The San Francisco 49ers are set to face the Los Angeles Rams once again. This time, the 49ers head south to SoFi Stadium as they look to sweep the season series against Los Angeles for the fourth-consecutive season, having defeated the Rams earlier this season, 24-9, in Week 4.
In The Bay vs. LA rematch, the Rams enter Week 8 with reinforcements that weren't available in Week 4. Here's a look at which players could be coming back to play for Los Angeles:
- Wide receiver Van Jefferson, defensive back Troy Hill and center Brian Allen are all expected to contribute to the team immediately. Jefferson and Hill were designated for return from Injured Reserve on Monday and returned to practice this week, and Allen is back in action after sustaining a knee injury in the team's season opener.
- Linebacker Travin Howard was also designated for return. Howard is likely to provide depth behind linebackers Bobby Wagner and Ernest Jones.
- Defensive lineman Bobby Brown III's six-game suspension came to an end during the Rams Week 7 Bye. Brown III returned to practice this week, however, his availability for Sunday's game is still to be determined, according to Rams head coach Sean McVay.
The Rams defense is coming off of their Bye week ranking fifth overall in the league. In LA's most recent contest against the Carolina Panthers, the Rams had seven defenders record at least four tackles: Jones (seven), Wagner (seven), DT A'Shawn Robinson (six), DT Marquise Copeland (six), DB Taylor Rapp (five), LB Leonard Floyd (four) and DT Aaron Donald (four). In the third quarter of their Week 6 game, LA's defense held the Panthers to just 17 yards and stopped the Panthers offense from scoring any touchdowns for the entire game.
Meanwhile, the 49ers are coming off a 44-23 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. In that contest, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo completed 25-of-37 passing attempts for 303 yards, including a pair of touchdown passes to wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud III and tight end George Kittle, who hauled in six receptions for a team-high 98 yards. It was a complete team effort on SF's offense as wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk registered seven catches for 82 yards and wide receiver Deebo Samuel grabbed five catches for 42 yards. As for the 49ers run game, Jeff Wilson Jr. recorded 54 yards on seven rushing attempts and Christian McCaffrey notched 62 total scrimmage yards in his 49ers debut.
Defensively for the 49ers, cornerback Charvarius Ward tallied a team-high 10 tackles. Talanoa Hufanga intercepted Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes to give the safety a team-high third INT on the season. Defensive lineman Nick Bosa sacked Mahomes once, earning his seventh sack this season and also tying for second-most among the NFL. The Rams 31st-overall ranked offense will be up against a 49ers defense that is ranked third overall in the league.
Bosa and San Francisco's defensive line have a chance to tally even more sacks this week, as the Rams offensive line has allowed a total of 22.0 on Stafford. Taking down LA's quarterback will be a key to success for the 49ers, as he finished against the Panthers with a 78.8% completion percentage, his highest since joining the Rams in 2021. The 49ers defense will also need to find a way to contain Stafford's top targets. Wide receiver Allen Robinson II recorded 63 yards on five catches and one touchdown in Week 6, a season-high in receiving yards for Robinson. Wide receiver Cooper Kupp finished the game against Carolina with 80 yards on seven catches – the third game in a row that Kupp has tallied at least 75 receiving yards.
Taking a look at both team's rosters, there are plenty of one-on-one matchups to look out for. But to 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, it all comes down to the most physical team.
"It's a pretty simple game with both of us, because we know each other well and it usually turns into a physicality game," Shanahan said. "Who turns the ball over the least and who makes one more play than the other."