January 30, 6:30 pm ET, SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, CA
San Francisco- 6 Seed (NFC West) 12-7 overall
Los Angeles- 4 Seed (NFC West) 14-5 overall
Why San Fracisco will win-
The 49ers beat the Rams in SoFi Stadium just 3 weeks ago in which was essentially a playoff game needing a win to get into the postseason. The 27-24 come from behind win was the 6th consecutive over their NFC West rival and unlike the convincing 31-10 victory back in November they didn’t even play at their best. The offense struggled for much off the first half falling behind 17-0. QB Jimmy Garoppolo threw for over 300 yards but also had two interceptions. The Ram’s O-line has been solid this year ranking tied for 5th in sacks allowed but has been unable to slow down San Francisco’s pass rush allowing 7 sacks in the first 2 meetings. As was the case in Week 18 the 49ers should have a large contingent of fans making the trip down to Inglewood.
Why Los Angeles will win-
Motivation certainly won’t be an issue. The Rams are desperate to end their recent woes against the 49ers and clinching a spot into the Super Bowl would make a win that much sweeter. Despite seeing his team nearly blowing a 24 point second half lead Matthew Stafford turned in another impressive performance against the Bucs. The Rams QB finished the day with passing for 366 yards and 2 TD’s and made a potential career defining 44 yard completing to Cooper Kupp to set up game winning field goal at the end of regulation. The 49ers O-line could be without Trent Williams who hasn’t practiced this week. If the game comes down to special teams the Rams hold the advantage.
Key to the Game-
Does Garoppolo protect the football? The Rams secondary comes into the game ranking 3rd in interceptions per game at 1.2 and have 22 totaled on the year. Despite Garoppolo’s ability to make big time plays in big time moments he inevitably will make some ill-advised throws especially if pressured. San Francisco likely won’t surviving another 2 INT day from Jimmy G this time around.
Eye Test Analytics Predicted Score- Los Angeles by 2.51 points