NFL Thursday Night Football: Rams/Patriots Preview

by Alec McMordie

The NFL Thursday night game on Fox is a rematch of Super Bowl LIII where the New England Patriots defeated the Los Angeles Rams by a 13-3 score back on February 3rd, 2019.

The Rams have won three of their last four games with their 38-28 win at Arizona on Sunday as a 2.5-point favorite. That victory, along with Seattle’s 17-12 upset loss to the New York Giants, placed head coach Sean McVay’s team in a tie for first place with the Seahawks with an 8-4 record.

The Rams outgained the Cardinals by +231 yards while having their offense on the field for 38:53 minutes, which afforded them to gain 463 yards. Los Angeles averages 395.3 yards-per-game which is third-best in the NFL. Jared Goff completed 37 of 47 passes for 351 yards with a touchdown and an interception. The quarterback is completing 68.4% of his passes this season for 3372 yards with 17 touchdown passes but also ten interceptions.

Los Angeles held the Cardinals to only 232 yards. The Rams are allowing 20.3 points-per-game while ranking second in the NFL by giving up just 291.6 yards-per-game.

New England has won four of their last five games since November with their 45-0 victory at Los Angeles against the Chargers. The Patriots are still two games behind Miami along with Tennessee and Indianapolis, who all have 8-4 records to set the bar for the final spots in the AFC playoff hunt.

New England gained only 291 yards against the Chargers, but their special teams scored two touchdowns with a 70-yard punt return and a 44-yard blocked field goal. Cam Newton completed 12 of 19 passes for only 69 yards, yet he did have a touchdown pass without an interception. Newton added another 48 rushing yards with two more touchdowns on the ground. He has completed 66.7% of his passes in his first year in New England for 2053 yards but with only five touchdown passes and nine interceptions. Newton has rushed for 435 yards with 11 touchdowns.

The Patriots are averaging 342.3 yards-per-game which is 22nd in the league. Their 150.9 rushing yards-per-game average is the third-best mark. They are holding their opponents to 344.6 yards-per-game, which is the 12th best in the NFL.

Both of these teams are relatively healthy, with neither team having a player sidelined from practice on Tuesday. The Patriots did have 14 players take part in limited practice sessions on Tuesday with three players from the Rams under similar practice constraints.

New England has 11 players either on Injured Reserve or who are out indefinitely to injury, including left tackle Isaiah Wynn, running back Rex Burkhead, wide receiver Julian Edelman, and defensive tackle Beau Allen. Los Angeles has ten players on IR or out indefinitely, most notably left tackle Andrew Whitworth, linebacker Micah Kiser, and safety Taylor Rapp.

BookMaker lists the Rams as a 6-point favorite with the total set at 44.5. Kickoff is at 8:20 PM ET.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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