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NFL Week 3 TNF pick: Rams should bounce back and cover vs. 49ers

The Los Angeles Rams defense makes a tackle

The Los Angeles Rams defense makes a tackle during the first half of a game, Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017, in Los Angeles. Credit: AP / Kelvin Kuo

RAMS (1-1) AT 49ERS (0-2), 8:30 p.m.

TV: NFL; Radio: WFAN

Rams by 2.5; O/U: 39,5

When the NFL’s two youngest coaches, Sean McVay and Kyle Shanahan, were growing up, Thursday nights were appointment TV. A must-see lineup highlighted by “Seinfeld.” After last week’s snoozefest in Cincinnati, here’s hoping this week’s edition of Thursday Night Football isn’t a show about nothing.

McVay, at 31 the youngest coach in NFL history, and Shanahan, 37, lead a pair of young teams in an NFC West matchup. Both squads are coming off losses, the Rams a 27-20 letdown at home against the Redskins and the 49ers a 12-9 surprisingly tight contest in Seattle.

The 49ers are one of only two teams in the NFL yet to score a touchdown. Their 21 offensive series this season have resulted in 11 punts, four field goals, three turnovers on downs, two interceptions and a fumble. No wonder Shanahan reportedly has been sleeping at the office this week in preparation for the quick turnaround game (George Costanza could give him a few tips on desk napping).

South of San Francisco, Los Angeles’ offense has had more success. After a dominant win on both sides of the ball in Week 1, though, the Rams looked lackadaisical with a capital LA. Washington torched the defense for 229 rushing yards. That kind of performance won’t sit well with Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips who, by the way, at 70 is older than McVay and Shanahan combined. Expect Phillips to address the issues and for the Rams to contain Carlos Hyde and make Brian Hoyer beat them.

The short week makes Thursday night games tough to predict. If the 49ers were to put up 24 points after totaling just 12 in the first two weeks, it wouldn’t be all that surprising. The safer bet, though, is the Rams. McVay and Phillips will use last week’s setback as a learning experience, and Jared Goff and Todd Gurley should be able to do enough to earn the win and cover. But remember, unless you’re in a weekly pool where you have to pick each game, the best advice is to skip this one . . . and hang with friends at the local diner.

The pick: Rams

Staff picks

Bob Glauber: 49ers

Tom Rock: Rams

Calvin Watkins: Rams

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