This Sunday the Rams have a very important division matchup against the 49ers. Both teams are right in the playoff mix and will be looking for a victory. If the Rams win they will be .500 for the first time since week six. Here are three keys to a Rams victory.
Run The Football
When Sam Bradford went down the season seemed lost. That was until the emergence of Zac Stacy. Stacy has added a spark to this offense and has been a reason the Rams have played well without Bradford.
Stacy will need to find success against a tough 49ers defense once again in order for the Rams to win. The last two times the Rams have defeated the 49ers they had 130+ yards on the ground.
In the past ten years that has happened only four times and the Rams are 3-0-1 in those meetings. The Rams’ all-time record when rushing for greater than 130 yards against the 49ers is 22-6-1. When the Rams rush for less they are 18-41. Finding success on the ground will play a major part in whether or not the Rams come home with a victory.
Stop Frank Gore
Among quarterbacks that have at least one start this season 49ers quarterback has the 20th fewest pass attempts this season, and the least among quarterbacks who have started every game.
The Rams will need to make Kaepernick beat them through the air. Kaepernick seems to be late on some of his throws this season which has caused him to be inaccurate at times and make mistakes.
Therefore in order for the Rams to win they will need to shut down the run which all starts with Frank Gore. If they can do that they may force a mistake or two from Kaepernick. The Rams run defense has been off and on lately. This Sunday, they will need to be on.
Protect Kellen Clemens
This should be a weekly thing, but it is an important one, especially against the 49ers who’s front seven is considered one of the best in the league, especially with the return of Aldon Smith.
When the 49ers start to unsettle the opposing quarterback and force them into mistakes is when they are the most dangerous. The 49ers sacked Bradford five times in the last meeting, that number will need to be much lower if the Rams plan on winning.
Clemens has played extremely well in the place of injured Sam Bradford. This week will be one of his toughest challenges to date and will need help from his offensive line to get by.
The Rams seem to be getting hot at the right time and will be looking to get their third upset in a row and keep their playoff hopes alive. If they do these three things successfully, they will definitely give themselves a chance.