The San Francisco 49ers have upset two of the top teams in the NFC over the last couple of weeks. On Sunday, they took down the top-seeded Green Bay Packers 13-10 to earn a trip to the 2022 NFC Championship game.
Now there is cause to believe the 49ers can roll on to Super Bowl LVI, even if the football betting lines have the 49ers as 3.5-point underdogs this week. Let’s look at why I think the 49ers can pull off an upset against the Los Angeles Rams.
49ers at Rams (-3.5)
- Date: Sunday, Jan. 30th
- Time: 6:30 P.M. EST
- Venue: SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, CA
Ball Control is Key
The 49ers have won their last six games against the Rams, including two games this season. A significant reason for the success the 49ers have had against the Rams begins with a commitment to the running game. In their first meeting of the season, San Francisco rushed 44 times for 156 yards in a 31-10 win. The next game, they ran 31 times for 135 yards to win 27-24.
The 49ers’ rushing attack comes from a variety of sources. Six different players average over four yards per rush.
Eli Mitchell had 48 total carries for 176 yards in the 49ers two previous games. That’s only 3.67 yards per attempt, but it shows the commitment to the game plan of controlling the clock.
A significant factor in this game will be turnovers. Matthew Stafford has zero turnovers in the postseason, while Jimmy Garoppolo has two interceptions. The 49ers will have to protect the ball to win this game. Giving the Rams more possessions is a recipe for disaster.
San Francisco 49ers Defense
The Rams are loaded with talent at skill positions on offense. San Francisco will need to key on Cooper Kupp and Odell Beckham Jr. to force Matthew Stafford to look for other options.
Beckham had only joined the club before the first meeting and had two receptions for 18 yards. Kupp had 11 catches for 122 yards but failed to score a touchdown. Matthew Stafford found eight different receivers, but he also threw two interceptions.
In the Week 18 game, Stafford completed 21 of 32 passes for 238 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions. This time the Rams opted for a more balanced attack, rushing 27 times, but only secured 64 yards on the ground.
San Francisco ranks 5th in points allowed per game (20.6) and 6th in both passing yards allowed (207.2) and rushing yards (100.2) allowed per game. The 49ers’ defense has held the Rams to an average of 17 points when they’ve played them this season. I expect this game to be low-scoring, with the 49ers controlling the clock on offense and limiting big plays on defense.
49ers vs. Rams
These two teams are very familiar with each other. The San Francisco 49ers haven’t lost a game to the Rams since 2018. It’s hard to beat a team three times in a season, but I believe the 49ers have an excellent chance of doing so.
I’m taking San Francisco in another upset. Who is your pick to win the NFC Championship? Create your account today at BetMGM’s online sportsbook, and you could receive a risk-free initial bet of up to $1,000.