Oct 5, 2014; Santa Clara, CA, USA; A young San Francisco 49ers fan tries on the hat of the mascot, Sourdough Sam, during the fourth quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs at Levi
Another week, another Top 10 matchup for the St. Louis Rams, who are set to tipoff their intra-divisional schedule against the San Francisco 49ers in prime time on Monday Night Football.
So far this year, the 49ers have not looked quite themselves, despite some gutsy wins over high-caliber opponents. The Rams, on the other hand, have regularly found themselves on the losing end of some close matchups, losing their last two games by a combined nine points. In fact, in both bouts, the St. Louis’ defense has given Austin Davis and Co. an opportunity to score on a final, game-winning drive. Both failed.
Still, could the offensive emergence of the St. Louis Rams, coupled with the injuries and suspensions that have plagued the San Francisco defense, culminate in a Monday Night shocker on the national stage?
"San Francisco survives in St. Louis. That’s it. Colin Kaepernick should find some favorable matchups downfield, especially if Vernon Davis plays; the Rams’ safeties have really struggled this season, and frankly, the pass rush hasn’t been there to pick up the slack. Chris Long’s absence from St. Louis’ defensive line has been totally underrated, in terms of how it has affected this team’s season. Without Long to contend with, opposing offenses can simply shift protection to Robert Quinn’s side. On top of all that, dealing with Niners offensive lineman Joe Staley will be no day at the beach, er, Arch.Still, I don’t think San Francisco will be able to shut down the Austin Davis-to- Brian Quick connection. It feels like this will be an old-school NFC West slugfest … or finesse game. Either way, it should be close. #SFvsSTL"
"The 49ers are back on track with their running game. The Rams have had big problems stopping the run, ranking 29th in the league. Frank Gore will have success running it. I can’t see the Rams offense with Austin Davis being able to move it much on the 49ers."
"MDS’s take: The Rams are getting far better play from quarterback Austin Davis than anyone could have expected. Unfortunately, they’re also getting far worse play from their defense than anyone could have expected. The 49ers’ offense should put up big numbers.Florio’s take: Yes, the Rams have played the 49ers tough in the past. Yes, the Rams showed fight in a stirring comeback attempt at Philly. No, that doesn’t persuade me that the Rams will be able to hold off a 49ers team that has been using the various reports about the future of Jim Harbaugh as a source of motivation and focus."
"No team in the NFL confuses me more than the 49ers. San Fran ranks in the top 10 in points per game and offense, but only 20th in scoring. The team lacks an identity and the front office is a complete mess right now. The Rams defense was supposed to be the team’s saving grace this season, but instead it has become their albatross. The team has one sack through four games and the safety play has been downright painful to watch. Luckily, Austin Davis and the Rams offense is keeping them alive in games. The last two games the Rams lost were by a combined nine points against teams with an accumulative 8-2 record. Austin Davis has been slinging the ball as well as anyone and I think the young gun will shine under the bright lights of Monday night football and put up the Rams second win of the season."
Some sites prefer to merely throw out their picks, instead of outlining boldly predicted scores. In a unanimous vote, the USA Today went with the 49ers to pull out the victory on Monday, with seven out of seven analysts picking Philadelphia over the Rams. In the Week 6 “expert picks” for ESPN, a grand total of zeroout of 14 picked the St. Louis Rams to win. In CBS Sports’ “Against the Spread” predictions, only three of eight went with the “underdog” Rams, with the 49ers set as 3.5 point favorites. However, with their “Straight Up” picks the votes unanimously went back to the 49ers, with all eight experts picking San Francisco to win.