Dr. Bob Previews 49ERS (-9.5) Vs. LIONS
The 49ers should be able to rebound from their heart-breaking loss at Minnesota with a comfortable victory over the winless Rams. San Francisco is a better than average team that has gained and allowed 4.8 yards per play against a tougher than average schedule of teams (Arizona, Seattle, Minnesota).
San Francisco's offense is actually about 5 points and 1.0 yppl worse than average without star RB Frank Gore, who is worth about 3 points, but the Rams' defense has allowed 6.2 yppl against a schedule of teams that would average 5.4 yppl against an average defensive team, so the Niners are only at a slight disadvantage when they have the ball.
San Francisco's big edge in this game is when the Rams have the ball, as I rate the St. Louis offense at 0.7 yppl worse than average while the Niners' stingy defense rates at 0.5 yppl better than average. Kyle Boller may be better than injured Rams' quarterback Marc Bulger at getting the ball down the field, but Boller is also interception prone while the Niners' Shaun Hill is not.
My math model projects San Francisco with a 5.4 yppl to 4.1 yppl advantage in this game to go along with a +0.7 edge in projected turnovers and a 1 point edge in special teams.
My ratings favor San Francisco by 11 1/2 points overall even with Gore out and I'll lean with San Francisco minus the points.
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