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Rams - 49ers: It will take a "Perfect Storm"...

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David Maxwell

The "Any Given Sunday" rule is real in football. We see it happen every year, with underdog teams somehow rising up above their mediocrity to perform at Herculean levels against a foe that outclasses them across the board. For the Rams, the 2014 season has been a waiting game of sorts. Coaches and fans bite their lips and cringe each week; hoping this team of young players somehow finds themselves in time to gel - to coalesce - into one to carry the day...

The Rams - 49ers game today is another installment in the NFL's longest running, twice a year meeting between two teams. Packed with lore reaching back to 1950, the Rams and 49ers games are never a guaranteed win for either team, and the "Any Given Sunday" rule applies every time they meet.

Headed into this game, St. Louis has an injury list to make any head coach cringe. San Francisco has a heavy injury toll too; missing key components as they try to hold on until players return. But it's the Rams who hold the underdog cards here, and they do so in spades. Even before the litany of injuries, Jeff Fisher's Rams hadn't shown a single position where they could tout a solid, "guaranteed" strength headed into any game. Rookie Aaron Donald has been a pleasant surprise, but I think his performance to date - while outstanding - has more to do with the lack of NFL level film opposing defensive coordinators have to plan for him. In other words, the Rams can't win this game, at least on paper...

So how will this game's tide turn? Well, for me anyway, it has one thing going for it when I think of the Rams, and a chance of winning: The Perfect Storm. Any time these two teams meet - and one of them is highly touted over the other - clouds gather, winds shift just so, and lightning flashes at the most incredible of times. Rams - 49ers game are battles; blood n' guts contests every single time, regardless of the final score. We saw how a young Rams team in 2012 came out of nowhere to win and tie in two meetings. At the time, their wasn't a person on the planet - outside of Rams AND 49ers fans - who thought it could happen. San Francisco fans never take a Rams game lightly, or at least the ones who've been around long enough to know just how deep this rivalry goes. Seattle may have taken some of the spotlight away from when these two storied franchises meet, but there isn't a single player from past 49ers or Rams rosters who'll discount what happens every time these teams meet.

So if you're a Rams fan, if what's happened to St. Louis so far in 2014 has you thinking they don't have a chance today, you'd better think again. Rams - 49ers game are NEVER a given. As you watch the game today, turn an eye every now and then to the skies above Santa Clara, CA. If clouds start to gather, get ready for a bolt of lighting, and hail the size of footballs to rain down courtesy of Deacon Jones and Merlin Olsen. Get ready to see something special, because it can happen when that perfect storm hits. Believe it can happen, because it has before, and will again...