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NFL: Las Vegas Raiders @ Los Angeles Rams preview

The Las Vegas Raiders can extend their winning streak to four with victory against a Los Angeles Raiders team gambling on Baker Mayfield at quarterback.

The Super Bowl champions claimed the former first overall pick off the waiver wire this week in a bid to remain competitive after an injury-hit season that has not gone to plan.

The Rams are 3-9 entering Week 14 and, although a path to the playoffs would still exist if they lose to the surging Raiders, another defeat would close off most realistic chances of a championship repeat. 

What: Las Vegas Raiders @ Los Angeles Rams
Where: SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, California
When: 01:15, Friday 9th December 2022 
How to watch: Sky Sports NFL, NFL Game Pass & Sports Live Streaming
Odds: LV Raiders 5/14, LA Rams 23/10

Rams quarterback carousel isn't stopping

It's not cut and dried that Mayfield takes any snaps on Thursday, despite Rams backup John Wolford having aggravated a neck injury against the Seattle Seahawks last Sunday.

Wolford has started two of the three games in place of Matthew Stafford, who has gone on injured reserve because of his own neck and back issues, apart from when third-stringer Bryce Perkins was given a chance in Week 12.

Perkins could get the nod again if Wolford cannot go because Mayfield is presumably still digesting the intricacies of Sean McVay's offensive playbook.

Clearly, the Rams' quarterback situation is not ideal, but the Raiders have the NFL's 30th-ranked pass defence and it is actually getting worse.

They have allowed over 300 passing yards in each of the past two weeks, although they have won both times - thanks to the performance of their run game and one man in particular.

Raiders climbing the playoff ladder behind Jacobs

Josh Jacobs has been the epitome of a workhorse back over the last few weeks, flying to the top of the NFL's rushing leaders after scampering for 229 yards - a franchise record - in Silver and Black's 40-34 Week 12 win over the Seahawks.

The 24-year-old's average number of rush attempts has gone up from 17.66 across the Raiders' first nine games to 27.66 in the last three.

And the running back, who came up big again on Sunday with 144 ground yards and a touchdown in their 27-20 win over the Los Angeles Chargers, is becoming more productive as a third-down weapon in the passing game too.

It is worth noting that although listed as officially questionable on the Raiders' injury report with a calf/quadriceps issue, Jacobs has been limited in practice each of the past two weeks and tore it up each time.

Take off his combined 453 yards from scrimmage these past two games and put in the sort of numbers another back would have produced and Las Vegas are sat at 3-9 and probably done for the year.

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Lucky Las Vegas have turned the tables 

That's because they are winning games by one-score margins, which bettors often find can be unsustainable over longer periods.

But three weeks ago, Josh McDaniels was sitting on one of the hottest seats in the NFL as his team occupied last place in the AFC West with a 2-7 record.

So there has been a major momentum shift and Las Vegas now play with an identity and maybe even an air of a team who know they are headed in the right direction.

Adams could hang Ramsey out to dry in mouthwatering matchup

Davante Adams is another Raiders playmaker coming off a big week after the wideout had eight receptions for 177 yards with two touchdowns against the Chargers.

His matchup with Rams' cornerback Jalen Ramsey will be worth the admission money alone as neither will back down an inch and there will be plenty of trash-talking throughout the game.

Adams torched Los Angeles' secondary when helping Green Bay pick up wins in the divisional round of the 2020 playoffs and Week 12 of last season.

He is catching Ramsey in a vulnerable moment here as he was beaten by Seattle's D.K. Metcalf for the winning touchdown with 36 seconds remaining on Sunday and the Rams' relative lack of push up front is worrisome.

All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald missed out last week because of an ankle injury and his potential absence here could give Derek Carr a little more time in the pocket.

Points the play as Raiders could find it tough to cover

Both teams' recent struggles on defence and the likely need for Los Angeles to strike back quickly to stop the Raiders running them down suggest backing Over the 43.5 point Total has merit in this spot.

These two don't meet that often but the last two encounters have featured 52 and 46 points respectively. The Raiders are probably being overrated here as -6.5 point favourites on the Spread and their record of covering this year is unconvincing at 6-6.

But the Rams are 3-8-1 against the spread and certainly best left alone this week.

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