2023 NFL picks, score predictions for Week 18

NFL picks and score predictions for Week 18 of the 2023-24 season.

NFL picks
NFL picks / Timothy T Ludwig/GettyImages
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Los Angeles Rams (9-7) @ San Francisco 49ers (12-4)

Sunday, January 7, 4:25 PM ET

The Los Angeles Rams have clinched a playoff spot this year, and that’s exciting for the NFL. The playoffs without the Rams would be a little less fun.

The Rams won the Super Bowl during the 2021 season thanks to the acquisition of Matthew Stafford, the dominance of Cooper Kupp offensively and Aaron Donald defensively, and the mid-season additions of players like Von Miller and Odell Beckham Jr.

Sean McVay once again has his team playing well, but with a completely different looking roster. How good is McVay as a head coach? He has already taken two very different rosters to the Super Bowl. He’s got a Super Bowl win. Now, he’s got a chance to get to another with one of the youngest rosters in the league.

They’re on the road this week against the San Francisco 49ers who are still fighting for that top seed in the NFC. The Dallas Cowboys are nipping at their heels and there are a handful of other teams that could jump into the mix this week. The 49ers have a lot to play for, but I think this game is much more complicated than just straight-up picking the team with the better overall record.

I do think the 49ers are the better club overall, but it speaks volumes to the quality of this Rams team that the early betting line is only set at 4.5 points in favor of the 49ers. The Rams are being taken seriously after winning six out of seven games coming out of the bye week. Can they stay hot here?

I think the 49ers get one more wake-up call before the playoffs in this one.

Prediction: Rams win 33-31