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NFL Free Pick: Rams vs Raiders

September 10, 2018

Week 1 of the NFL regular season comes to an end with Monday Night Football. One of the two games for opening week of the regular season on Monday features the Los Angeles Rams visiting the Oakland Raiders.

The current line on top sportsbooks has the Rams (-4.5) favored with the over/under point total at 47.5.

Oakland will be tasked with trying to stop one of the NFL’s most explosive offenses and trying to find its own offense at the same time.

Oakland traded away its best defensive player Khalil Mack, who played on Sunday for his new team the Chicago Bears. The Raiders defense is going to have a hard time trying to stop Rams quarterback Jared Goff and his array of weapons from running back Todd Gurley II to new wide receiver Brandin Cooks.

Los Angeles was able to re-sign its top defensive player Aaron Donald to a contract extension last week. The defensive tackle will play on Monday. Donald leads all defensive tackles in the NFL in quarterback sacks the last four seasons with 39.

Goff led the Rams to the best scoring average last season in the NFL at 29.9 points a game and has Gurley to lead the running game. Last season Gurley rushed for 1,305 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Backup center Austin Blythe will start in place of guard Jamon Brown for the Rams while Brown serves a two-game suspension to start the season.

Rams linebacker Mark Barron sat out of practice last Thursday with an ankle problem and is marked as questionable for Monday’s season opener.

Oakland’s talented quarterback Derek Carr passed for 3,495 yards and 22 touchdowns in 2017. One of Carr’s top receivers Michael Crabtree is no longer with the Raiders, but Amari Cooper returns and Oakland added veteran Jordy Nelson, who made life easier for Aaron Rodgers for many seasons with Green Bay.

Marshawn Lynch did not practice much on Thursday due to a sore groin and may only see limited action at running back for the Raiders. However, Doug Martin, who played for Tampa Bay for several seasons and rushed for 1,400-plus yards in a season twice during his career, is a capable replacement.

On defense, the Raiders have moved linebacker Bruce Irvin to defensive end to make up for the loss of Mack. The defense is also counting on rookies Arden Key, P.J. Hall and Maurice Hurst as well as Tank Carradine who was signed during the offseason.

Prediction: The Rams offense will be too much for a Raiders defense that is still a work in progress. Rams win 28-20. Want to bet it? Check out our top rated sportsbooks.