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49ers vs. Rams: Who wins, and why?

The Niners Nation staff predicts Saturday’s game

San Francisco 49ers v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers host their last regular-season home game against the Los Angeles Rams. Here are our staff predictions for the game.


I’m expecting San Francisco to come in ticked off for this one. The Rams really struggled up front on both sides of the ball against the Cowboys, and that should continue Saturday against the 49ers. Getting Richard Sherman and K’Waun Williams back should help the defense get back to their aggressive nature. I don’t know if you guys watched Todd Gurley run the ball Sunday, but he looks done, so I’m not too worried about the running game.

I’d guess the offense gets back to the basics, as they try to get their outside running game going, play-action game working, and spreading the ball around. When everyone is involved it makes the team less predictable and more dangerous. Shanahan may be out to prove a point, which means trick plays and big plays. I think we’re in store for a big Deebo Samuel game, as well as Mostert getting back on track. 23-13, 49ers.

El Pato

Remember when the 49ers dominated the rams two months ago? Of course, you do. Well, things are different now. There’s no Kwon Alexander, Dee Ford, D.J. Jones, and others. Oh, and the Rams now have Jalen Ramsey, which should be all sorts of interesting.

There’s a difference though: The 49ers know they absolutely have to win this game. There’s also no Julio Jones today to spoil the fun. This should start as the last game with the Rams getting a bit of the upper hand, but I expect the 49ers to shake off the cobwebs and turn things around towards the end.

The only thing I really want is for Jimmy Garoppolo to dice up the Rams this time. I do not want the 49ers to win via the scheme, and I want dicing. I also want to steal Jeff’s score

21-17, 49ers

Akash Anavarathan

Rams’ quarterback Jared Goff threw for 78 yards the last time the Rams and 49ers played this season. SEVENTY EIGHT.

The 49ers get corners Richard Sherman and K’Waun Williams back and I think it’s a defense that’s going to be fired up after letting Matt Ryan throw them off the field.

Offensively, Kyle Shanahan will need to figure out how to slow down Aaron Donald, after Falcons’ Grady Jarrett wrecked their game plan with interior pressure last week. I think they are able to do just enough against a Rams’ defense that will be missing corner Troy Hill.

49ers know this is a must-win game and get on the Rams early and cruise to a victory in the second half.

21-13, 49ers

Jeff Medina (@JeffMedina49)

The 49ers handled the Rams two months ago in Los Angeles winning convincingly 20-7, but several of the players from the Niners team that played in that first matchup - Kwon Alexander, Jaquiski Tartt, Dee Ford, D.J. Jones, and Ronald Blair - will be missing from the rematch on Saturday. On the positive side, Richard Sherman and K’waun Williams - both of whom missed the 49er’s previous game against the Falcons - are expected to be active against the Rams this week.

So, the question is, can this patchwork version of the 49ers defense limit the Rams offense on Saturday as effectively as the team did in October? I think that they can, primarily because they’ll be playing at home where they’ve been significantly better than on the road. According to pro football reference, the Niners defense is limiting opposing QB’s rating to a paltry 71.8 at home, compared to 93.2 on the road. They’re also better at home in opponent yards per attempt (5.0/6.7), sacks (29/18), 1st downs allowed (37/56), yards allowed per play (4.85/6.04), and opponent completion percentage (59.7/63.7).

All of this is to say that even with injuries, the 49ers should be able to contain Jared Goff and the Rams offense on Saturday. For the 49ers on offense, expect Jimmy Garoppolo and company to struggle early on trying to get the ground game up and running. But eventually abandoning it and putting the game on the shoulders of Emmanuel Sanders, Deebo Samuel, and of course, George Kittle and the passing game. I expect the offense to do just enough to pull out a win, setting up the winner take all contest in week 17 against the Seahawks for all of the marbles.

49ers, 21-17

Mark Saltveit (@taoish)

I think this is the game the Niners’ offense gets untracked. Once the Rams realize they’re not going to win and are out of the playoffs, they give up, and the route is on.

49ers, 44 - 24

Alex E

First, I want to wish my Niners Nation family a very happy and healthy holiday season and happy new year!! The 49ers look to bounce back from the “Trap” game as they take on their division rivals. I really like the matchup here for the 49ers. There should be plenty of motivation for the 49ers on Saturday...Number 1 seed in the NFC up for grabs...redemption from last week’s performance...a chance to eliminate your division rivals from playoff contention. The team is getting healthier with key contributors returning to action including Richard Sherman. I also like the 49ers’ defensive line vs. the Rams offensive line. The Niners should win the battle in the trenches and put constant pressure on Jared Goff, who is prone to make costly mistakes in high-pressure spots. The offense should bounce back, and I expect a much more balanced attack from Jimmy G spreading the ball. The run game should bounce back as well with its three-headed monster. Division battles are always tense, and the Rams are a desperate football team...and desperate teams can be dangerous teams in this league. Still, the 49ers are the better team, and if they play to their potential, I expect they will come out victorious and give The Faithful and early holiday present!

Josh E

The 49ers control their own destiny heading into the final two weeks of the season and, if they win out, can lock up the #1 overall seed in the playoffs - all that’s standing in their way are some division rivals. No biggy, right?

The way the 49ers have been playing all year suggests that this should be an easy win. Los Angeles has their backs against the wall but is technically still alive (they, too, must win out and need Minnesota to lose their final two games). You better believe they’re going to come at San Francisco with all they have, which is why I think this contest may be closer than we think. Jared Goff’s play has been all over the place (and that’s putting it nicely), Todd Gurley is a ghost of his former self, and the offensive line is...uninspiring. But, hey, LA is still in the playoff hunt, so something crazy could happen. But it is not likely. Jimmy Garoppolo has been playing some MVP-caliber football on the back-half of the season, and Raheem Mostert is playing football like he is the greatest player of all time. This game may be close, but the Niners should still come out on top.

49ers win 28-20

Silverado Kev

I’ve never really liked the whole prediction thing, but I’ve done it and will do it again here for the sake of the topic and not to mention it’s my first time providing input. To be fully transparent, as I’m the type to lie for you before I lie to you. I can care less what the score is long as we have more points than they do. I have a hunch between the level of football played last week on both sides of the ball, the embarrassment of losing to the 4-9 Falcons, and losing again on the last play of the game the 49ers come out looking to end it early.

I see them scoring more than the 20 they scored in the first game but also giving up more points. These injuries have truly began to take a toll and a ripple effect. The pass rush, suffers, and so the back end suffers. I do think they’ll find a way to win and still play pretty good defense. Some confuse multiple sacks with good defense, not the case. So, I’ll say, instead of just scoring 20, we win by that same 20. Jimmy G, Mostert, Deebo, Kittle highlight the offense with contributions from the rest of the crew. On D, Sherm gets an INT, Bosa has 2 sacks and the D gets 5 total sacks. JUST NEED THE OLINE TO HOLD UP.

49ers 37- Rams 17