Rams Expected to Get Fifth Win
It's not going to be the game most LA Rams fans had in mind when the schedule was released over the summer, but it will be a game worth watching. The Rams season has been a complete disaster. A loss to the 49ers, LA's biggest rival, would be the final bitter pill fans would be forced to stuff down their throats in a loss season.
Months ago, when the season was just a small dream filled with victories and possible playoff appearances, the 49ers punched the Rams in the face with a 28-0 win at Levi Stadium. The Rams left the game feeling defeated just one game into their season, while the 49ers sat uncomfortably at 1-0, knowing it was just a matter of time until the dream season came crashing down on top of them.
The Rams have won just four games since that Week 1 pounding. The 49ers? Still looking for their second win, which could come against the Rams as they attempt to end the season on an up note. As already noted, a loss to the 49ers would catastrophic for the Rams. The big question is what can either of these two teams do to effectively win the game? Both have looked bad, but the Rams do have three more wins. They also have been shut out by one of the worst defenses this league has ever seen, and that defense just so happens to belong to the team they are playing Saturday.
Here are a few things to keep an eye on as the 49ers head to LA in what will mercifully be the second to last game for both teams. The Rams would like a win to treat the fans and the 49ers would like a Rams' win to help secure the No. 1 pick in the draft.
Goff will play
Let's not sugar coat anything. Goff has not played well in his five starts for the Rams.
His best performance remains the first quarter against New Orleans. In the opening half, he passed for nearly 200 yards and three touchdowns. Since that performance, he's passed for just one touchdown and thrown for five interceptions. He's not totally to blame. His offensive line is terrible. He is getting no support in the running game and his receivers drop more balls in one game than most teams do in a month.
The good news is that can all change this week with good performances from Goff and his pass catchers. They should be able to put up decent numbers considering the 49ers rank 32nd in the league in pass defense.
Britt, who could ultimately play in the Pro Bowl as an alternate, should be able to find room against the 49ers' secondary. This should help Mike Thomas, who had an inexcusable drop against the Seahawks, and Tavon Austin. Thomas might be able to find some room behind San Francisco's defense and Austin should be able to have room inside. Again, this is assuming the defense will gear up to stop Gurley and the running game, which has been the case all season.
Can Gurley get going?
It's been a forgettable sophomore season for Todd Gurley. He has yet to top 100 yards, and has only reached more than 80 rushing yards once. Gurley hit 85 yards against Tampa Bay, but hasn’t come close to 100 yards since. He should be able to run against the 49ers, but make no mistake the San Francisco will be lined up to stop Gurley, who represents the only true threat of scoring on the Rams.
Hekker can win the game.
The real difference in the game could be field position. If either of these offenses have to go more than 60 yards to score it’s going to be tough. Johnny Hekker, who tied the single season mark of punts downed inside the 20-yard-line last week in Seattle, will be the difference for the Rams.
Both of these teams would like forget the 2016 season. The 49ers will ultimately be rewarded with a high draft pick while the Rams will be left to find something in the later rounds.
The Rams defense has been outstanding all season long. That will continue this week as the defense should have no problem containing the 49ers offense. Goff should have room to throw and will have his best outing since New Orleans.
Final Score: Rams 17, 49ers 3
Brett Crossley is a Los Angeles Rams writer for Pro Football Spot. For comments, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or give him a follow on twitter @BrettCrossley44