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49ers-Rams game predictions: Will the Niners pull off the upset?

San Francisco is 0-3 at Levi’s Stadium to start the season. Will they get their first victory of the year this week?

Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers are getting a set for a huge NFC West showdown against the Los Angeles Rams. The Niners have had embarrassing back-to-back performances and desperately need to get back in the win column if they want to try and contend for one of the seven NFC playoff berths.

San Francisco’s defense is still missing its best players with Nick Bosa, Richard Sherman, K’Waun Williams, and Dee Ford sidelined with injuries, but some help is on the way. Cornerback Emmanuel Moseley is expected to play, which should be a big help to the secondary after Brian Allen got lit up by the Miami Dolphins last week. Linebacker Kwon Alexander has a high ankle sprain and will be OUT for Sunday’s matchup.

The Rams are 4-1 to start the season but have benefited from playing a soft schedule, with their strength of victory sitting at .225. Aaron Donald is the best defensive lineman in the league, meaning the 49ers’ offensive line will have to be a whole lot better than it has over the past two weeks.

Here are the predictions for Week 6 from Niners Nation contributors:

Kyle Posey: For divisional games, throw out the records. These teams know each other like the back of their hand. That’s the case for most division games, but even more so with a Sean McVay and Kyle Shanahan matchup. These defenses see each offense every day in training camp. There will be no secrets on the field Sunday night.

Shanahan said on Monday that he feels like the offense is throwing too much. I didn’t take that as a slight to the offensive line or Jimmy G, but more of an indication that Kyle wants to get back to his roots. It also signals that he understands he has to win on the ground. It sounds like it’ll be a blessing in disguise as the offense is at its best when Raheem Mostert gets rolling. That opens up everything else for the offense, especially throwing lanes for Garoppolo. The Niners will lean heavily on Mostert and Jerick McKinnon both on the ground and through the air en route to a surprising victory that gets our hopes up for at least another week.

Kyle’s prediction: 27-26, 49ers.

Rob Guerrera: The toughest games to win are always those where an opponent’s strength matches up with your weaknesses. I think the Rams’ defensive line will dominate and confuse San Francisco’s offensive line, smothering the ground game. I also expect Sean McVay to put Jalen Ramsey on George Kittle for most of the night, forcing Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk to beat tight coverage, which they haven’t shown the ability to do consistently. I think it gets ugly, fast.

Rob’s prediction: 35-13, Rams.

Jas Kang: Injuries have ravaged the Niners’ defense, but there are no excuses for the offense. Everyone is back and healthy, so head coach Kyle Shanahan needs to instill a better game plan to get the unit rolling. This includes dialing up some more rushing plays to take advantage of the Rams’ 24th-ranked run defense. Los Angeles has squeaked by some awful teams this season, so I am not as sold as others might be by its record. San Francisco needs to get to QB Jared Goff. The Niners rank third in QB pressure percentage but have just 10 total sacks to show for it. I don’t think the 49ers are as bad as they have played, and I expect them to look a lot better on Sunday night. I have picked San Francisco to win in each of its five games, and I am sticking with it in Week 6. Garoppolo should bounce back, and Raheem Mostert will have a big game to lead the 49ers to a much-needed victory.

Jas’ prediction: SF wins, 31-27

What is your prediction for the final score?