LA Rams need the win today to cement path to NFL Playoffs

Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports /

After five grueling games, the LA Rams finally compete in the NFC West in a very important game for the team’s playoff hopes

The LA Rams are 4-1 and are a 2.5 point favorite against their first NFC West competition the San Francisco 49ers. Forget everything you’ve seen before this game, the moment that the Rams and the 49ers step foot onto the same field, the slates are cleaned. It was the 4-12 49ers that pushed the 13-3 Rams hard in 2018. And it was the 9-7 Rams, demolished by repetitive injuries to the offensive line, that barely lost to the 13-3 SF 49ers by three points, 34-31.

This is a grudge match. While there is a great deal of respect between these two teams, there is no love lost.  Heated competition does that. Playing each other twice in the same season creates familiarity. And between rivals, familiarity breeds contempt.  It was no secret that 49ers fans found as much joy in the demise of the Rams and their failure to earn a place in the NFL playoffs as they did in their own fortune of making it.

Turnabout is fair play

Now the shoe is on the other foot. Now the 49ers are suffering from a post-Super Bowl slump, and have been riddled with injuries.  This time, it’s the LA Rams with a bit of incentive to show no mercy against a team and fanbase that took delight in the Rams struggles. But the salt in the wound may have been the audacity of 49er sportswriter Brian Witt who declared that the Rams contract situation with Jalen Ramsey would plunge the Rams to the NFC basement and keep them there for years to come.

Now the LA Rams are showing up in person, and are prepared to prove otherwise.  The 49ers struggled last week against the Dolphins, but you can bet they will be coached up for this one. That’s okay. The Rams expect the best in this one.  And you can bet the LA Rams will give their best too. The team added Leonard Floyd, Terrell Lewis, promoted Micah Kiser, and even quickened the pace of defensive line rotations to counter what the 49ers do on offense. Will it be enough?

Rams want this game more

Well, All-Pro Aaron Donald had a huge game against the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Football team. But you know he wants this game. All-Pro Jalen Ramsey was ridiculed by 49ers writers this off-season. You know he wants this game too. And QB Jared Goff struggled against this 49ers defense in their first meeting. That game caused months of bad press and public doubt. You know he wants this game too.

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It’s tough to find someone on the Rams roster who doesn’t want this victory. After all, the Rams know that the patch to any postseason success must run through San Francisco this year.  Should the Rams climb to 5-1, they will be in a tremendous position at the bye week.  The NFL schedulers did the Rams no favors by placing four trips to the East Coast in their first eight games. So far, that has not derailed the Rams hopes of a successful season.