San Francisco 49ers try to keep rolling against Rams in NFC title game

For the San Francisco 49ers, the question is whether they can beat the Rams for a seventh consecutive time.

Six straight wins against the Rams will mean nothing to the San Francisco 49ers if they lose on Sunday. San Francisco, a plucky sixth seed nobody expected in the NFC Championship Game, are exactly that as it prepares for a visit to SoFi Stadium in the latter game this weekend.

How did this run start for the 49ers? With a Week 18 win over the Rams on that field, coming back from an early 17-0 deficit to beat the Rams and earn themselves a playoff berth. Now, with wins over the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers, San Francisco is one more road victory away from earning its second trip to the Super Bowl in three seasons.

 

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For the Niners, there’s reason to believe despite a pair of banged-up offensive stars in left tackle Trent Williams and do-it-all weapon Deebo Samuel. Not only has San Francisco swept the Rams in each of the past three seasons, but they (obviously) match up well. The 49ers pound the football and by doing so, keep the Los Angeles pass rush off-balance. Furthermore, the Niners get tremendous push from their defensive line, pressuring Matthew Stafford (and in past years, Jared Goff) who is long on arm strength but short on mobility.

If the Rams are going to finally break through, it stands here. They must handle the San Francisco front seven led by edge rusher Nick Bosa, defensive tackle Arik Armstead and inside linebacker Fred Warner. If that happens, Stafford will have time against a poor group of cornerbacks who are stuck trying to handle Cooper Kupp, Odell Beckham Jr. and Van Jefferson.

 

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There’s also the fascinating subplot of Jimmy Garoppolo. He has been fighting through injuries while his eventual replacement, first-round rookie Trey Lance, is on the bench. Should Garoppolo pull off the unfathomable and win the next two games, how does San Francisco move on from its veteran signal-caller? Garoppolo isn’t only fighting for a championship, he’s fighting for his job.

The two NFC West powers will meet Sunday night with a trip to Super Bowl LVI on the line. For the Niners, it’s about repeating what has become routine. Can they do it again? We’re about to find out.

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Author: Micheal Ramirez