Baltimore Ravens (11-3) vs. San Francisco 49ers (11-3)
Some with tout this contest as a preview of the upcoming Super Bowl, and they could be correct. The Ravens and the 49ers are playing great football right now, although the 49ers get the edge in this one by playing at home. But these Ravens are no slouches. The winner of this game will retain their number one seed for the upcoming playoffs, while the loser falls to 11-4, and will need to fend off other teams to earn the BYE for the first round in the NFL Playoffs.
While the LA Rams have lost to both teams, the Rams played very tough against both teams in those losses. The Rams lost an early game to the 49ers that was decided by one score. The Rams lost a recent game to the Ravens in Baltimore, after pushing the Ravens into overtime.
While many will see the 49ers as the expected winner in this one, I'm not so sure. The 49ers have always struggled with mobile quarterbacks, and the Ravens are led by one of the best in starting quarterback Lamar Jackson. The Ravens need this win more than the 49ers, so look for them to squeak by from a buzzer beating field goal from kicker Justin Tucker.
So, what about the Rams? The LA Rams face a tough finish to the 2023 NFL season no matter how the games play out today. But the Giants may let up a bit if they are eliminated from postseason competition on Christmas Day, and the 49ers may sit starters in Week 18 if they do not have a top-seed to play for to earn a BYE.
We could debate the benefit of whether a Giants team with nothing left to play for is more dangerous. We could also enter a lengthy discussion about the Rams chances in a regular season game against the 49ers. But the Rams must take one game at a time. To be frank, I like the physicality and the resiliency of this LA Rams team right now.
In the end, the Rams can only control the games that they play. Sit back, and enjoy some great NFL today. Merry Christmas to all!