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Intriguing Game- Week Six

San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams

49ers: Who saw this coming? There are two undefeated teams remaining. The New England Patriots and these San Francisco 49ers. I never saw this coming at all and now, they are the only team in the NFC without a loss. I know it’s been a few down years for this legendary franchise. After a stint under Jim Harbaugh which saw trips to the NFC Championship game three years in a row, the 49ers have been on the rebuild and it’s paid off. They have a young head coach in Kyle Shanahan who’s one of the best offensive minded guys in the league. Remember when Matt Ryan won his MVP? He was his offensive coordinator. John Lynch was bold and even got them a quarterback who sat behind the best in Foxboro and that’s Jimmy Garoppolo. Last year if he doesn’t get hurt, this is a playoff team. Now, look at them. He’s not just a “product of the system” which is a term that gets used too frequently. Everyone of course will bash their wins (Tampa, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Cleveland), but hey, you beat who you beat. They won their first two games on the road which is difficult for west coast teams coming across the country. Let’s talk about that game on Monday night against the Browns because I was impressed. You talk about a complete football game, that’s exactly what we saw from them against Cleveland. The offense played mistake-free football, the defense was punishing at the point of attack and physical and they showed you how dominant they can be on both sides of the football when everything is clicking. To keep the winning going, they will face a more than desperate Rams team on Sunday afternoon.

Rams: There’s been questions and rightfully so because they are the defending NFC champions and two, the legendary “Super Bowl runner up hangover” term is looming above them. After a shocking loss in week four to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home of all places, they had a short week to prepare for the Seattle Seahawks in Seattle which is always a tough place for opposing team to play. I like what I saw from the Rams. I know the defense struggled to make stops, but they got off the field when they knew they needed too, and the offense finally looked balanced. Todd Gurley scored two touchdowns, but his yards were low once again (51) and Jared Goff had a much better game prior to the one against the Buccaneers where he threw the football 68 times and finished with three interceptions. I looked at that last drive of the game when the Rams had the ball when time was ticking away. He was locked in and converted on all his passes and put the Rams in the perfect position to win that football game. Then comes the field goal kicker and he miss the kick that would have won them the game! That was heartbreaking especially when you lose by a single point. Now, the Rams are in third place in the NFC West after two losses. Something seems very different about their defense this year. The pass rush doesn’t seem as strong as it’s been in years past and the secondary seems soft at times. I hope they can fix their issues because when they’re locked in, this is a fun defense to watch. To snap their losing streak, the first-place 49ers come to town.

49ers Player to Watch: Dante Pettis– He was a stud in college, and he can be nice in the NFL for years. Whenever you need someone to run that deep crossing route over the middle of the field, this is your guy right here to target. He moves well with the ball after the catch and next to Kittle, this is one of Jimmy’s top targets.

Rams Player to Watch: Dante Fowler– I need a big game from him on Sunday. With Clay Matthews out for a month, he needs to step his game up. From rushing the passer to shutting down the running game, he needs to be on his a-game and this needs to start Sunday.

Final Analysis: Did anyone think the 49ers would be the team in first place in the NFC West at this point? You probably thought the Rams would be running away with it at this point, right? That hasn’t been the case so far this year. This is another active and opportunistic defense the Rams will see on Sunday. Taking care of the football is extremely crucial for the Rams. Create those mismatches across the field. I’d be using Gerald Everett over the middle. As I said up top, the 49ers played perfect football in week five. If the defense can get to Goff and play stout again along with the offense holding onto the ball, they have a shot to win.

Prediction: Rams 26 49ers 23

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