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Rams-49ers: What the Rams Must Do to Win

Taking a look at the key points of the matchup.

Rich Schultz

The Rams have a serious challenge tonight. It's a chance to make a statement and reverse course after the losses against the Cowboys and Eagles.

And here's how it's going to happen.

1.) The Rams have to win the turnover battle

The Rams are -2 in turnover differential, having forced three fumbles and interceptions each while giving four of each away. Last week, the Rams fumbled the ball three times. The first, following a LeSean McCoy fumble that gifted the Rams wonderful field position, came on 3rd and goal from the Philly 5. At 13-0, the Rams were in striking position to get back in the game. The fumble cost them at least three points. The second fumble had Jake Long scrambling to fall on the ball in front of the end zone unsuccessfully. The free points for Philadelphia made it 27-7. The third was a Zac Stacy fumble returned 40 yards just outside the Rams' redzone. Philly needed just two plays for the Rams to miscommunicate their defensive assignment leaving Jeremy Maclin wide open in the end zone, 34-7. At a minimum, the three fumbles cost the Rams 17 points. They lost by 6.

2.) The Rams have to win the line battles

The Rams have sufficient talent on the offensive line to hold up, and certainly to outperform their recent woes. Their defense line is built to win. They have no excuse not to take over the game. The Rams might need as much.

3.) Special teams has to be quiet.

When special teams specialists are having their name called, that's a bad thing. Chase Reynolds. Ray Ray Armstrong. Every long snapper in the history of football who had the misfortune of being recognized during a game. These guys are meant to be invisible. To do the ugly job and get out of the way. The Rams don't have a dynamic special unit on kick or punt returns. We're not going to get much there this year unless we get a lucky return. We should hope for a few Greg Zuerlein opportunities, for Hekker to be limited in punts but to pin the Niners back when called upon, and that's it. Anything else in special is going to be of the bad variety.

And that's about it to me. The Rams don't need huge splash plays .They got them against the Cowboys and Eagles and lost. They need to play a clean, aggressive game that isn't laden with penalties but takes over the game with force. Playing a game on finesse and technique against Colin Kaepernick and the Niners' defense isn't going to get you anywhere.

Luckily enough, this is the kind of game the Rams are built for.