The 49ers hope the LA Rams can't accomplish these 5 keys in Week 2

San Francisco 49ers v Los Angeles Rams
San Francisco 49ers v Los Angeles Rams / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages
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Christian McCaffrey
San Francisco 49ers v Pittsburgh Steelers / Joe Sargent/GettyImages

3. Stop RB Christian McCaffrey

There is no doubt that San Francisco 49ers RB Christian McCaffrey is one of the best running backs in the NFL today. He put on a rushing clinic against a respected Steeler defense last week as he racked up 152 yards on the ground with an average of 6.9 yards per carry and scored a touchdown to boot. He even added another 17 yards on three receptions last week making him only 31 yards shy of 200 scrimmage yards in Week 1.

The LA Rams defensive unit is still trying to find its identity and could find itself struggling against such a star-studded 49ers offensive roster. For the Rams to walk away with a second consecutive upset victory, they may need to decide whether to stop the run or the pass. It seems obvious to me that they should focus on stopping the 49ers' best player, which in this case is McCaffrey. And if they can hold him to under 100 yards rushing then they greatly increase their odds of winning.

2. Pick 1 receiving threat: Double Team, Double Team, Double Team

In addition to having the best running back in the league, the San Francisco 49ers offense boasts three very talented receiving threats: 49ers tight end George Kittle, wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, and all-purpose defensive weapon WR/RGB Deebo Samuel.

There is absolutely no way the Rams will be able to shut down all three of these stars in single-coverage. In order to win this game, Rams Defensive Coordinator Raheem Morris needs to focus on shutting down one of these receiving threats. In order to accomplish that difficult task, he can opt to do so in one of two ways:

  1. Pick the most likely threat and double team them all game or . . .
  2. Rotate double-team coverages across all three threats and keep San Francisco QB Brock Purdy guessing.

Regardless of which approach he takes, there is no excuse to not double-team at least one of these guys on nearly every play. And the Rams' secondary, with starting safeties Jordan Fuller and Russ Yeast, offer much better coverage than last year's starting duo of Taylor Rapp and Nick Scott.

Logically, it makes the most sense to try to shut down WR Brandon Aiyuk as he is coming off a monster game logging eight receptions for 129 yards (16.1 yards per attempt) with two TDs. WR/RB Deebo Samuel has been falling off as of late and rotates between rushing and receiving while TE George Kittle appears to have slightly lost a step over the years due to numerous injuries.

Taking out 49ers WR Brandon Aiyuk, who is a young receiver with something to prove to the league, is the smart play this week. Aiyuk cannot get going in this one, as that almost ensures that he will be destined for a breakout year. Since the Rams must face the 49ers one more time, personally, I would try to stop him if I were Morris.