The season finale with the Rams is nearing for the 49ers.
Win and get into the playoffs. Lose and get slandered for missing the playoffs.
A ton of pressure is on the 49ers as they should not be in this situation. Luckily, they face a familiar opponent who they have massive success over. The 49ers are currently riding a five game winning streak against the Rams. More importantly, the Rams have a weakness right now.
That weakness is the recent performance of Matthew Stafford. Or rather his real name of late is "turnover machine." Stafford has gifted the football to the opposing team seven times with six of them being interceptions. Right now, there is a vulnerability with Stafford. He is either becoming predictable with his throws or he is simply choking. Whatever the case may be, this is something the 49ers can key in on.
Can the 49ers take advantage of Stafford's interception streak?
They have a decent chance, though it might be tough.
DeMeco Ryans does a fantastic job with his defensive scheme by mixing it up and disguising. That could bait Stafford into throwing an interception. Some of his picks have been inexcusable. And the fact that this game also carries some weighted pressure for the Rams, Stafford could end up feeling that weight. It is not like has played in many high stakes games before.
“Yeah. I think haven't seen anything, just truly situational, to take advantage of it," said Ryans on Stafford's interception streak. "With those turnovers, we know turnovers are a huge part of the game, so I think it's just guys really studying their offense and understanding when can we have those opportunities to make plays on the ball. And guys just have to own their job, be where they supposed to be and I think those opportunities will come. With our mind on the ball, we're attacking the ball with the right mindset and we'll get the ball.”
Quite a vague answer from Ryans, but to be expected. He surely will have something up his sleeve to force Stafford into a turnover frenzy. But the 49ers defense is leaking oil right now. Their secondary was ravaged by COVID-19 this week. Mainly the cornerbacks felt it along with Jimmie Ward who were placed on the COVID list. So all of those players missed out on practice.
Considering the fine details that goes into a gameplan install for a game of this magnitude, missing practice right with a group of players hurts the 49ers. So there can be a good chance they get Stafford to gift them the ball, but also a challenge to do so. Now, secondary players aren't the only ones who can intercept. Fred Warner can easily be a player to do so, but either way it isn't optimal with their secondary missing time.
You just have to wonder if they can win if they don't continue Stafford's interception streak.