The Los Angeles Rams will have to make the small trip down the road to square off against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 16. The two teams met earlier this season with San Francisco stifling the Rams en route to a 20-7 victory.
The Rams come into this game hanging onto their playoff hopes by a thread. A loss against the 49ers on Saturday would eliminate Los Angeles from the playoff picture.
Last week, Los Angeles suffered an embarrassing lopsided loss to the Dallas Cowboys. In the game, the Rams were never close to winning the game with Dallas dominating to the tune of 44-21.
Therefore, the Rams are motivated to go into San Francisco and take down their division foes. It won’t be an easy task with the 49ers being one of the most complete teams in the NFL this season.
Just like the Rams, the 49ers sustained a loss in their game in Week 15. Unlike Los Angeles though, San Francisco had a chance to win until the Atlanta Falcons scored on the final offensive play of the game.
Due to the loss, San Francisco fell from the first seed in the NFC to the fifth seed in the conference. With that being said, here are four reasons why the Rams will defeat the 49ers in Week 16.
4. The 49ers are riddled with injuries
Despite the 49ers being 11-3, injuries have plagued their roster throughout the entire season. This week isn’t any different as Dee Ford, Jaquiski Tartt, and Julian Taylor have already been ruled out for San Francisco.
At the least, Richard Sherman is expected to return to the field after missing last week’s game versus the Falcons. His presence was definitely missed as Julio Jones recorded 13 receptions for 134 yards.
Even with Sherman back, the 49ers are riddled with injuries and will be shorthanded at vital positions. Therefore, Sean McVay will do his best to take advantage of those voids left on the defense.
3. Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett can cause problems
Since McVay became the head coach in 2017, he’s usually deployed an offensive scheme that features three wide receivers at all times. Who wouldn’t try to get Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods, and Cooper Kupp involved as much as possible?
But with Gerald Everett dealing with a knee injury and the offensive line struggling, McVay has incorporated more two tight-end sets in recent weeks. As a result, Tyler Higbee has emerged as a reliable offensive weapon.
Higbee has had at least seven receptions and 100 yards in three straight contests. With Everett slated to return, the duo of Higbee and Everett can create mismatches for the Rams on Saturday night.
2. Los Angeles has the pass rushers to get after Jimmy Garoppolo
While San Francisco has had plenty of success in 2019, many have pointed at Jimmy Garoppolo as the weak link of the roster. After a slow start to the season, Garoppolo has improved his play over the second half of the season.
The 49ers’ quarterback is having the best season of his career with 3,445 yards, 26 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. In addition, the 28-year-old quarterback has been highly efficient in Kyle Shanahan’s offense; completing 69.1 percent of his passes.
The Rams undoubtedly have a front seven, led by Aaron Donald, that can get after the quarterback. Los Angeles has tallied 43 sacks as a defensive unit (fifth-most in the NFL).
1. Todd Gurley should have success running the ball
One of the biggest storylines of the season is the much-improved play of San Francisco’s defense. Heading into Week 16, the 49ers boast the No. 2 defense in the NFL and have the No. 1 ranked pass defense.
As good as they are on the defensive side of the ball, San Francisco has shown they can be had on the ground. The 49ers are allowing 114.6 rushing yards per game (21st in the NFL).
Provided that, Todd Gurley should have success running the ball against the 49ers’ formidable defense. The Rams are 3-0 this season when Gurley is able to touch the ball 20 or more times.