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Los Angeles Rams vs. San Francisco 49ers Preview and Predictions 10-18-2020
Two teams seeking to recapture the magic that led to recent Super Bowl appearances go head to head Sunday night when the Los Angeles Rams visit the San Francisco 49ers in an NFC West matchup.
The Rams (4-1) will be looking for their third road win of the season while the 49ers (2-3) attempt to pick up their first home victory in a duel of the NFC's past two Super Bowl representatives.
Los Angeles used a two-game sweep over its California rival as a springboard to a 13-3 season and the second seed in the 2018 NFC playoffs, during which they eliminated the Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints before a Super Bowl loss to the New England Patriots.
San Francisco turned the tables in 2019, capturing both of the home-and-home games in a 13-3 campaign that led to playoff wins over the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers before a defeat at the hands of the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl.
The Rams endured a three-game losing streak early in the 2019 season and wound up missing the playoffs at 9-7. A 20-7 home loss to San Francisco capped that skid.
The Rams could send the 49ers to the same fate a year later when they take on a team that has lost two in a row, both at home.
San Francisco's most recent loss was its most disappointing. Despite getting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and running back Raheem Mostert back from injuries, the 49ers fell behind the Miami Dolphins 30-7 at halftime en route to a 43-17 embarrassment last week.
Fearing for his Garoppolo's health, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan pulled the quarterback at halftime. Garoppolo had missed the previous two games due to a high ankle sprain.
Garoppolo began this week as a full participant at practice, which gave him a head-start compared to his part-time status leading up to the Miami debacle.
"We're not going to hit him or anything," Shanahan said of the pre-Rams practices. "We'll see how he plays, if he gets better or worse from it, but I expect him to get better."
One 49ers concern this week is that they have allowed 18 sacks in five games, the fourth most in the NFL, while the Rams are tied with the Steelers for the league lead with 20 sacks.
Garoppolo hasn't been the only 49er in and out of the lineup. The team lost defensive star Nick Bosa for the season with a knee injury and announced this week that standout cornerback Richard Sherman had a setback while rehabbing a hamstring injury.
The Rams will take the field in far better shape physically, although they sustained a key loss when rookie safety Jordan Fuller reinjured his shoulder last week in a 30-10 win at Washington and had to be placed on injured reserve.
"Wanted to give him a few weeks," Rams coach Sean McVay said. "That was something that we felt like was going to be the best decision for him, and for us to be able to get him as healthy as possible."
Los Angeles has held four of its first five opponents under 20 points, but defenses have rested the last two times the Rams and 49ers met in prime time at Levi's Stadium.
The scoring spree began on a Thursday night in Week 3 of the 2017 season, when Jared Goff threw for 292 yards and three touchdowns in a 41-39 Rams win.
The 49ers made the most of an under-the-lights rematch in Week 16 last season, getting a 34-31 win.
Goff, who grew up about 30 miles north of San Francisco in Novato, Calif., has thrown for eight touchdowns and plunged in for two of the Rams' nine rushing TDs this season, tied for tops in the NFL. He turned 26 on Wednesday.
--Field Level Media
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News Breaking News
Key Players to Watch
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San Francisco 49ers
- PectoralQues Sun | I-R
Reed Jr. has a torn pectoral, and the team has entered him on the Injured Reserve/Non-Football Injury list as a result. There is a two-week window in order for the team to activate him.
- QuadricepQues Sun | questionable
Ward sat out the last contest with a quad injury, and it is unclear if he will line up versus the Seahawks on Sunday.
- AnkleOut indefinitely | I-R
Wilson Jr. suffered a high-ankle sprain and has been shifted to the injured reserve list, and he will miss an extended period.
- GroinQues Sun | questionable
Tartt was absent from the last game due to a groin injury, and it has yet to be established if he will be active against the Seahawks on Sunday.
- HamstringOut indefinitely | out
Samuel is sidelined with a hamstring injury, and team officials have yet to provide an exact return date.
- KneeQues Sun | I-R
Coleman has been ticketed for the Injured Reserve/Designated for Return list with a knee sprain and his three-week window to be activated has begun.
- KneeQues Sun | questionable
Pettis was absent from the last three games with a knee injury, and it has yet to be established if he will draw back into the lineup for Sunday's contest versus the Seahawks.
- KneeQues Sun | I-R
Reed has been added to the Injured Reserve/Designated for Return list due to a sprained MCL in his left knee. The team will have three weeks to activate him.
Los Angeles Rams
- HandQues Sun | questionable
Higbee has a hand injury, and it remains to be seen if he will return against the Dolphins on Sunday.
- IllnessProb Sun | probable
Everett is ailing from an illness, but he is likely to play Sunday against the Dolphins.
- IllnessProb Sun | probable
Jackson is fighting off an illness, but the symptoms are expected to subside in time for Sunday's matchup with the Dolphins.
- CalfQues Sun | I-R
Noteboom has been added to the Injured Reserve/Designated for Return list with Grade 2 calf strain, and the team has three weeks to activate him.
- AnkleI-R | I-R
Burgess has hit the injured reserve list after undergoing surgery to repair a broken ankle.
- GroinProb Mon | probable
Woods is nursing a groin injury, but it is likely that he will take the field Monday versus the Bears.
- ThighProb Mon | probable
Henderson Jr. is dealing with a thigh injury, but he is likely to be available Monday versus the Bears.
- ShoulderProb Mon | probable
Evans has missed the previous two games with a shoulder injury, but he is expected to play Monday against the Bears.