Rams Vs. 49ers Week 4 Preview: NFC Championship Game Rematch On Monday Night Football
Rams, 49ers
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Through three weeks, the Los Angeles Rams have found ways to win games despite a myriad of injuries to their secondary and offensive line.

With the Rams shorthanded in key areas, they could find themselves struggling in an NFC Championship rematch against their bitter rivals the San Francisco 49ers. Los Angeles was able to exorcise some demons in the playoffs, but they have found little success in the regular season against San Francisco.

Even though the 49ers have underwhelmed so far in 2022, they always get up for games against the Rams and that shouldn’t be any different on Monday Night Football.

Rams Offense vs. 49ers Defense

The offensive line has taken a beating all season, and the Rams received more bad news when David Edwards was placed in concussion protocol and ruled out. San Francisco boasts one of the best pass rushes in the NFL and have given Matthew Stafford and the o-line trouble rushing four and dropping seven back into coverage. The Buffalo Bills implemented the same strategy in Week 1, and it’s fair to expect to see much of the same again.

Head coach Sean McVay could opt to utilize more 12-personnel sets to help with the blocking, meaning the wide receivers will need to win their individual matchups. Cooper Kupp is always a reliable option, but Allen Robinson and Ben Skowronek will need to step up to help the offense get going.

As far as running the football goes, the 49ers do a good job up front preventing explosive plays which means Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson could be featured more in the short passing game.

Rams Defense vs. 49ers Offense

With Jimmy Garoppolo back under center, San Francisco will look to get the ball out of his hands quickly and lean on their playmakers to move the ball after the catch. Deebo Samuel, George Kittle and Brandon Aiyuk are all fearsome in this regard, meaning the defense will need to be acutely aware of where all three are lining up pre-snap.

The Rams do catch a break as 49ers left tackle Trent Williams will miss the game, hampering their run game a bit. Elijah Mitchell remains out of the lineup, so backup Jeff Wilson should see the bulk of the backfield work. Kyle Shanahan loves to dominate the ground game, but if Los Angeles can bottle them up, it should bode well for their chances at a victory.

Keys To Victory

1. Limit 49ers yards after the catch

As mentioned earlier, most of San Francisco’s explosive plays come after the catch so L.A. needs to be disciplined when it comes to tackling in the open field. Garoppolo will possibly try to challenge the Rams vertically a couple of times to keep their defense honest, but by and large, he and Shanahan will look to cause damage with quick throws in open space.

2. Keep Matthew Stafford clean in the pocket

Interior pressure has been the best way to get to Stafford, and the 49ers are more than capable of doing that with the pass rush they have. McVay will need to send help on most passing downs to keep Stafford upright, but if they’re able to keep the 49ers at bay it’ll go a long way in getting their passing game going.