It’s been a while since the St. Louis Rams have played a divisional game. Week five against the Arizona Cardinals was the club’s most recent tilt within the NFC West. Coincidentally, that was the last time the Rams found themselves on the right side of the scoreboard as well. This Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers, the Rams look to keep their undefeated record versus divisional opponents intact, but that will be no small feat.
What will likely be the most difficult area for the team to excel this weekend is going up against the vaunted 49ers’ defense. This is statistically the weakest area for the Rams facing the toughest past of the Niners. San Fran ranks second in the league in total defense and is the only team to place in the top five in both passing and rushing. There will be no weak spot for the Rams to key on in this game so it will be vital that even if they struggle at times, they must remain committed to both running and passing to have a chance.
STOP THE RUN
Another area of excellence for the 49ers is running the football as they lead the NFL in that category averaging 168.6 yards per game. The Rams are respectable at run defense surrendering 105.5 yards a contest, but promises to be put to the test in this one. One area that must improve is the play of the defensive tackles where the team hasn’t gotten much production this season. If the line fails to hold up at the point of attack it could be a long afternoon for St. Louis defensively.
The Rams have fumbled just twice this season and only one of those was actually recovered by their opponents. Preventing the Niners from having a short field is a must if they want to stay in this game to the final whistle. San Fran has won four of its last five games allowing a grand total of 12 points in those four victories. Being judicious with the pigskin is mandatory if the Rams have any hope in this one.
While it may seem like a long shot for the Rams to even be competitive with the Niners on Sunday, stranger things have happened. This team is due for a breakout performance on the road having not won once away from home yet this season and fresh off of the bye week, maybe this is their time.
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