Rams @ 49ers Odds and Predictions
Point Spread: Rams -3
Analysis: If last week was not a must-win game for the 49ers, this week certainly is. With a record of 2-3, everything is at stake regarding the 2020 season. A win would provide a glimmer of hope in relation to making a postseason push, while a loss would indicate it may be time to turn the page and look ahead to the 2021 offseason.
Meanwhile, the 4-1 Rams are not so desperate for a win. Regardless of the outcome, they will still find themselves in an ideal position to make the playoffs. But make no mistake, the Sean McVay led team will be ready to go for their first divisional matchup of the year.
For the second consecutive week, the 49ers offense will feature their ideal starting lineup. After an abysmal 17-point performance against the Dolphins, the Niners should be hungry to show that their offense is still elite when at full strength.
The Rams' defense is giving up 4.7 yards per carry, which ranks 23rd in the NFL. This is an area the 49ers must exploit if they want any chance at winning this game, as they’re averaging 5 yards per carry - the sixth-best mark in the league. Raheem Mostert leads all running backs with a 7 yards per attempt average, while Jerick McKinnon is fifth with 5.5.
Kyle Shanahan must commit to running the football this game, and utilizing the run to set up the pass. This is not a game where the team should frequently drop back Jimmy Garoppolo and have him throw the football. The Rams have the second-best pass defense so far this season, and are also averaging the second-most sacks per game.
Flipping things around, the Rams’ offense matches up very well against the 49ers’ defense. Even with Emmanuel Moseley returning to the starting lineup, the skill position players the Rams feature could very easily overwhelm the 49ers’ secondary. Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp, the Rams top two receivers, have combined for 51 receptions, 663 yards, and four touchdowns. Tight ends Gerald Everett and Tyler Higbee have combined for 23 receptions, 307 yards, and 3 touchdowns.
Simply put, if this is a game where the 49ers make a strong effort to run the ball and control the time of possession battle, then this game favors them. On the other hand, if the 49ers fall behind and have to throw the ball, this game completely favors the Rams.
Spread Prediction: The 49ers cover +3.
The 49ers have not lost four consecutive home games since 2017, Shanahan’s first season coaching the team. A fourth consecutive home loss and a third consecutive loss in general would absolutely make this a lost season.
For that reason, I expect Shanahan to rally his troops and get them to perform at their 2019 level. Shanahan will abide by the ground game, and ultimately keep the defense fresh so that they’re at their best each snap they go up against the Rams offense.
I’m expecting to see Mostert, McKinnon, Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk all heavily used in the ground game. This should not be a busy day for Garoppolo, and that favors the 49ers. But when Garoppolo is asked to make throws, he needs to make them. The next month and a half could seriously determine whether or not he’s this team’s quarterback in 2021. Doing his part in beating the Rams would be the first step in that direction.
Over/Under Prediction: Over
Through five weeks, three of the 49ers matchups have exceeded their over/under total, while only two games have gone over for the Rams.
Looking at this matchup, neither team should have a hard time scoring points on one another. The 49ers should be able to run the ball at will, and the Rams should be able to throw the ball at will. I see this game going over.
When it’s all said and done, I like the 49ers to pull off the home upset.
Final Score Prediction: Rams 24 - 49ers 30
All 49ers Sports Illustrated Writers Predictions:
LAR -3 / SF +3
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