49ers: Game breakdown and prediction for Week 16 against the Los Angeles Rams

49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

With only two weeks left until the playoffs, the San Francisco 49ers look to their own division to try and find two more wins to seal a home playoff game.

The penultimate week of the regular season in the NFL is upon us and the San Francisco 49ers look to bounce back from a disappointing (and surprising) home loss last weekend to the Atlanta Falcons.

Their opponent this week is none other than Jared Goff and the Los Angeles Rams, whom the 49ers completely dismantled back in Week 6.

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The Niners held Goff and the Rams to just seven points and shut the reigning NFC champs down for the last three quarters to win a 20-7 ball game on the back of their defense.

That was also the game we started to see the 49ers defense emerge as one of the best units in football behind just the New England Patriots’ that was setting records of its own.

If not for the Patriots’ success in the early season, this 49ers defense would’ve been the talk of the town and mentioned up there in the history books for the pace it was setting.

But now we come to Week 16 and things are a bit different with both of these teams. While there’s no question the 49ers are the better team in the grander scheme, you have to give it up to the Rams and the little run they’ve been on in the last month.

The Rams dropped to 3-3 back in the earlier weeks on the back of three-straight losses to Tampa Bay, Seattle, and these very 49ers. But since then, they’ve gone 5-3 and have kept themselves (at least) in the playoff hunt.

For a team that has clearly taken a step back from last year and all the success they had, it goes without saying that they’re still a well-run/well-coached organization that’s developing a culture for winning consistently, even when they’re not very good like this season.

That being said, I’m taking the Rams in this matchup and here’s why.

We look at the product the Niners have put out the last two weeks on defense and you can’t help but take notice that they gave up 46 points to Drew Brees in that crazy shootout game in New Orleans and just last week had Matt Ryan and the Falcons go 7-for-13 on third down attempts with a bunch of their defensive players out of action.

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As it sits right now, Richard Sherman and K’Waun Williams were both full participants in practice this week, so those two hopefully getting back in the lineup is going to give their secondary a spark again.

But at the same time, both of those guys were in the Saints game and Brees still picked them apart.

We now see a Rams team that has improved in the passing game and seen a tremendous uptick in interior offensive line play over the last several weeks. Jared Goff has gotten time to throw and the Rams’ offense has gotten back into a groove because of it.

Yes, they got ramrodded last week in Dallas, but that only makes me believe more that they’ll come back here and get revenge on a division rival who smoked them last time out at home.

Maybe I’m completely wrong and overthinking this, but I see the Rams coming out hot in this game and finding a lot of success throwing the football, as well as seeing their defense step up in stopping the run and getting to Jimmy Garoppolo in the pass rush.

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Give me the Rams 28-24 in this one. The 49ers take another tough loss, but still have next week to look forward to with a rematch in Seattle.