This week this game has an extra purpose. A victory puts the Rams at 4-3, gives them more leverage in the division standings (Currently in second place, edging the 3-4 Seattle Seahawks), further buries San Francisco in the division's celar, and officially begins a winning streak.
Like any other division game, it can be a difficult one. One of the only positives is the familiarity with the foe. So, with that in mind, let's refresh our memories a bit and gander at some Niners that can pose a threat to the Rams.
WR Anquan Boldin
Boldin is an old and familiar adversary. He played the first sevens seasons with Arizona and has spent the previous two with the 49ers. He's old, at 35 years of age. His game, however, was never predicated on speed or swiftness. He's a powerful possession receiver. He can create space even when there isn't any.
Cornerback Janoris Jenkins will be tasked with covering Anquan. Given Janoris' recent form, He should not have any issues. He's played very well as of late. It almost makes you wonder if there is a reason why....
ILB NaVorro Bowman
Navarro Bowman stands as the 49ers leader among the defense. The sixth year vet has tacked on 69 total tackles with one sack this year. Bowman, however, is not performing as well as last season. It is not his fault, though. The Niners' defense has struggled as a whole. They rank 20th against the run and 31st against the pass, giving up 113.3 and 293 yards respectively.
RB Carlos Hyde
San Francisco certainly found a solid replacement for Frank Gore in second-year running back Carlos Hyde. At 6-foot 235, he presents a bigger figure than Gore and he is just as powerful of a runner. He has 470 yards with three touchdowns so far in the year, good for No. 9 in the league in terms of rushing yards.
The Rams defense is in the middle of the pack against the run. The team ranks 14th in yards allowed per game, giving up just over 108 yards. The Rams, however, only allowed the Cleveland Browns to rush for 82 total yards. Green Bay rushed for 86 yards. If this trend continues this week, James Laurinaitis and Co. will not have much trouble stopping Hyde.
He is listed as questionable for the game and did not practice on Thursday.
QB Colin Kaepernick
Colin Kaepernick is the real wildcard here. He is a shell of his former self. His throws are erratic. He is giving up the ball more often (he has five interceptions, his career high is 10). He also has lost hold of the ball five times, but only has lost a fumble once. He can, however, be dangerous on the run. The Rams have struggled years past with scrambling quarterbacks.
This defense still should not have any issue containing Kaepernick. One could say the loss of linebacker Alec Ogletree is a big blow, but safety – now linebacker – Mark Barron is more than capable, as evident by his performance last week.
OLB Aaron Lynch
After the release of the uber talented, but uber problematic Aldon Smith, Aaron Lynch became more of a vital component of the 49ers' defense. The second-year outside linebacker is off to a hot start with five sacks so far this season.
The task to keep him away from Nick Foles will fall upon left tackle Greg Robinson. Greg has had is fair share of struggles in pass protection this year. He will need to be on top of his game if he wants his quarterback –cue in that Terrell Owens clip – upright.