2021 NFL picks, score predictions for Week 18

The Indianapolis Star
The Indianapolis Star /
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NFL picks and predictions
NFL picks and predictions – Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images /

San Francisco 49ers (9-7) at Los Angeles Rams (12-4)

Sunday, January 9, 4:25PM ET

If you think the Los Angeles Rams are going to roll over and give this one to the San Francisco 49ers, it’s time to think again. There’s plenty to gain (or really, lose) by dropping this game, so you better prepare for the Rams to bring everything they’ve got to this NFC West party.

The Rams currently own the No. 2 seed but could fall as far as No. 5 if they fall to the 49ers. That could also entail them relinquishing the division title to the Arizona Cardinals if they’re victorious. Seeing as it’s riding a five-game winning streak and looking like one of the top contenders in the NFC (despite Matthew Stafford‘s turnovers), I’m confident in Los Angeles.

With that said, the 49ers have a lot riding on this as well. They’re the owners of the only NFC playoff spot that isn’t locked up. If they win, they’re in. If they lose, they will be sent packing early if the New Orleans Saints win. So don’t think for a second San Francisco is taking this one lightly.

In the end, though, I see the Rams getting the win as their defense dominates and Stafford avoids making too many mistakes. Cooper Kupp breaks a couple more receiving records, and the 49ers wait to see whether or not the Saints can defeat the Atlanta Falcons on the road.

Prediction: Rams win 31-25 | Spread: Rams (-5)