It’s a rematch of the NFC Championship game, division rivals and Monday Night Football.
Storylines are plentiful as the 2-1 Los Angeles Rams go up the road to take on the 1-2 San Francisco 49ers at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. The Rams are looking to build on two straight wins, which included a dramatic victory over the Atlanta Falcons and a solid performance over the Arizona Cardinals. The reigning Super Bowl champs haven’t set the world on fire, but they do lead the division.
The 49ers’ off-season was all about grooming new quarterback Trey Lance and moving on from Jimmy Garoppolo. Then at the last minute, the 49ers resigned Garoppolo and Lance broke his ankle in Week 2 so the 49ers are stuck with Garoppolo but saying all the right things…unless you lip read.
These two franchises have been playing forever. This will be their fourth meeting in the last 14 months.
How To Watch
Kickoff: 5:15 p.m. local time
Screens: ESPN and the ESPN app; ESPN 2 will show the “Manning Cast.”
Announcers: Joe Buck and Troy Aikman on the main broadcast. Peyton and Eli Manning watch the game, tease each other, have guests with bad sound on the Manning Cast.
What Do the Oddmakers Say?
DraftKings and Caesars each list the 49ers as 1.5-point favorites and the over/under at 42.5. The Rams have moved up the Caesars board and are the sixth choice to win the Super Bowl at +1400. The Niners are twelfth. Aaron Donald remains fourth for Defensive Player of the Year and Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp is now 15th to be NFL MVP at +8000.
Key Numbers – Spread Talking
This is the fourth game – out of four – that the Niners have been favored this season. They are 1-2 against the spread. Last season, the 49ers were 13-7 against the spread.
The Rams are underdogs for the second time this year. They are also 1-2 against the spread. During their Super Bowl season, the Rams were 10-11 against the spread.
Three of the last five meetings between the two teams have been decided by three points.
Key Numbers – Talking It Over
The trend in the NFL so far in 2022 is to take the under. Points have been down.
Two of the Rams’ three games hit the under, and all three of the 49ers games also hit the under. No Forty-Niner game this season has come close to 42.5 points. They’ve all been well under that figure.
Whether it’s been Garoppolo or Lance, the 49ers passing game has been the pits. San Francisco ranks 30th in the NFL in passing yards, but sixth in rushing.
The Rams running game has been terrible. They have just 217 yards on the ground (less than Cooper Kupp has in total) and rank 31st in the NFL. The passing game is middle of the pack at 15.
Defensively though, both teams are at the top. The 49ers defense ranks third in points allowed and tops in pass defense. The Rams defense ranks ninth in rushing yards allowed.
Last Five Meetings
This is one of the oldest West Coast rivalries in the NFL. San Francisco leads the all-time series 75-68 with three ties. The 49ers have won six of the last seven meetings.
2022 NFC Championship Game – Rams 20, 49ers 17: Rams fans remember this one fondly. Matthew Stafford led a comeback from 17-7 down, Matt Gay kicked a field goal with 1:46 left. Travin Howard picked off Garoppolo and the Rams went to the Super Bowl.
2021 Week 18 – 49ers 27, Rams 24 OT: This was the game before the game. The 49ers needed a win to make the playoffs and they came back from 17-0 down. Robbie Gould made a FG in overtime after the Niners scored with 26 seconds left in regulation to tie it. Deebo Samuel had big game.
2021 Week 10 – 49ers 31, Rams 10: It was Monday Night Football and the Niners were reeling after losing four out of five. They got right against the Rams, running for 156 yards and Jimmie Ward had an early Pick Six to set the tone.
2020 Week 11 – 49ers 23, Rams 20: Nick Mullens was quarterback for the Niners and he led two late scoring drives to steal one from the Rams. Gould made 42-yard field goal at the gun. San Francisco became the first road team to win a game at SoFi Stadium.
2020 Week 6 – 49ers 24, Rams 16: Garoppolo threw three first-half touchdown passes. George Kittle had seven catches for 109 yards and the Niners got a big early-season win.
Are You Ready For Monday Night?
The Rams are 33-34 on Mondays all time and 4-1 in their last five Monday Night Football appearances. The Niners are 50-29 on Mondays but 2-3 in their last five Monday Night games.
Not surprisingly, these two have played 11 times on Monday Night Football over the years. The Niners are 7-4 in those games and won the last three meetings in 2021, 2016 and 2014.
The Rams officially put wide receiver Van Jefferson on injured reserve, but hope to get him back this season. The secondary is banged up with Derion Kendrick, Jordan Fuller and David Long Jr. listed as questionable. Keep and eye on whether or not Rams center Brian Allen returns to the line-up.
The Niners are a bit healthier, but will be without superstar tackle Trent Williams who hurt his ankle in the loss to the Broncos.
The Key Match-Up
The NFL is all about match-ups and while the Rams always seem to solve the Cardinals, the 49ers always seem to solve the Rams. Six wins in the last seven is no fluke. The 49ers have found success running the ball right at the Rams defense over the years and for whatever reason Garoppolo always seems to play well against L.A. If the 49ers have success running the ball, they should win.