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49ers present Rams with first real test of 2022

Newcomer Bobby Wagner will play an important role in slowing down San Francisco’s ground attack

Los Angeles Rams v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The resounding loss in Week 1 against the cross-conference Buffalo Bills continues to get smaller and smaller in the rear view mirror and with each passing week the Los Angeles Rams seem like a resurgent team.

Sure, LA fell flat on their face in their season opener but losing to an AFC team means very little at the end of the year when teams are jockeying for playoff positioning.

Yes, the Atlanta Falcons are probably closer to a 4-win team rather than a competitor for a playoff berth. Their offense is still potent and will keep them in a lot of games.

The test grew tougher in Week 3 versus the Arizona Cardinals, but Kliff Kingsbury’s team seems so disjointed to start 2022. Still, many facets of the Rams team took a step forward in its first divisional contest - such as a mistake-free game by Matthew Stafford and a stifling showing by Raheem Morris’ defense.

But the first real test of 2022 comes in the Rams’ fourth game against the San Francisco 49ers - a familiar foe that has had LA’s number in recent seasons.

An injury-riddled offensive line will be tasked with blocking Nick Bosa and Arik Armstead. A thin group in the secondary, who’s still missing veteran Troy Hill but could see the return of David Long and/or Cobie Durant, will look to limit the damage done by Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel.

Fortunately for Los Angeles, Bobby Wagner now wears royal and sol - and he’ll play a pivotal role in slowing down Kyle Shanahan’s masterfully-designed ground attack. The 49ers have the ability to attack you from any angle on the ground, and just when stopping the run becomes your first priority they use play action to send the ball sailing right over your head.

Slowing down San Francisco’s running game will put the ball in Jimmy Garoppolo’s hands often - and that could mean opportunities for turnovers by the LA defense. With the 49ers coming off a 10-11 loss, it’s likely we will see another defensive struggled in Week 4.

Kenneth Arthur and JB Scott discuss the primetime divisional matchup and more in this edition of Turf Show Times: The Podcast.

Would the 49ers have been better off drafting Mac Jones instead of Trey Lance, and how did they continually mismanage the QB position after their draft day decision?

Which team needs this game the most? The Rams could build a commanding NFC West lead with a victory, and the 49ers risk faltering to a measly 1-3 record.