Los Angeles (0-0) at San Francisco (0-0)
When: Monday, September 12th 2016
Where: Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA
Time: 10:20 ET | TV: ESPN
The two worst offenses of 2015 will open up the 2016 on Monday Night Football as the San Francisco 49ers host the Los Angeles Rams. San Francisco did their part to help the offense by hiring Chip Kelly as their head coach. Kelly ran an extreme up-tempo offense in Philadelphia before being fired with one game to go last season amid player discontent. Kelly led the Eagles to 10-win seasons in each of his first two years. Blaine Gabbert won the starting QB job in preseason over Colin Kaepernick, but it was the latter who garnered much of the attention. Kaepernick’s decision not to stand for the national anthem has set the Twitter world on fire the last few weeks. Gabbert threw for 354 yards in a 19-16 win over the Rams last season – one of his three victories in five starts. There are a lot of no-names on offense with WR Torrey Smith being the number one receiver with only 33 catches last season. The defense was average last season, but held opponents to less than 20 points in seven of the eight home games.
After 21 years in St. Louis, the Rams are back in Los Angeles and gave away a boatload of draft picks to Tennessee in order to draft California’s Jared Goff, who will actually start the season as the third-string QB. Case Keenum will get the start for L.A. to begin the season after winning three of his last four starts in 2015. Todd Gurley, who enters his second season, came out of the gates last year and ran for at least 125 yards in each of his first four starts. Gurley ended up with 1,106 yards as teams starting keying on him due to a lack of passing game. The Rams have more talent at wide receiver than the 49ers do including Tavon Austin who caught 52 passes last season and ran for 434 yards as well. The Rams like to line Austin up in the backfield with Gurley at times. The Rams defense must replace defensive end Chris Long and linebacker James Laurinaitis.
Blaine Gabbert vs. Case Keenum on Monday night. Yuck. I have to give the edge to the Rams in this one and the x-factor will be Gurley and Austin. The 49ers will struggled on offense under Chip Kelly until a star or two emerges. I don’t see any weapons on offense for San Francisco. Take the Rams in what could be a sloppy game.
Pick: Rams -2.5