The Los Angeles Rams host the San Francisco 49ers in Week 8 in what will be an extremely important NFC West matchup between two division rivals. While the Rams will be hosting the 49ers at SoFi Stadium, as has been the case over the last few seasons, it shouldn’t be surprise to see a lot of red jerseys in the stadium.
The last time these two teams played in Los Angeles, the Rams punched their ticket to the Super Bowl with a 20-17 victory. However, the Rams haven’t beaten the 49ers in their last seven regular season tries which included a 20-17 loss in Week 4.
Because of this, the Rams are +1.5 point underdogs at home according to DraftKings Sportsbook and the game has an over/under of 42.5 This should be a very defensive game where points are at a premium. Let’s dig into Rams-49ers round 2!
Rams Offense vs. 49ers Defense
The Rams offense should be getting healthier this week. While David Edwards won’t be back at left guard, Brian Allen will return at center which should provide a boost on the offensive line. Additionally, Van Jefferson is expected to make his season debut.
While the Rams are getting healthier, the 49ers have caught the injury bug before their bye week. Arik Armstead and Dre Greenlaw will both be out which is good news for a Rams offensive line that has struggled.
For a Sean McVay offense, the Rams have yet to catch fire this season. They rank just 25th in DVOA. The 49ers defense meanwhile ranks seventh after giving up 40 points to the Kansas City Chiefs.
It will be interesting to see if the Rams utilize some of the same tactics that the Chiefs used in Week 7. The Chiefs used a lot of screens and wide runs to use the aggressiveness of the 49ers defense against them.
Matchup to Watch: Rob Havenstein vs. Nick Bosa
The key for the Rams in this game will be protecting Matthew Stafford. Stafford was under constant duress in the first meeting with a patchwork offensive line. While it’s healthier, this is a group that still isn’t at 100 percent. The big matchup to watch will be Bosa going up against Havenstein. Havenstein gave up three pressures in the first game and is an important factor in keeping Stafford upright.
Rams Defense vs. 49ers Offense
The Rams defense played solid against the 49ers offense in Week 4. Outside of two plays, they were nearly flawless. They held the 49ers offense to just 17 points which should have been enough for the offense to get a win.
Through seven week, the Rams rank eighth in defensive DVOA while the 49ers offense ranks 17th.
On Sunday, the Rams defense will also get its second look at Christian McCaffrey. After playing McCaffrey in Week 6 with the Panthers, he’ll have a full week of practice with the 49ers since being traded last Thursday. Deebo Samuel is out with a hamstring injury as he hasn’t practiced all week and will look to get healthy as the 49ers get closer to their bye.
On the other side, the Rams are getting healthier. Troy Hill should return from injury, adding some depth to the secondary. As always with the 49ers, it comes to how well the defense is able to tackle.
Matchup to Watch: Bobby Wagner vs. Christian McCaffrey
It will be interesting to see how the Rams gameplan around McCaffrey after having already seen him this season. He’ll have a different role with the 49ers, but outside of the first quarter, the Rams contained McCaffrey well against the Panthers. With Samuel out, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the 49ers rely heavily on their new weapon.
Wagner has been one of the best linebackers against the run this season and is someone that the Rams will likely have keep an eye on the new 49ers running back.
In the Week 4 matchup against the 49ers, the Rams went 0-for-3 in the red zone. In the fourth quarter, it was a one-score game until Matthew Stafford’s pick-six. If the Rams go 2-for-3 in the red zone or score a touchdown in even one of their trips, it might have been a different game.
The Rams will need to take advantage of their opportunities and get an early lead in this game to get the 49ers out of their ball control offense. If the Rams can force Jimmy Garoppolo into a mistake or two, they could get their first win since 2018 against their division rival in the regular season.
With the injuries to Samuel, Armstead, and Greenlaw, there should be no excuse here for the Rams. They need to find a way to win this game and send the 49ers to 3-5.
Prediction: Rams 23, 49ers 21