The San Francisco 49ers look to finish the season off strong and in winning fashion on the road vs. the NFC West Division Champs, the Los Angeles Rams.
The post-game recap of last week’s victory vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars at a glance: Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers Tame the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Jimmy G can expect less resistance this week vs. the Los Angeles Rams:
The Rams, with the full availability of their starters and at full strength, post the 16th ranked defense overall. And they are 4th in the NFL at sacking the quarterback with 48 sacks. Since you’re asking, the Jags are currently ranked 1st. The Rams are also 6th in passing yards allowing 212 per game, holding opponents’ completion percentage to 58.2 and opponents’ passer rating to 78.0
With that being said, Rams head coach Sean McVay told the media in Thousand Oaks that he will probably rest his starters for the season finale against the 49ers (per ESPN.com). Clearly, McVay has a big picture vision of trying to sustain a long playoff run and you can’t do that if your starters and star players get injured vs. the 49ers in what would be, let’s face it, a less meaningful game for the Rams.
Especially knowing and conceding that the Minnesota Vikings (playing the early game) will beat the Chicago Bears and can clinch a first-round bye.
Reuben Foster and the defense won’t see Mr. “M.V.P.” candidate Todd Gurley
The 49ers’ defense won’t see running back Gurley or his quarterback Jared Goff and his key offensive weapons WR’s: Robert Woods, Sammy Watkins and talented rookie Cooper Kupp other than, at most, a cameo appearance. However, 49ers’ defensive coordinator Robert Saleh can use this game to build on and improve both as a unit and as individuals (see last week’s performance vs. the Jags) overall for 2018.
Important to note: The 49ers currently rank (26th) in total defense, (24th) in pass defense and (22nd) in run defense giving up 117.3 yards per game at 3.8 yards per rush. And are giving up 24.7 points per game while ranking 20th in takeaways, with 18 (10 int and 8 fumbles).
As you can see, there is still a lot more room to grow for this young and talented core of defensive players: Reuben Foster, Brock Coyle , Solomon Thomas, Sheldon Day, Cassius Marsh, DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead, Earl Mitchell, Ahkello Witherspoon, Adrian Colbert and K’Waun Williams.
Jimmy Garoppolo looks to go 7-0 as a starter vs. the Los Angeles Rams
As aforementioned, Jimmy G and this 49ers’ offense and defense will be playing against backups for most of the game, if not all. But this game isn’t about the Rams, it’s more about the future of the 49ers and the CEO of this football team is Jimmy G and if you didn’t know, now you do, without question. For Jimmy G, it’s all about going out as a 7-0 starter and winner. Why? It builds great momentum for 2018 as a team and looks great at the contract negotiation table in the offseason, no doubt as both sides look to reach a long-term deal that works for both parties (as recently discussed on Niners Live). Pay the man. And don’t forget to check out: Why Marquise Goodwin Deserves a Contract Extension.
Stats you should know: The 49ers’ offense currently ranks 12th in total offense, 10th in passing 242 and 23rd in the run game while averaging 99 yards per game at 4.0 yards per rush. Jimmy G has thrown for 1,250 yards since week 13 which is the 3rd most yards in the NFL and 1st in the NFC.
The Jimmy G factor:
The NFC West, and the NFL in general, heck the entire sporting world, has been put on notice and buzzing with optimistic chatter when it comes to Jimmy G (4 game winning streak) and this historic franchise rising back to the Mountaintops of championship success. Look for Jimmy G’s playmakers to have big games; Marquise Goodwin (goes over 1k yards receiving), Trent Taylor, Kendrick Bourne, George Kittle, Carlos Hyde (needs 150 yards to reach a 1k) and FB/TE Kyle Juszczyk.
The 49ers will win this game and put up at least 30 points, and the defense will add on to their three interception total vs. the Jags last week and have a plethora of sacks against Rams back up QB Sean Mannion who stands at 6′ 6″, 231 lbs and expected to start. The Rams have a field goal kicker, Sam Ficken (0 for 3 on field goals), that’s struggling, so scoring points of any kind will be hard to come by in this game for the Rams.
I can see the 49ers’ defense pitching a shutout or holding the Rams under 10 points assuming that most of, if not all, the starters won’t play in this game.
Please join us again soon on Niners Live, the home of the faithful fan and analyst from an objective/analytical lens, of course. Often imitated, but never duplicated.
All records, statistics, and accolades are courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com, Pro Football Focus, 49ers.com, ESPN.com, NFL.com unless otherwise indicated. Author, Content Creator, Editor, Sequoia Sims