A standard narrative you’ll doubtless hear this weekend is that it’s onerous to beat a crew 3 times in a single season. Regardless of this being typical knowledge to many individuals, it’s merely not true.
Since 1970, an NFL crew has swept its divisional foe within the common season solely to fulfill once more within the postseason 22 instances. The crew that swept the regular-season matchups is 14-8 in these postseason conferences. In 4 of these situations, the highway crew in that postseason assembly has accomplished the sweep.
The 49ers defeated the Rams twice within the 2021 season. San Francisco has dominated Los Angeles within the Kyle Shanahan vs. Sean McVay period — the Niners are 7-3 in opposition to the Rams since 2017, profitable the previous six matchups, with the previous 4 victories coming as underdogs.
If the 49ers don’t have already got an edge based mostly on their earlier dominance of the Rams, San Francisco will even have an additional day following its recreation final Saturday (Los Angeles performed Sunday).
Below Shanahan, the 49ers have thrived as underdogs with a 25-17 (60 p.c) document in opposition to the unfold (ATS), per our Motion Labs information. It’s a job they’re very accustomed to, as they’re coming off three straight wins as underdogs. They wanted to win on the highway on the Rams in Week 18 to make the playoffs earlier than defeating the Cowboys in Dallas and the Packers in Inexperienced Bay to advance to their second NFC Championship Sport within the final three seasons.
Developments apart, this is a perfect matchup for the 49ers, given their potential to dominate within the run recreation, and neutralize a Rams cross rush with Aaron Donald and Von Miller that ranks first in ESPN’s cross rush win charge and third in sacks (50). Of their first two matchups of the season, the 49ers rushed for 156 yards and 135 yards. And within the second matchup, they managed the time of possession for a lot of the second half.
Elijah Mitchell and Deebo Samuel ought to generate yardage on the bottom in opposition to this weak Rams linebacking unit whereas opening the offense for Jimmy Garoppolo and a 49ers passing recreation that ought to discover some success in opposition to a Rams protection that struggles to defend the center of the sphere.
Although a lot will likely be manufactured from Garoppolo’s struggles in opposition to the Packers in frozen temperatures, he’s had loads of success in opposition to this Rams crew. Within the two earlier conferences this season, he accomplished 38 of 51 makes an attempt for 498 yards and three touchdowns. He led the 83-yard landing drive to ship the Week 18 matchup to extra time, and he additionally led the game-winning drive to get the 49ers into the playoffs. The 49ers offense has out-gained the Rams in yards per play in each matchups.
Matthew Stafford struggled to shut out the common season, throwing eight interceptions and fumbling as soon as within the ultimate 4 video games. Within the postseason, he’s seemed utterly rejuvenated, finishing 74.5 p.c of his passes for 568 yards and 4 touchdowns with no turnovers. That stated, Stafford will face a a lot harder matchup in opposition to Nick Bosa, Arik Armstead, Fred Warner and a 49ers protection that may generate stress with out blitzing.
Stafford has destroyed the blitz this season, simply as he did final week in opposition to the Buccaneers, hitting Cooper Kupp with the sport on the road. Nevertheless it’s extremely unlikely we’ll see the 49ers take the same strategy right here — they pressured Stafford 15 instances and sacked him 5 instances of their 27-24 win in Week 18. With Rams LT Andrew Whitworth nonetheless banged up, their offensive line might have an extended day.
The 49ers have had the Rams quantity, and I don’t see it altering right here. I’ll again the 49ers at +3.5 and take them on the moneyline (+145 at Guess MGM) as nicely.