Rams favored to sink surging Patriots’ playoff hopes

The New England Patriots have won four of their past five games to cling to the fringe of playoff contention in the AFC, and they face another crucial game at the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday night.

The Rams (8-4) have taken back first place in the NFC West with three wins in the past four weeks. This is also a key game for Los Angeles, with a contest against the winless New York Jets next week ahead of season-ending games against the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals that could determine the division winner.

Meanwhile, the 6-6 Patriots face division rivals Miami and Buffalo, who are still battling for the AFC East title, in the next two weeks. New England’s upcoming three opponents have a combined 25-11 record, and if they get through that obstacle still in playoff contention, will close against the Jets.

Rams favored, bettors split at BetRivers

The Rams are being offered as +205 favorites by BetRivers, with 53 percent of the total money wagered on the moneyline backing Los Angeles. The action is even more split on the spread handle, where 51 percent is backing the Rams as 5-point favorites.

BetRivers set the over/under at 45.5 points, with 81 percent of the handle backing the over as of Thursday morning.

Interestingly, this marks the first meeting between the teams since New England beat Los Angeles 13-3 in Super Bowl LIII. Rams quarterback Jared Goff completed just 19 of 38 passes for 229 yards with an interception that day.

Jared Goff, Trey Flowers
Jared Goff failed to throw a touchdown pass in the Rams’ 13-3 loss to the Patriots in Super Bowl LIII. (Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports)

Los Angeles enters Thursday’s contest with the NFL’s third-ranked offense (395.3 yards per game) and sixth-ranked passing offense (271.2)

The Patriots are only 2-4 on the road this season, with their two wins coming against the Jets and 3-9 Los Angeles Chargers. New England stayed in Los Angeles and worked out at UCLA following their 45-0 shutout of the Chargers last week.

Ram-tough at SoFi Stadium

Meanwhile, the Rams have dropped just one of their first five home games — a 23-20 setback against division-rival San Francisco on Nov. 29.

Los Angeles boasts the league’s second-ranked defense (291.3) and third-ranked rush defense (93.1).

All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald likely will have his eyes locked on Patriots quarterback Cam Newton, who accounted for three touchdowns (two rushing, one passing) against the Chargers.

–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)