Los Angeles Rams vs. San Francisco 49ers: Matchups, prediction for Monday night Superteam action

How does the Los Angeles Rams vs. San Francisco 49ers game line up for Monday Night Football? Plus, a prediction for this NFC West battle.

On Monday Night Football, the Los Angeles Rams vs. San Francisco 49ers pits two teams receiving opposite fortunes in the 2021 NFL season. Both clubs feature two boy geniuses coaching offensive attacks that could make even the most hardcore traditionalists swoon. One head coach appears ready to take on the top of the NFC, while the other clings to relevancy and playoff contention.

Los Angeles Rams offense vs. San Francisco 49ers defense

The Rams’ offense spent most of the year at the top of the expected points added per play mountain, but after their awful performance against the Titans, Los Angeles has fallen to No. 3. It’s no wonder general manager Les Snead used his dark magic to lure Odell Beckham Jr. to the Rams when all reports failed even to reference the team as an option.

Assassins work in the night. But as we’ve seen with “superteams” in the past, they rarely end with a championship.

Meanwhile, the 49ers sneak just outside the top 10 in defensive success rate but are 24th in defensive EPA/play allowed. They’ve struggled to defend the pass. But that’s to be expected when 33-year-old Josh Norman is a starter on your football team in 2021. But San Francisco’s most significant issue is the loss of both safeties.

Matthew Stafford vs. 49ers defense

Matthew Stafford is a great quarterback, but we got ahead of ourselves early in the season by touting him as the rightful heir to the MVP crown. We saw how Sean McVay was able to get the best out of Jared Goff for years. Now, we’ve seen Goff fold into a shell in Detroit. Stafford was good in Detroit, and he’s excellent in LA, but he’s not worthy of the MVP in terms of true value.

[bet-promo id=”160605″ ]

Facing a depleted 49ers secondary, Stafford should have no issues carving them up. Arik Armstead and Nick Bosa are problems on the defensive front, but any interceptions will probably be a fluke or caused by a mental mistake from Stafford himself. Overall, San Francisco’s defense doesn’t pose much of an issue.

Advantage: Rams

Rams skill position players vs. 49ers secondary

Even before the OBJ addition, the Rams’ offensive weapons had the upper hand in this matchup. In fact, even against a healthy Niners secondary, LA would have held the advantage. Now, with San Francisco dealing with a plethora of injuries and Beckham possibly suiting up on Monday night, this becomes one of the most lopsided positional matchups we’ve seen all season.

Cooper Kupp might be the true MVP on the Rams’ roster. His 103 targets, 74 receptions, 1,019 yards, 10 touchdowns, and 47 first downs all lead the league. He’s first in yards above replacement among wide receivers and ranks seventh in DVOA, Football Outsiders’ efficiency metric. Kupp’s also been unbelievable after the catch.

Advantage: Rams

Rams offensive line vs. 49ers defensive front

Despite not having a ton of fanfare surrounding them, the Rams’ offensive line is performing masterfully so far in 2021. There’s no actual weak spot on the front five. Somehow, Andrew Whitworth gets the job done at a high level despite receiving Social Security checks.

Football Outsiders ranks LA’s line in the top five in both adjusted line yards and adjusted sack rate. However, the Rams’ overall rushing success is lacking compared to our perception. That’s because they take Darrell Henderson off the field. He’s been excellent in 2021, but the No. 2 RB in Los Angeles has been a sore spot this season since Cam Akers went down.

Meanwhile, the 49ers’ defensive front doesn’t offer much in name recognition aside from its big three. Nevertheless, they’re top 10 against the run in success rate, EPA/play, and DVOA. Fred Warner is the defensive playmaker to watch for. Nobody aside from Eric Kendricks sniffs his ability in coverage, and he’s a far better run defender than people give him credit for.

He is, unfortunately, only one man.

Advantage: Rams

San Francisco 49ers offense vs. Los Angeles Rams defense

When he’s been healthy in previous years, Jimmy Garoppolo has had success in San Francisco’s offense. That has been far from the case in 2021, even though the 49ers boast one of the most dominant receivers in football in Deebo Samuel. He can take a screen 80 yards on command.

Garoppolo is limited, but it’s not like he’s lost any of his ability. San Francisco’s offense ranks 21st in success rate, and big plays are what drive their attack. Elijah Mitchell has provided some juice to their rushing attack, but they don’t have a cohesive unit.

Meanwhile, the Rams’ defense is exactly what you’d expect it to be. Their strength is against the pass. Their front of Von Miller (it’s still incredible he’s on this team), Aaron Donald, Leonard Floyd, Greg Gaines, and A’Shawn Robinson is an unfair unit.

Jimmy Garoppolo vs. Rams defense

This should be Garoppolo’s final game as the 49ers’ starting quarterback unless Kyle Shanahan and Co. simply want to redshirt Trey Lance, whose biggest issue is lack of reps.

Nothing Garoppolo does will stress the Rams defense. The most complimentary thing I can say about Jimmy G is that he’s a great ball-handler. His play-action ability is very strong, and he’s good at getting the ball out in the quick game. But his ball placement issues hurt his receivers’ run-after-catch ability, which is essential to San Francisco’s offense.

49ers skill position players vs. Rams secondary

Jalen Ramsey spends a large chunk of his time in the slot for Raheem Morris’ defense. Until Week 7, that’s where he spent the majority of his snaps. I anticipate Ramsey will point at Samuel on the first play of the game and spend the rest of the game as his personal gnat.

However, a healthy George Kittle changes the 49ers’ entire dynamic offensively. He is an equalizer. Linebackers aren’t athletic enough to cover him, and defensive backs aren’t up to the physical task of covering a future AEW star.

Taylor Rapp, Jordan Fuller, and Darious Williams are all adequate secondary options, but Kittle provides a mismatch. If he dominates early, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Ramsey peel off Samuel to cover Kittle, at least when he detaches.

Advantage: 49ers

49ers offensive line vs. Rams defensive front

A “lol” seems disrespectful, but I’m not sure if there is anything to do but laugh. The left side of the 49ers line is very strong. Trent Williams is the best left tackle in football. Additionally, Laken Tomlinson and Alex Mack are playing well.

But with Miller, Floyd, and Donald all on the same line, pain is imminent. Watching Miller vs. Williams might be the most fun we have with an individual positional matchup all week. They’re two of the best, and they’re both veterans. That chess match will be beautiful.

I expect Donald to be matched up on the right side against Daniel Brunskill, and I expect Floyd to have his way with Tom Compton.

Advantage: Rams

Betting line and game prediction

The Los Angeles Rams vs. San Francisco 49ers game currently features a 4-point spread favoring the Rams on the road. I’m beating my head against the wall trying to figure out why this is only a 4-point spread.

Home-field advantage isn’t a thing for the 49ers. In fact, because of COVID-19 restrictions last season, San Francisco hasn’t won a game at Levi’s Stadium since 2019. Those were simpler times for the Niners.

I don’t see this game being particularly close. The Rams played poorly against Tennessee, but I fully expect them to bounce back from that poor offensive performance to put it on a divisional opponent.

The seat is getting hotter for Kyle Shanahan, and few NFL coaches have greater personnel, roster, and organizational influence. There’s no denying the 49ers’ failures are his failures.

Rams vs. 49ers Prediction: Rams 31, 49ers 21

Listen to the PFN Inside Access Podcast!

Listen to the PFN Inside Access Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Fantasy Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review!

Related Articles