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How the 49ers and Rams Stack Up in NFC Championship Rematch: Oppositional Research 💪

The San Francisco 49ers host the Los Angeles Rams for a rematch of last season's NFC Championship Game on "Monday Night Football" at Levi's® Stadium. The 49ers lead the all-time series 75-68-3, winning seven of the last ten matchups, and will be looking for their fourth-straight home win against the Rams.

Here's a list of every 49ers vs. Rams matchup since the 2019 season:

Table inside Article
Date Visiting Team Home Team Result
10/13/2019 49ers Rams 20-07, 49ers
12/21/2019 Rams 49ers 34-31, 49ers
10/18/2020 Rams 49ers 24-16, 49ers
10/29/2020 49ers Rams 23-20, 49ers
11/15/2021 Rams 49ers 31-10, 49ers
01/09/2021 49ers Rams 27-24, 49ers
01/30/2022 49ers Rams 20-17, Rams

The Rams are coming off their first win against an NFC West opponent, following their Week 3 win over the Arizona Cardinals. In that game, Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford completed 18-of-25 passes for 249 yards. Wide receiver Cooper Kupp was Stafford's main target, finishing with four catches for 44 yards and a rushing touchdown. Kupp extended his streak of games with a touchdown to nine, the longest active streak in the NFL.

Stafford's explosive offense will be matched up against a 49ers defense that is one of the best in the league. San Francisco ranks first in passing defense and second in total defense. The team's secondary has been a more consistent threat in 2022 with the addition of cornerback Charvarius Ward and an increase of game action from second-year safety Talanoa Hufanga. In fact, Hufanga is listed at No. 3 in Next Gen Stat's early top-10 safeties rankings. The analytics site described the safety's playing style as a "heat-seeking missile" with a "blend of speed, football IQ and relentless physicality." So far this season, Hufanga has recorded twice as many run stuffs (six) as any other defensive back, allowed just one reception for nine yards on six targets and notched an interception and three passes defensed, including deflecting a pass for Tashaun Gipson Sr. to pick off.

The 49ers front seven have also been successful three weeks into the 2022 season, racking up a total of 8.0 sacks, 21 quarterback hits and 20 tackles for loss. In last week's contest, the 49ers held the Broncos to 261 total net yards. Linebacker Dre Greenlaw registered a team-high 10 tackles, while the defensive line got to Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson four times on the night. Defensive lineman Nick Bosa tallied his fourth sack of the season, while defensive lineman Drake Jackson also got to Wilson, registering the first sack of his career.

San Francisco's D-line will have to find their way through a Rams offensive front that allowed just 1.0 sack on 26 drop-backs in Week 3. The 49ers can look to the Buffalo Bills recipe of getting to the quarterback, as they took down Stafford a total of seven times in Week 1. While there is quite a bit of familiarity between these two teams, Los Angeles' offensive line looks much different from the last matchup in January. Joe Noteboom has taken over as the Rams starting left tackle, in place of now-retired Andrew Whitworth. Additionally, Coleman Shelton has taken over at right guard, filling the void left by former Rams lineman Austin Corbett. Locating any holes within the Rams offensive line will be a major factor to stopping the Rams offense.

The Rams also have a new chess piece on defense in Bobby Wagner. Head coach Kyle Shanahan detailed how the six-time All-Pro linebacker now impacts the Rams defense.

"They don't change much, it just gives them a few more options," Shanahan said. "Bobby's a middle linebacker who is also a very good pass rusher, so each week they can play him at different positions."

Through the first three games of the season, Wagner has registered 23 total tackles (two for loss), 2.0 sacks and three quarterback hits. He's also helped the Rams post the second-highest run stop win rate in the NFL at 38 percent, according to ESPN analytics.

The 49ers often find success against the Rams when they can establish the run game. In last season's 31-10 win on "Monday Night Football," San Francisco ran the ball 44 times for 156 yards. In their second meeting of 2021, the 49ers 31 rushing attempts for 135 yards was also a key to the team's success. On the flip side, when the Rams held the 49ers to just 20 rushing attempts for 50 yards in the NFC Championship Game, Los Angeles stamped their ticket to the Super Bowl.

Running back Jeff Wilson Jr. will be the man for the job in Week 4. Last week in Denver, Wilson Jr. recorded a career-long run of 37 yards while racking up 106 net yards on the night. He'll be backed up by running backs Jordan Mason and Marlon Mack who are likely to get in the mix.

One of the biggest matchups to watch in Monday's contest will be the Rams secondary up against 49ers offensive weapons in wide receivers Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk and tight end George Kittle. In Week 3, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo completed 18 of his 29 passing attempts for a total of 211 yards, including a three-yard touchdown pass to Aiyuk. Samuel registered a team-high five receptions for 73 yards.

In order to secure their second win at home, the 49ers offense will have to be one step ahead of cornerback Jalen Ramsey. In last week's contest, Ramsey allowed five receptions on his 12 targets, notching four passes defended and one interception. If San Francisco can mix up their offensive game and deploy Samuel in a variety of ways, it could make it tough on Ramsey and Los Angeles' secondary to cover the "wide back" for the entirety of the contest.

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