The Los Angeles Rams are looking to even the score with the San Francisco 49ers in their final road game of the 2019 NFL season.
The Rams were beat handily at home in the 20-7 loss during their first meeting with the 49ers. Although their playoff hopes have since been effectively dashed, Los Angeles would love nothing more than to maintain their presence in the NFC West with another impressive win against a playoff opponent. The Rams are not eliminated yet, but they will be with a loss in Week 16.
Meanwhile, San Francisco is trying to get back into the win column after suffering a disappointing loss at home to the Atlanta Falcons in Week 15. They will need to take care of business this time around if they hope to put themselves in a position to win the division in their season finale against the Seattle Seahawks.
Rams Offense vs 49ers Defense
The Rams will be welcoming back a key piece on offense in the form of tight end Gerald Everett. This is good news since they will need all the help they can get in order to shorten the field with kicker Greg Zuerlein listed as questionable due to a quad injury. He is expected to play, but how deep he will be able to kick remains unknown.
San Francisco is dealing with its fair share of injuries on the defensive side of the ball with defensive lineman Dee Ford, safety Jacquiski Tartt, and defensive tackle Julian Taylor ruled out. Regardless, they still boast one of the most formidable groups in the league and should have no problem finding ways to fill the void.
Richard Sherman missed last week’s game with an injury but is expected to return against the Rams.
Rams Defense vs. 49ers Offense
Los Angeles will be without one of their key pieces in the secondary after cornerback Troy Hill was ruled out with a thumb injury. It will be interesting to see if San Francisco looks to take advantage of Hill’s absence by picking on backup cornerback Darious Williams with their formidable receiving duo of Emmanuel Sanders and Deebo Samuel.
Meanwhile, the 49ers offense is sporting a clean bill of health and will be looking to get back on track in Week 16.
Three Keys To Victory
1. Force the 49ers Offense To Rely On Garoppolo Instead of Run Game
The 49ers had been one of the best rushing teams in the entire league for the bulk of the 2019 campaign until they opted to take a pass-heavy approach with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in recent weeks. Although it may have worked for them in the thrilling win over the New Orleans Saints, it was clearly the reason their downfall versus the Falcons.
San Francisco will undoubtedly look to establish their run game early on after watching Los Angeles get eviscerated on the ground by the Dallas Cowboys last week. The Rams may need to force their hand by stacking the box and daring Garoppolo to try and make plays with his arm.
2. Contai Kittle
If the defense is successfully able to stifle the run game, it is a safe safe bet that Garoppolo will turn to tight end George Kittle to do his bidding in the passing game. Of course, he has good reason to since it is no secret that Los Angeles has struggled to defend elite tight ends and Kittle certainly made that clear after hauling in eight receptions for 103 yards in their first matchup.
His role in the offense remains as prevalent ever after garnering a whopping 17 targets against Atlanta and it is evident that Garoppolo gets tunnel vision with Kittle in the passing game. Regardless, the Rams must find a way to keep his production limited if they hope to stifle the 49ers offense as a whole.
3. Establish A Sense Of Balance On Offense
The Rams simply could not get anything going on offense in their embarrassing loss to the Cowboys as any attempts to get the run game going behind Todd Gurley was quelled immediately. Things will not get any easier against a defense that is as talented as the one the 49ers have.
However, this group has proven to be quite vulnerable over the past few weeks and one of the common factors in both games was how susceptible they are to giving up big plays. Los Angeles will need to show that they are capable of mixing things up by taking shots downfield when Goff has enough time in the pocket to work with.
The post Rams At 49ers Preview: L.A. Looks To Get Revenge & Keep Playoff Hopes Alive In Week 16 appeared first on Rams Nation.