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Early Week 16 Preview: 49ers at Rams

View images of the key players on the Los Angeles Rams, the 49ers first regular season opponent of 2016.

The San Francisco 49ers (1-13) go back on the road in Week 16 to play another divisional rival. The Los Angeles Rams (4-10) have experienced a challenging season like their long-time NFC West foe.

Los Angeles became the first NFL team to make a coaching change during the 2016 season. Jeff Fisher was relieved of his duties two weeks ago in favor of special teams coordinator John Fassel, who will finish the year as the Rams interim coach. Under his guidance, Los Angeles is 0-1, dropping a Week 15 divisional game to the Seattle Seahawks on "Thursday Night Football."

Here's a closer look at Saturday's Christmas Eve matchup.
All-time Record: 67-64-3 (1-0 in the postseason)

San Francisco's longest divisional rival returned to Southern California prior to the 2016 season. The 49ers have won two consecutive meetings over their SoCal counterparts. Saturday's matchup in Los Angeles will be the first 49ers-Rams game in LA since 1979.

Previous Matchup: 49ers 28 – Rams 0 (Sept. 13, 2013 at Levi's®Stadium)

A Blaine Gabbert-led San Francisco offense produced a season-high four touchdowns on "Monday Night Football." The 49ers defense intercepted Rams quarterback Case Keenum twice and kept LA off the scoreboard. Los Angeles' veteran signal-caller has since been replaced by No. 1 overall draft pick Jared Goff. Pierre Garçon rushed for 88 yards and two scores in the 28-0 rout.

The Rams Best Player: Todd Gurley

The stats this year might say otherwise, but the player the 49ers defensive gameplan will center around is the second-year running back. Gurley has 241 carries for 778 rushing yards and five scores this year. It's been a down year compared to his rookie production, but Gurley has the ability to beat an opponent by himself. Veteran receiver Kenny Britt also deserves recognition in this category. Britt has caught 67 passes for 987 receiving yards with five touchdown grabs.

Who You Should Get to Know: Alec Ogletree

Los Angeles' defensive leader is sixth in the NFL with 124 tackles. The middline linebacker also has 10 pass breakups, two interceptions and one forced fumble. The new-look 49ers offensive line must be aware of No. 52's whereabouts on Saturday. Ogletree's matchup against Hyde is one to watch.

Where They Excel: Pass Defense

The Rams rank ninth in the NFL, allowing 229.9 yards per game. In Week 1, Gabbert was held to 170 passing yards. Los Angeles only has seven interceptions this season (tied for 28th), but they've been able to limit big passing plays by opposing passers.

Where They Struggle: Scoring Points

Part of why they changed quarterbacks and coaches this season, the Rams rank last in the league in points per game (14.1). Los Angeles has been held without a touchdown in four games this year, including Week 1 against the 49ers.

Goff's role for Saturday will be finalized later in the week. The rookie is still in the concussion protocol after taking a big hit from Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman. The Rams have discussed elevating Sean Mannion to be the club's backup quarterback for Week 16.

Stay tuned.

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