The next chapter of the San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams rivalry will be written on Sunday in the teams' first meeting of the year. The red and gold are riding an eight-game regular season win streak headed into their Week 2 matchup while the Rams had the San Francisco's number in the 2022 NFC Championship Game. Late season encounters between these two clubs typically are high stakes and extremely competitive.
And while this rivalry certainly doesn't need it, there are more layers to it. Both head coaches - Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay - were hired to be first-time head coaches and come from the same Mike Shanahan coaching tree. Also, the big-time playmakers on both sides have remained largely the same, so familiarity continues to be a factor.
In their season opener, the Rams had several younger players, including wide receiver Puka Nacua and Tutu Atwell, impressed early. Even with new faces in the mix, Shanahan is still game planning for an LA team comparable to those of recent history.
"We have such a history with coaching staffs and the players being similar for so long," Shanahan said. "There are a lot of new (Rams) guys out there and with them playing in one game, you're trying to figure out some of the new players you don't have history with.
"Once you turn on the tape and see it, you don't know some of the guys, but you know No. 99 (Aaron Donald) and you know the quarterback (Matthew Stafford). Then you watch the schemes and nothing is really different. It's two really good schemes on both sides of the ball and two great players. It looks really similar and the result was really similar to what they have had in the past."
Defensive lineman Nick Bosa is zeroed in on Stafford, who is now in his third season with the Rams.
"Stafford is one of the best in the league, and he showed that last week," Bosa said. "We're going to have to pressure him, make him uncomfortable. However, it is a revamped O-line, new guys, so we'll have to watch some tape to get a feel."
In addition to extending a regular season win streak over the Rams, a victory over LA would also extend the 49ers current seven-game win streak over NFC West opponents. San Francisco came away with a win in all six of its meetings with teams in the division in 2022 and defeated the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Wild Card Round. It would also keep the team on track early, which is something they've hoped to change from the previous two seasons.
"When you start on the road and if you can start out 2-0, there are only so many road games," Shanahan said. "You'd always rather them be at home, so when you have that good of a record to start, it's just more momentum going forward."