Week 6 Storyline: 49ers-Rams battle for NFC West supremacy

Week 6 storyline: The 49ers travel to play the Rams in a battle for NFC West supremacy. Which coaching staff will dictate gameflow?

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan

Let’s sink our teeth into one game… But first, there are four contests remaining this week where both teams having winning records: Eagles-Vikings, Texans-Chiefs, Lions-Packers and the game I’m focusing on this week: 49ers-Rams.

Despite all the talk lately focused on the San Francisco 49ers’ offense and their perfect record, the Rams find themselves as a 3-pt favorite in Vegas. Considering San Fran’s run game obliterated the Browns last week, the 49ers have established themselves as a team that wants to line up to beat you up-front, move the pile and mix-up their zone run attack to then open it up with play-action passes. It’s been a pleasure to watch thus far.

However, keep an eye on the Niners’ defense today. San Fran has a +3 turnover differential (Rams are at -4). The 49ers have only allowed 57 points thru four contests (14.2 ppg / 4th-best). SF ranks second in pass defense (175.8 ypg) and fifth in run defense (81.8 ypg). The only other team within the top five in both these categories is the Patriots. Are the Niners really on that level? I suppose we’re about to find out! With Todd Gurley already ruled out, the 49ers’ secondary may be able to key on Cooper Kupp while the pass rush “pins their ears back” to get after Jared Goff.

Our resident ranker and keep of in-depth analysis Shawn Childs isn’t especially high on RB Malcolm Brown this week (24th-ranked RB PPR). Since his two-TD Week 1 performance, Brown has been relatively quiet in a limited role. This lack of playing time says more about LA’s confidence in a healthy Gurley up to this point though. With Gurley out, will the Rams pivot toward rookie RB Darrell Henderson? All that preseason hype he received as a potential sleeper seems like a million years ago already.


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What will win the game for the Rams? Of course it is their stud playmakers (Kupp, Robert Woods & Brandin Cooks). This WR trio has combined for 144 targets, 92 receptions, 1,185 yards, 58 first downs and five TDs. The Rams are passing the ball at a 66.7% rate. If Goff finds them early and can put points on the board, that would really derail San Francisco by dictating the gameflow. Taking the Niners out of their run-first, play-action focused offensive attack is really the name of the game here. We’ve seen what happens when the Rams start carving teams up offensively. In contrast, the 49ers are passing the ball only 43.4% of the time. Keep an eye on these respective playstyles and how the coaching staffs adjust to camouflaged tendencies.

So who will win?

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WEEK 6: WHO DO I START?

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Matt De Lima
About Matt De Lima 19 Articles
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