Who would have thought that in Week 6, the San Francisco 49ers would be atop the NFC West with a 4-0 record. The reigning NFC Champion Los Angeles Rams are currently in third at 3-2. The Rams fell to the Seattle Seahawks in Week 5 on a Greg Zuerlein missed field goal. The 49ers blew out the Cleveland Browns on Monday night 31-3.
This is the most important game of the season so far for the Rams. They need this win so they do not fall too far behind.
Here are two huge X-Factors for Los Angeles heading into this game.
2. Todd Gurley
The Rams need to start featuring their star running back more. Gurley has scored two touchdowns in each of the previous two games, but he is not getting enough carries. He has not had 20 carries or 100 yards in any game yet this season.
The 49ers have been stuffing the run early on. They rank fifth in the league, allowing 81.8 rushing yards per game. This cannot shy the Rams away from their No. 1 back. Gurley is also an elite pass catcher out of the backfield.
There are multiple ways to get Gurley involved in this game so he can take it over and take pressure off Jared Goff. If Gurley has a big game, the Rams have a good chance to win this game.
1. Rams Defensive Front
Aaron Donald is widely regarded as the best overall player in football. He is a freak of nature with speed that we have never seen from a defensive lineman. He leads a Rams’ front seven that will need to put pressure on Jimmy Garoppolo in this game.
The 49ers have only allowed four sacks through four games this season. Garoppolo has also thrown four interceptions. He is still a young, fairly unproven quarterback who can get rattled. It is up to the Rams to make him uncomfortable in the pocket.
If Garoppolo has time to sit back, he will be able to get in a groove like he did on Monday night against the Browns. If Donald and company are in the backfield all game long this will slow down the run game and make Garoppolo move his feet.