Our staff writers break down the San Francisco 49ers Week 17 matchup, a road game against the Los Angeles Rams.
Let's dive into the keys to the game in this "Four Downs" preview of Sunday's matchup, presented by SunPower.1st Down:Who will score the 49ers first touchdown?@Joe_Fann: Pierre Garçon
Hyde is one touchdown away from a career high. I'm guessing he'll find paydirt on Sunday for the seventh time this season. With Hyde needing 150 yards to reach 1,000 on the season, don't be surprised to see the 49ers "feed Los" against the Rams. Los Angeles resting most of their big-name starters should only help Hyde's chances.
@KeianaMartinTV: Kyle Juszczyk
Juszczyk has had a stellar first season in San Francisco registering a career-high 327 yards from scrimmage. The Pro Bowler is coming off of another good game leading the team in receptions (five) and yards (76) last week against the Jacksonville Jaguars. I foresee Kyle Shanahan dialing up a pass to Juszczyk in the end zone for six to cap off the "offensive weapon's" notable season.2nd Down: Which 49ers defender will force a turnover?
@Joe_Fann: Eric Reid
Reid has two picks this season, both of which have come against NFC West opponents. An interception of the Rams would give Reid a takeaway against all three of the 49ers division rivals in 2017. He should have an opportunity or two against backup quarterback Sean Mannion.
Aside from a win, I can't think of anything that Foster would want to cap his rookie campaign more than a defensive score. Foster has had an impressive season, and if it wasn't for early injuries, he would have a strong case as the league's defensive rookie of the year. What a way to close a noteworthy season than forcing a turnover that turns into six points, compliments of "Roob."3rd Down: Which potential milestone will you be monitoring?
@Joe_Fann: Marquise Goodwin's chase for 1,000 yards
You don't need me to tell you that Goodwin has been through hell and back this year. Between the loss of his child as well as his biological father, it's incredible that he's continued to persevere and perform at a high level. Goodwin needs just 66 yards for his first 1,000-yard season, and I'd love to see him reach the milestone. He's been everything the 49ers had hoped for and then some. Goodwin's rapport with Garoppolo has been a key factor in San Francisco's late-season surge.
When you go back through the recent history of this matchup, Hyde has had the Rams number. The 49ers premier back has totaled 90-plus yards from scrimmage and two rushing touchdowns in two of his last three contests against the Rams. Los Angeles has allowed 100-plus rushing yards in more than half of their contests this season. It's far-fetched, but still a possibility for Hyde to rack up 150 rushing yards against the Rams reserves on Sunday for his first-career 1,000-yard season. 4th Down: What is your bold prediction?
@Joe_Fann: 49ers defense gets three interceptions
It's hard to have a prediction that qualifies as "bold" when the 49ers are expected to see so many backups on Sunday. How about another three-interception performance for San Francisco's defense? Sure, why not. They'll look to feast against Mannion on New Year's Eve.
@KeianaMartinTV:49ers defense registers five sacks and two takeaways
I'm ready to see the 49ers defense have a day in Los Angeles. Last week against the playoff-bound Jags, the 49ers totaled three takeaways and a sack. The Rams are resting quarterback Jared Goff and MVP candidate Todd Gurley among a handful of other starters. With a big game on Sunday, the 49ers defense can leave a lasting memory on the Rams heading into 2018.