The LA Rams take on their most-despised rival, the SF 49ers in what is the most pivotal matchup yet. Both teams are at a crossroads with the Rams ascending in the NFC and the 49ers trying to stop sliding out of the playoff picture.
Rams safety Jordan Fuller and EDGE rusher Obo Okoronkwo will miss the game after getting injured against Washington, but the Rams are deep at both positions with Taylor Rapp and Terrell Lewis ready to step in. The 49ers who have been bit by the injury bug might be without K’Won Alexander and Dontae Johnson.
The Rams are looking for revenge after being swept by SF last year. In fact, the Rams experienced their worst 2019 defeat at the hands of the 49ers (7-20) in week six.
Both teams share very similar offensive philosophies in terms of utilizing the outside zone running scheme, where the Rams run it 45% of the time compared to the 49ers 39%. Both teams love play action (Rams are 1st – SF is 6th), motion (Rams 8th – SF 6th) and leverage yards after catch (YAC) with the Rams at 7.3 vs SF at 6.0.
If the 49ers want to have a shot to win, they need to solve the problem that is Aaron Donald. The 49ers offensive line have allowed 18 sacks this season, ranking fourth worst in the NFL. On paper, their line isn’t that bad, but poor communication has allowed opposing pass rushes to get home. Donald has to be salivating at the opportunity to increase his dominance over San Francisco. He has 11.5 sacks in 11 games played against SF, 14 tackles for a loss. Donald has 8.5 sacks in his last four games against the 49ers.
On the other side, the 49ers pass rush has not been effective. The Rams offensive line can win the battle and keep Jared Goff clean as the only real pass rush threat is Arik Armstead. Goff is 3-3 against SF with 12 touchdowns and three interceptions in his career. The 49ers depleted secondary can be picked apart, which Goff should do with ease considering the lack of pressure he’ll face.
Rivalry games within the division are always hard and even though the Rams have the advantage, it will be close. Rams win 27-17.