Week 14 of the NFL kickoffs with the New England Patriots (6-6, 2-4 away) facing the Los Angeles Rams (8-4, 4-1 home) on Thursday Night Football. This will be the first meeting between the two teams since they met in Super Bowl LIII. Kickoff is at 8:20 p.m. EST at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, CA. The Rams are a 5-point home favorite in the cross-division battle.
What to Know – New England Patriots
The Patriots are one of the hottest teams in the NFL, having won four of their last five contests, including a 45-0 blowout of the Los Angeles Chargers last Sunday in the same stadium they will be playing in Thursday night. New England still maintains an outside chance at the postseason with four weeks to play.
Cam Newton completed 12-of-19 passes for 69 yards and a score and added 14 carries for 48 yards and two touchdowns rushing. With the game in hand, Newton was replaced in the second half for Jarrett Stidham, who finished 2-for-3 for 61 yards and a score.
Damien Harris carried the ball 16 times for 80 yards to pace the Patriots’ rushing attack. Sony Michel chipped in ten touches for 35 yards and one catch for 23.
N’Keal Harry caught two passes for 15 yards and a touchdown, and Gunner Olszewski hauled in one catch for a score and returned a punt 70 yards for a touchdown.
The Patriots defense held the Chargers to just 70 yards rushing and intercepted rookie quarterback Justin Herbert twice.
What to Know – Los Angeles Rams
Los Angeles bounced back last Sunday with a 38-28 victory over the Arizona Cardinals after dropping a road contest to the San Francisco 49ers (23-20) the week prior. The Rams are tied atop the NFC West standings with the Seattle Seahawks.
Jared Goff attempted 47 passes, completing 37 of them for 351 yards and one touchdown. The signal-caller added a quarterback sneak to start the fourth quarter, his third rushing touchdown of the season.
Rookie running back Cam Akers carried the ball a career-high 21 times for 72 yards and his second rushing touchdown of the season. Darrell Henderson Jr. added three rushes for 49 yards, including a 38-yard go-ahead score in the fourth quarter.
Robert Woods hauled in ten of his 11 targets for 85 yards, while Cooper Kupp secured eight of his nine looks for 73 yards. The two wideouts combined for nearly half the targets from Goff.
The Pick is In
The Patriots have looked like a different team over the last month of play and have given themselves a shot to punch their ticket to the postseason. Los Angeles continues to impress with a suffocating defense and balanced offensive approach. The Patriots took care of the other LA team and stayed on the West Coast to prepare for this one. This should be a close matchup pitting two quality coaches against each other, but we give the edge to Coach Bill Belichick and the Patriots.
The Pick: Patriots +5