The Los Angeles Rams travel to San Francisco on Monday night to take on the 49ers in a rematch of last season's NFC Championship game. The Rams come into this matchup at 2-1, following a win on the road over the Cardinals on Sunday. The 49ers are now juts 1-2 on the season following a disappointing 11-10 loss to the Broncos on the road on Sunday night. The opening kick for this NFC West battle is scheduled for 8:15pm EST.
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Champs Bounce BackAfter taking a thorough beating in their opening game this season, the Super Bowl Champion Rams seem to have found their stride. On Sunday in Arizona, the Ram's defense contained Kyler Murray, and QB Matt Stafford threw for 249 yards in a 20-12 LA road win. The Rams have now beaten the Cardinals in 11 of their last 12 meetings.
"There are no style points in this game," Rams head coach Sean McVay said after the win. "But there are ways to play more complete games. That's what we're hunting."
The Rams' defense took center stage in this one as they allowed a lot of yardage but tightened up in the red zone. Despite gaining 365 total yards on the day, the Cardinals had to settle for four field goals. Aaron Donald had his best game thus far with a sack and two tackles for loss and fellow all-pro, cornerback Jalen Ramsey, had a tackle for loss and two passes defensed. Offensively, the Rams got a solid performance out of disgruntled running back Cam Akers. Akers was the featured back for the first time this season and had 61 yards on 12 carries including a touchdown. The Rams' offense ran almost half as many plays as the Cardinals with 46 plays to the Cardinals' 81 plays.
It's goin' down on Monday night. pic.twitter.com/7ZyvKiuJSa— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) September 30, 2022
Los Angeles has struggled against the Niners in recent years, going just 2-6 in their last 8 meetings including the win in the NFC championship game. Through three games, here are the rankings for the Rams in some of the major categories on both sides of the ball. Offensively, the Rams are 15th in scoring offense and 25th in total offense. LA ranks just 30th in rushing offense and 17th in passing offense thus far. On the defensive side of the ball, the Rams are 20th in scoring defense and 17th in total defense. Against the run, the Rams are 10th but just 23rd against the pass.
Key Injuries: Rams center Brian Allen (knee) hasn't practiced this week and several members of the secondary are banged up. Cobie Durant (hamstring), David Long (groin) and Jordan Fuller (hamstring) have all missed practice all week.
Sluggish StartWith Jimmy Garoppolo back in a familiar role as the 49ers' starting quarterback, the team fell flat and struggled to move the ball in an ugly 11-10 loss at Denver. The loss dropped the 49ers to 1-2 on the season after the team converted on just 1-0f-10 third down conversions in the loss. Garoppolo's rust showed both in his struggles on third down and his sore right arm after the loss.
"We were terrible today. I've just got to get on the same page with those guys. We have to convert those," Garoppolo said in his post-game press conference.
"Oh yeah, my arm is feeling it right now," Garoppolo added. "I didn't really go through training camp. I'm not trying to make excuses or anything, but I've just got to get in game shape and get rolling."
Garoppolo finished the night 18-of-29 for just 211 yards and a touchdown and an interception. Wide receiver Deebo Samuel led the Niners with five catches for 73 yards but was held to just six yards on five carries on the ground. The 49ers out-gained the Broncos 267-261 yards on the night and held the Broncos to just 6-of-19 on third downs and a paltry 3.7 yards per play. The 49ers were done in by three turnovers on the night with two fumbles and the interception while being unable to generate any turnovers from the Broncos. SF did have four sacks on the night and seven tackles for loss.
Bringing out the red throwbacks for Monday Night Football 🔥 #BeatLA— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) September 30, 2022
The Niners will look to extend their recent dominance over the Rams on Monday night as they hope the rust has worn off of Garoppolo by Monday night. Through three games, the 49ers have been a better defensive team than an offensive team thus far. The 49ers are 28th in scoring offense and 24th in total offense through three games. On the ground, SF is ranked 6th while the team is just 29th through the air. Defenively, SF is third in scoring defense and second in total defense. The 49ers are 4th against the run and #1 against the pass this season. They are just 21st in turnover differential.
Key Injuries: Several players appear on the 49ers' injury report this week but the key players include OT Erik Williams (ankle) and DT Arik Armstead (foot). Neither has participated during the week thus far. The 49ers protection broke down when Williams went down late in the game and his availability will be crucial. Armstead missed the game against Denver and could be a game-time decision again.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The 49ers and their mad-genius Coach Kyle Shanahan have now had two weeks to shape the team's game plan back towards an offense featuring Garoppolo at QB. I expect the Niners to feature Samuel more this week against the Rams, primarily on screens. In the playoff game against the Rams last season, Samuel ran for 45 yards and caught six passes for 95 yards. In addition, this will be All-Pro TE George Kittle's second game back as well. Kittle had just four catches for 28 yards against the Broncos but should be healthier and featured more prominently in this matchup. The Rams' offense has struggled this season compared with years past and now face a 49ers team that has a top-five defense and one of the league's best pass rushes, even without Armstead. Expect the 49ers to sell out on the Rams' pass as Los Angeles has struggled to establish the run thus far this season. A heavy dose of Wilson and Samuel on the ground and Kittle over the middle will lead to a 49ers' win yet again over the Rams.
Lay the points (-1.5) and take the 49ers.
Full-Game Total Pick
This will be a grinding game between two teams that know each other very well. The Niners defense will take away the run and get pressure with their front four on Stafford. The Rams defense will try to make Garoppolo uncomfortable in the pocket and get him off his spot, which nearly always leads to a terrible outcome for SF. The under is 5-0 in 49ers last five games following a loss. In addition, they have played to the under in their last seven games on grass. The Rams are 4-1 to the under in their last five games overall. Look for a tightly played, low-scoring affair from two teams that have matched up frequently in recent months.
Take the under, 42.5 points.