Week 10: Searching For Gold

The San Francisco 49ers haven’t been too kind to the Rams in recent history. Since 2008, San Fran is 7-1 including two dominant shutouts at Candlestick Park.

THE SMITH’S
A pair of former Mizzou Tigers anchor the 49ers defensive line. The Rams’ patch work offensive line will have their work cut out with both Aldon and Justin Smith. Aldon has 7.5 sacks, and absolutely terrorized Arizona’s front five two weeks ago on Monday Night Football.

The O-line could get a boost if Rodger Saffold returns from a knee injury suffered in Week 1.

49ers OFFENSIVELY
They aren’t too explosive, but they don’t commit turnovers, and they control the clock. Frank Gore, now in his 8th season, still pounds the rock. Gore has 4 touchdowns and averages 5.5 yards per carry in 2012.

Alex Smith enjoys throwing to his tight ends Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker. The Rams defense has struggled covering everything over the past three weeks, but Rob Gronkowski had 8 catches for 146 yards and two scores…that’s a tad glaring.

TEARING UP THE BLITZ
Smith has the best completion percentage (71.6) when facing five or more pass rushers this season, throwing one interception in 67 attempts. The Rams have the fourth-worst completion percentage allowed (65.2) when using such pressure this season, and have the most attempts against (92) without an interception.

HARBAUGH FACTOR
Jim Harbaugh is a damn good football coach. He took the 49ers to the Conference Championship game his first year and has them 1st in the NFC West so far in 2012. The defense is allowing a league low 12.9 points per game. San Francisco (6-2) has won four of five, allowing a total of 12 points without a single touchdown in those victories.

The Rams must watch for Harbaugh’s trickery. He had the kicker throw a 14-yard TD pass the last time these two teams met. Will he implement backup QB Colin Kaepernick into the game plan?

SJ39
Jackson has a diminishing role offensively, but his presence is still a decoy for opponents. They respect his abilities…even though his average of 3.7 yards per carry is not threatening. In order to have any chance Sunday, the Rams need to effectively run the football. The rookie duo of Darryl Richardson and Isaiah Pead need a more prominent role on offense.

SAM GETS A BOOST A WR
Danny Amendola is scheduled to return from a collarbone injury which will help the woeful offense. Bradford has great chemistry with Amendola, and he’s huge on 3rd downs. Since 2010, the Rams are 10-12 when he is in the lineup and 2-15 when he is not in the lineup. He’s a solid slot receiver, but it’s perplexing how Bradford struggles to build chemistry with his other options.

The SF defense ranks #2 in the league on third down stops. That’s concerning.

FIND A TURNOVER.
The Rams have only two forced fumbles, and only one they recovered. That’s absurdly low. Bears’ CB Charles Tillman has SEVEN alone. Every NFL defense preaches turnovers. The turnover battle and 3rd down proficiency typically determine the outcome.

PREDICTION
I really don’t see a way the Rams win Sunday. The talent level is night and day. The Rams have had some futile trips West, and I see this one as being pretty dull. Fisher sees it as a toe-to-toe physical game…I do not.

SF 27 STL 10

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