The Los Angeles Rams are hitting some high notes of late. They are coming off a surprisingly dominant win over the Denver Broncos in Week 16, 51-14. They have also won two of their last three games. The Rams are hoping to build on that as they try to win the Battle of Los Angeles against the Chargers in Week 17. At 5-10, the Rams have been out of playoff contention for quite some time now, but they have shown some bright spots these last few weeks.

The entry of new QB Baker Mayfield has seemingly injected new energy into the squad, even if the best they can do now is play spoiler. Speaking of which, if the Rams do beat the Chargers here, that could really mess up the playoff seedings in the AFC Playoffs. Now let’s look at our Rams Week 17 predictions as they take on the Chargers.

The Rams and Chargers will face off in the regular season for the first time on Sunday at SoFi Stadium. Led by Mayfield, the Rams will aim to win their third consecutive game against an AFC West team when they take on their cross-town rivals. The Rams are coming off a dominant win over the Broncos, while the Chargers secured a playoff spot with a 20-3 win over the Indianapolis Colts on Monday Night Football.

Take note that this season has not gone according to plan for the Rams, who have lost several key players to injury. Still, they are fighting hard with their fourth starting quarterback. As for the Chargers, they have won four out of their last five games and want to avoid the sixth or seventh seeds in the AFC playoffs. That’s because those seeds would face the Bills, Chiefs, or Bengals in the wild-card round.

With all these in mind, here are our four bold predictions for the Rams in their Week 17 game against the Chargers.

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4. Cobie Durant steps up in the secondary

Rookie Rams CB Cobie Durant had a standout performance in the previous week. He recorded two interceptions for a total of 100 yards and a pick-six. Durant saw a season-high 76 percent of the defensive snaps in Week 16 and is likely to see more playing time in the final two weeks of the season.

In this game, Durant could be tasked with covering Keenan Allen out of the slot. Remember that Allen is often Justin Herbert’s go-to receiver in this position. If Durant has another productive game, it could lead to another strong outing from the defense as a whole. All eyes will be on Jalen Ramsey as he covers Mike Williams, but Durant may have the biggest opportunity to make an impact on the game. We see him stepping up and limiting Allen’s yardage.

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3. Cam Akers gets some big runs

Rams RB Cam Akers had the best game of his career in Week 16. He rushed for 118 yards and scored three touchdowns on 23 carries. Take note that in his last four games, Akers has combined for 285 yards and six touchdowns.

The Rams will need Akers to have another strong performance on Sunday if they hope to defeat the Chargers. Keep in mind that the Chargers have struggled against the run this season. In fact, they allow the second-most rushing yards per game (124) and the most yards per attempt (5.5) to running backs. In order to have a chance against the Chargers, the Rams will need to sustain drives and keep Herbert off the field. This will heavily depend on Akers’ success on the ground. We see him letting off some big runs en route to 75+ yards.

2. Baker Mayfield reaches 230 yards again

The arrival of Baker Mayfield has improved the performance of the Rams. This team previously struggled in multiple aspects of the game. That might be quite surprising for a lot of people, but it’s still a welcome development for Rams fans.

Recall that in Week 16, Mayfield completed 24-of-28 passes for 230 yards and no interceptions. He had tight ends Tyler Higbee and Brycen Hopkins as his leading receivers. Mayfield has led the Rams to two wins in his three games with the team. He has also completed 69 percent of his passes for 571 yards, four touchdowns, and only one interception.

Remember that Mayfield is hoping to secure a starting role for the Rams or another team in the future. He can do that with strong performances in his remaining two games this season. He will be a free agent in 2023. We have him putting up 230+ yards with one touchdown in this game.

1. Rams are brought back to earth by the Chargers

Sunday’s game is more important for the Chargers, but the Rams should not be underestimated. The Chargers are coming off a win against the Colts and may be expected to defeat the Rams by at least a touchdown. However, it may not be a comfortable win.

Again, these Rams have improved with Mayfield as their quarterback. Sure, his inconsistent track record makes it difficult to back the Rams, but they’re more of a threat now than before he came in. While the Chargers are getting healthier and performing well at the right time, the Rams had a strong showing against the Broncos last week. The Rams are heading into this game confident, but ultimately, they will be brought back to earth by the Chargers.