The Los Angeles Rams are 3-2 this season and one of the glaring issues for them is their defense. The defense is the 13th ranked defense in the NFL but they’ll be tested by an undefeated San Francisco 49ers squad in Week 6.
Unfortunately for the Rams, they’ll have to play this game without Clay Matthews and Aqib Talib being on the field. In their place, Samson Ebukam and Troy Hill will draw starts for Wade Phillips’ defense on Sunday.
Both of those guys will need to step up against a 49ers offense that is the fourth-ranked offense in the NFL. Above all, San Francisco will test Los Angeles’ run defense with their No. 1 ranked rushing offense that averages a whopping 200 yards per game.
With that being said, here are three bold predictions for the Rams defense against the 49ers in Week 6.
3. The Rams defense will intercept Jimmy Garoppolo three times
As previously mentioned, Talib will be sidelined for the Rams as they are desperate to secure a win on Sunday. Despite his absence, Los Angeles is going to make things difficult for Jimmy Garoppolo in Week 6.
Aside from Talib, the Rams still have a talented secondary with Marcus Peters, Eric Weddle, and John Johnson. With Talib in the lineup, Los Angeles had four interceptions as a defensive unit (10 fewer than the New England Patriots have).
In a game that could decide the winner of the NFC West later in the season, the Rams will intercept Garoppolo three times on Sunday.
2. The Rams defense will sack Garoppolo five times
Along with the injuries to the Rams, the 49ers are also dealing with a couple of injuries to important players on their offense. Just on their offensive line, Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey will be inactive on Sunday.
Therefore, San Francisco will be playing in Week 6 without their two starting offensive tackles. The one player who is grinning ear-to-ear at the sight of two backups on the offensive line is Aaron Donald.
Donald has racked up six sacks in his past three games versus the 49ers. The reigning Defensive Player of the Year will have a dominant game but the entire defense will bring Garoppolo to the ground five times in Week 6. Over their first four games, the 49ers have only allowed four sacks as a team (best in the NFL).
1. The Rams defense will hold San Francisco to under 100 rushing yards
Without a doubt, San Francisco’s strong suit on the offensive side of the ball is their rushing offense. Again, the 49ers currently have the best rushing offense in the NFL that averages 200 rushing yards per game.
Last week, Tevin Coleman returned from injury and Kyle Shanahan’s hit the ground running. The duo of Coleman and Matt Breida combined for 211 yards and two touchdowns in Week 5 versus the Cleveland Browns.
Besides Breida and Coleman, the 49ers also like to utilize Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson. Even without Matthews setting the edge, the Rams defense is going to impose their will in the trenches and hold San Francisco to under 100 rushing yards on Sunday.
If the Rams can contain the 49ers’ versatile rushing attack, they’ll be in a prime position to hand San Francisco their first loss of the season.