San Francisco 49ers vs Los Angeles Rams: prediction, preview, pick to win


San Francisco 49ers (1-13) at Los Angeles Rams (4-10)

KICKOFF:

Saturday, 4:25 p.m. ET, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. TV: FOX, Chris Myers, Ronde Barber, Jennifer Hale.

SERIES HISTORY:

135th meeting. The 49ers lead the series, 67-64-3. The 49ers won the last meeting, which represents their only win of the season. It came in a 28-0 blowout on the opening weekend on a nationally televised Monday night game.

KEYS TO THE GAME:

A lot has changed for both teams since the opener. Both have changed starting quarterbacks. Both have suffered injuries along the offensive line. Both have been consistently outcoached week in and week out.

Los Angeles is last in the NFL at 14.1 points per game. San Francisco is 26th at 18.9 ppg.

Both are in the bottom half of the NFL in offensive production, especially in the passing game. Led first by Case Keenum and now by struggling rookie Jared Goff, the Rams average 200 passing yards per game, 29th in the NFL.

The Rams’ offense is last in the NFL at 278.8 yards per game overall. The Rams have the 2015 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, running back Todd Gurley, yet are 31st in the NFL in rushing with just 78.6 yards a game.

If the offense were better, the unit could take advantage of a banged-up and porous 49ers defense. San Francisco ranks last in the NFL in points (31), yards (424.9) and rushing yards (176.3) allowed. If Gurley is going to rush for over 100 yards in 2016, this has to be the game.

With Blaine Gabbert and now Colin Kaepernick running the offense, the 49ers are the worst passing team in the NFL, averaging 176.2 yards.

The Rams have been good against the pass and rank 11th overall, giving up 337.5 yards per game. Defensive tackle Aaron Donald continues his dominance of offensive linemen and was rewarded this week with his third Pro Bowl nod.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH:

–49ers RB Carlos Hyde vs. Rams run defense. Hyde is back at full strength after a midseason shoulder injury, and that’s bad news for the Rams. Even though they knew he was coming, the Rams allowed Hyde to rush for 88 yards and two touchdowns in the season opener.

–Rams RB Todd Gurley vs. 49ers run defense. Gurley hasn’t had nearly the season the Rams had anticipated, and that began with a 17-carry, 47-yard flop in the season-opening loss to the 49ers. San Francisco has gone on to become the worst run defense in the league, far worse than the one that saw Gurley burn them for 133 yards and a touchdown the last time he had a home game against the 49ers.

FRIDAY INJURY REPORT

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

–Doubtful: CB Dontae Johnson (groin), T Joe Staley (hamstring)

–Questionable: DT Glenn Dorsey (knee, ribs), C Marcus Martin (ankle)

LOS ANGELES RAMS

–Doubtful: S Maurice Alexander (concussion), CB Lamarcus Joyner (ankle), WR Mike Thomas (hip)

–Questionable: WR Bradley Marquez (knee)

PLAYER SPOTLIGHT:

WR Kenny Britt. He leads the team in receiving yards (987) and receptions (67), which are both career bests. His 987 yards are the fifth-most among NFC pass catchers. If Britt surpasses 1,000 yards, he will become the first receiver to surpass the century mark since Torry Holt in 2007.

FAST FACTS:

49ers QB Colin Kaepernick has 11 passing TDs and two interceptions in his past seven games. In his past five starts vs. the Rams, he has thrown for 1,184 yards, seven TDs and no interceptions.

49ers RB Carlos Hyde has 580 scrimmage yards in his past five games and has rushed for five touchdowns in his past four games vs. the NFC West. He had 88 rushing yards and two TDs in the last meeting.

49ers LB Ahmad Brooks has five sacks in his past seven division road games.

Rams DT Aaron Donald has 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble in his past two games vs. the NFC West. Since 2014, he leads NFL DTs with 27 sacks.

Rams DT Michael Brockers has four sacks in the past six meetings.

PREDICTION:

Neither team can score, so the onus just might be on the defenses to provide some points. In that case, we’re going with the Rams to hand the 49ers a 14th straight loss.

OUR PICK: Rams, 16-12.

Source: www.upi.com