1: Play smart defense
LA Rams Defensive Coordinator Raheem Morris has been losing the respect and confidence among Rams fans over the past season. In 2022, he deployed a soft zone scheme and a "Bend but don't break" approach. While this approach may work against some NFL teams, It has its limits.
A soft zone defense requires the defense to be talented at all layers of defense and to have enough trust in the offense to move the ball down the field and score. It also presumes that the frustration of nickel and diming against the defense will trigger the offense to take untimely shots down the football field which the defense can use to create turnovers. This approach will NOT work against the San Francisco 49ers. Once again, the Rams vs. 49ers history should have taught him that.
The 49ers defense is too good to just expect the offense to score at will against them. This means that Morris must be a bit more creative with his scheme this week and play smart defense. For starters, he needs to be able to disguise coverages in order to make 49ers QB Purdy hesitate and even begin to question himself before every snap. Making Purdy second-guess himself when he attempts to read the defensive set-up gives the LA Rams pass rush those extra fractions of a second needed to get a quarterback sack.
Additionally, Morris needs the Rams' defense to play tighter coverages and make the Niners receivers work to get open. That will force Purdy to make near-perfect passes rather than giving them space and letting them march right up the field.
If the Rams' defense can apply tighter coverage, Purdy is bound to make a mistake and force a turnover. Turnovers, in turn, will increase the Rams' chances of winning. Even if the defense fails, and the Niners walk away with a victory, I think fans would be more accepting of a loss rather than thinking "Well, Morris just let them walk all over the Rams...again".
Needless to say, the Rams have a very tough divisional matchup upcoming, and this game will be far from a cakewalk for this team. In fact, this may very well be the biggest assessment of the true state the Rams are in. The Niners are a favorite in the NFC to make a Super Bowl LVIII appearance this year. so if the Rams can come away with a victory this week it will prove to the fans and league alike that this team has a promising future.
If the Rams can succeed in the five areas mentioned, they have a high chance of walking away Sunday with an upset and sitting atop the NFC West alone in first place. And that is the reason why the San Francisco 49ers and 49ers fans around the nation hope that the LA Rams cannot get the job done in Week 2.