Analyzing how the Rams (2-1) and San Francisco 49ers (1-2) meet before their game at 5:15 pm PDT on Monday at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California. The game will be shown on ABC and ESPN and will air on ESPN+ other NFL+.
When the Rams have the ball: The Rams’ offense is still looking for a big performance. Quarterback Matthew Stafford has thrown for four touchdowns with five interceptions, but Stafford did not commit a turnover in a 20-12 road win over the Arizona Cardinals last Sunday. He also didn’t pass for a touchdown, the first time he’s been shut out since he joined the Rams last season. Starting left guard David Edwards is out with a concussion, so Bobby Evans will step into a lineup that will feature a fourth starting group in four games. Wide receiver Cooper Kupp, the reigning NFL Offensive Player of the Year, has 28 catches, three for touchdowns. He also rushed for a touchdown against the Cardinals. The new addition, Allen Robinson, has yet to be established. He has just seven catches and let a certain touchdown pass slip through his hands against Arizona. Running back Cam Akers appeared on the brink of a big game against the Cardinals until he fumbled at the goal line. End Nick Bosa has four sacks, and linebackers Dre Greenlaw and Fred Warner are among the other best players on a 49ers defense that ranks second overall in the NFL. End Arik Armstead and tackle Javon Kinlaw are questionable due to injuries.
When the 49ers have the ball: This will be Jimmy Garoppolo’s second start in place of the injured Trey Lance, and it can only get better for the ninth-year pro. Garoppolo accidentally ran out of the end zone to safety in last Sunday’s 11-10 loss to the Denver Broncos, but has had success against the Rams, getting the ball out quickly to avoid a run led by Aaron Donald. Versatile Deebo Samuel has hurt the Rams as a running back, receiver and passer. Running back Jeff Wilson Jr., fullback Kyle Juszczyk and tight end George Kittle are other weapons along with wide receivers Brandon Aiyuk and Jauan Jennings. The 49ers will be without All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams, who suffered an ankle injury against Denver. Donald and inside linebackers Bobby Wagner and Ernest Jones lead a front that must neutralize the 49ers running game. Outside linebacker tackle McKinley will likely play more behind running back Leonard Floyd. Star cornerback Jalen Ramsey is the key player in a secondary that will feature the return of safety Jordan Fuller. Rookie cornerback Derion Kendrick, who was in concussion protocol after the Arizona game, is set to make his second start.
When they kick: Rams defensive lineman Michael Hoecht blocked a punt against the Cardinals. Kicker Matt Gay has made all four of his field goal attempts and Riley Dixon has averaged 35.4 net yards per punt. Robbie Gould has made four of five field goal attempts for the 49ers. Mitch Wishnowsky averaged 43.3 net yards per punt.
Gary Klein’s prediction: The Rams haven’t beaten the 49ers at Levi’s Stadium since 2018. Garoppolo is still playing in form, though. The Rams will finish their struggles in Santa Clara.
RAMS 23, 49ERS 20