move of them all.

If you were planning on betting on the red-hot San Francisco 49ers to win at the NFC West champion Los Angeles Rams in Week 17, here’s hoping you got the Niners very early in the week when they were 6-point underdogs. Now San Francisco is a 3.5-point favorite and climbing because Rams coach Sean McVay, the NFL Coach of the Year lock, has decided to rest his best players.

Los Angeles is going to be either the No. 3 or 4 seed and host a game on wild-card weekend, so McVay figures there’s no point risking injury in this meaningless matchup. Quarterback Jared Goff and running back Todd Gurley aren’t playing. That actually could cost Gurley the MVP Award and NFL rushing title. He has 1,305 yards with Kansas City’s Kareem Hunt at 1,292 and Pittsburgh’s Le’Veon Bell at 1,291 – although it’s possible both Hunt and Bell sit too as their teams are locked into playoff seeds. Gurley will be the touchdown leader for the season regardless as he has 19 of them, six more than anyone else.

Sean Mannion will start at quarterback for Goff. McVay also has announced he’s resting left tackle Andrew Whitworth, center John Sullivan and NFL Defensive Player of the Year candidate Aaron Donald – he has a career-high-tying 11 sacks. Left guard Rodger Saffold and inside linebackers Alec Ogletree and Mark Barron, all of whom have been dealing with injuries, probably won't play, either. Many other starters are likely to be pulled early.

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Who Will the #LARams Play on Wild Card Weekend? 🤔

Read 📰 » https://t.co/yzucrVjanu pic.twitter.com/P2p9MHJRcN

— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) December 28, 2017

The 49ers should play everyone who is healthy as they want to maintain momentum heading into next season. They are 4-0 since inserting trade acquisition Jimmy Garoppolo into the starting lineup, and he has been one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks since then. One negative of Jimmy G’s stellar play: the Niners once were in the running for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 draft but probably fall out of the Top 10 with a victory here. Currently they would pick eighth.

In Week 3, the Rams and Niners played one of the most entertaining games of 2017, a 41-39 Los Angeles victory on a Thursday night. Brian Hoyer was the San Francisco QB that night.

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