Despite a daunting trip up north, the Los Angeles Rams managed to shock the NFL when they took down the Seattle Seahawks in Week 1.
The Rams came into the game the underdogs because of the youth and inexperience of the roster, but the young players stepped up in the second half to give the team an impressive win.
Los Angeles now gets to come home for Week 2, but the task is much more difficult as they take on the San Francisco 49ers. Like the Rams, the 49ers also spent Week 1 on the road and dismantled the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The stark difference between the two rosters is San Francisco has chemistry and continuity, especially amongst its core players. Kyle Shanahan has gotten the best of Sean McVay eight consecutive regular season meetings and the latter will be looking to break that streak.
Rams Offense vs. 49ers Defense
Even without Cooper Kupp, Matthew Stafford had no problem distributing the ball though the 49ers’ defense is more ferocious than the Seahawks’. Puka Nacua, who is questionable with an oblique injury but is expected to play, had quite the debut as he did his best Kupp impressive by feeling in 10 catches for 119 yards and will figure to be Stafford’s release valve.
Aside from Nacua, Tutu Atwell also stepped up with his own 100-yard receiving day and could be in line for more deep shots down field assuming the offensive line can hold up. San Francisco boasts arguably the best pass rush in the league, so keeping Stafford clean will be a challenge.
Rams Defense vs. 49ers Offense
Brock Purdy has been steady as the starter for the 49ers, tossing another two touchdowns last week. Purdy’s got explosive weapons in Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel and George Kittle but the Rams have to be focused on Christian McCaffrey and the run game.
Aaron Donald is going to see double and perhaps even triple teams, so Los Angeles’ edge rushers have to get home to Purdy in those one-on-one matchups. The secondary is up against it with so many options on the San Francisco side, though they did well last week against D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett.
Keys to Victory
1. Win in the trenches
Matchups between Los Angeles and San Francisco have always been physical, and McVay has emphasized the need to be the aggressors upfront. The Rams need to do their best to play the 49ers even at the line of scrimmage if they want a chance to win.
2. Run through the air
San Francisco has been dominant holding running backs to minimal yardage on the ground, so McVay might want to try sprinkling in more dump offs and screens to Kyren Williams.
Cam Akers will not be playing, however, as reports indicating the Rams are deactivating him and are again looking for a trade.