The Rams can’t afford to lose any more games during the regular season. This weeks match up against the stout San Francisco 49ers, is the hardest game for the rest of the season. The Rams have already proven they can keep up with the 9ers, when they put up an applaudable effort in week 10. That performance will be quickly forgotten if the 9ers come to St.Louis and steam role the Rams. The 9ers defense have looked the part since the draw against the Rams, with Aldon Smith leading the sack count in the NFL and Justin Smith bull rushing anything that comes near him. The addition of centre Scott Wells puts the preferred offensive linemen back into the Rams offense. Every Ram offensive linemen must perform against the intimidating San Francisco 49ers defense. Colin Kaepernick has been promoted to the starting quarterback position, overtaking the talented yet unlucky Alex Smith. Kaepernick has built himself a reputation for being able to make plays out of nothing, throwing on the run and throwing an accurate dart downfield. Kaepernick is a winner. So what to do the Rams need to do to stop his snow balling confidence?
- Must stop Collin Kaepernick. Kaepernick only started in three games, all of which he has dominated. Kaepernick is pretty much a starting rookie who has excelled under Coach Harbourgh. Although he has had great games in the past, he is still very inexperienced. The Rams must get in his grill early to make a statement that the NFL isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Kaepernick was one of the main reasons why the 49ers were able to walk away with a draw against the Rams. Robert Quinn and Chris Long must be mentally prepared to be chasing around Kaepernick around the field for four quarters. The Secondary also must be prepared for the wide receivers to improvise, as Kaepernick will be extending plays with his legs. Kaepernick has ran for four touchdowns, with a quarterback rating of 102.3.
- Must get turnovers. Prior to the Arizona Cardinals game, the Rams were facing six weeks without a win (including the bye). The Rams also didn’t have a turnover in six weeks. Can you see the relation there? Turnovers win games, the same will apply against the 49ers. If the Rams are able to make their defense feel as though they have 15 on the field, expect Kaepernick to go into his shell and make rookie mistakes. This is obviously a lot easier said then done, but if the Rams ‘D’ can carry over the momentum from the Cardinals game, expect Alex Smith to make an appearance.
- Must make the most of their opportunities. Lets start with Greg Zuerlein. He’s been impressive this season and has made some jaw dropping field goals, but he can’t afford to be missing from inside the 40. Against the Cardinals, Zuerlein lined up from 38 yards and missed a golden opportunity to put the nail in the coffin. The Rams won quite comfortably in the end, but if Zuerlein’s poor performances continues against the 49ers, don’t even think about the Rams winning this game.
- Rams must be disciplined. Ram fans all know how penalties killed them against the 49ers in week 10. The Rams are ranked 3rd for the most penalties in the NFL with 89 for 687 yards. If the Rams give up stupid penalties against San Fran, expect the 9ers to make the Rams a laughing stock. Every yard counts and the Rams can’t afford to give any to the 49ers.
- Don’t let Collin Kaepernick get off to a good start. Young players heavily rely on their confidence, he’s what you call a ‘confidence player’. Despite Kaepernick’s great games, he is still very inexperienced and has less starts as most of the starting rookies from the 2012 class. The Rams will realise this and make sure they get up in his face early from preventing him to gain confidence.
- The Rams must not allow the 49ers defensive pass rushers to get on top anytime throughout the game. The Rams need Bradford to be on his feet if there is going to be any chance of winning this ball game. Although the 49ers’ sack numbers are down from previous years, they should never be underestimated as they can and do cause havoc.
- Don’t be one dimensional. The Rams must chuck in creative plays straight away, to keep the 49ers defense on their toes. If the Rams become to vanilla on offense, the 49ers will eat the Rams alive, Sam Bradford will be thrown around and it will be an ugly evening for the Rams.
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