Rams vs. Niners Preview
This game matches two of the bright young offensive minds in the NFL with Kyle Shanahan against Sean McVay. The two know each other well, as Shanahan hired McVay to be the Washington Redskins' Assistant Tight Ends coach in 2010 when Shanahan was Washington's offensive coordinator. Interestingly, the San Francisco 49ers are 3-19 over their last 22 games. However, they are 3-0 against the Rams. Los Angeles needs a win here to get back some of the mojos they had going after their opening victory over the Colts. So really, if you can't beat the Niners, who can help you overcome?
Rams Defense vs. 49ers Offense
The key here is whether the Rams can shut down Carlos Hyde and the 49er running game. That was the Achilles heel against Washington, and with a short week to prepare for this game it's hard to say whether the problems corrected since Sunday. I'm not a big Brian Hoyer fan. Stopping the Niners run game and avoiding turnovers are the keys to victory for the Rams, in my opinion. That means the LA outside linebackers need to set the edge on running plays and the Rams can't allow San Francisco to win the battle of the trenches, as Washington did on Sunday.
Rams Offense vs. San Francisco Defense
The Niners defense is not bad when healthy, but two key pieces will be missing Thursday night, with safety Eric Reid and rookie linebacker Reuben Foster injured. We saw flashes of the Todd Gurley of 2015 on Sunday, and the Rams will be looking to build on that again tonight. Rams tight end Gerald Everett, who scored on a 69-yard pass from Jared Goff, is not expected to play tonight, which is bad news for Los Angeles. However, the team's number one receiver, Sammy Watkins, and rookie Cooper Kupp, who seems to be Goff's go-to guy in a pinch, will be on the field.
Johnny Hekker and Greg Zuerlein are probably the best pairs of kickers in the league. I keep waiting for Tavon Austin to break a couple of punt returns. Will it be this week? Advantage Rams.
Why does it feel like a trap game for the Rams? San Francisco gave Seattle all they could handle on Sunday, they are playing at home, and they always play the Rams tough. A short week to prepare doesn't help, and these Thursday night games tend to get a little sloppy. All of that favors San Francisco. On the other hand, I think the Rams are a better team right now, especially on offense. If this turns into a shootout the Rams should win, a low-scoring slugfest favors the Niners. I'm going to say talent wins.
Rams 27 Niners 17