The last few seasons the 49ers vs. Rams rivalry has not generated much excitement with both teams having losing records and rebuilding. Still, it is a rivalry game that goes back decades and held importance regardless of the team’s records. At the end of the 1990’s and the beginning of the 2000’s the rivalry most recently escalated with the 49ers in their latest hurrah of winning playoff teams and the Rams just beginning their string of NFC West titles and Super Bowl appearances. This Sunday’s game has added importance beyond the hatred of each other with the 49ers and Rams fighting for the division title and a playoff spot.
At weekend 15 in the season I would have never guessed the 49ers would be in the hunt for the NFC West title with a 5-9 record. 49er players say they don’t care what their record is at end of the season, if they win the West and get into the playoffs they think they can make a run. I believe them but the frustrating part is how weak the division is and how the 49ers have taken care of business within the division but outside they are out of their element. This ultimately is Singletary’s fault because with the talent the 49ers have on the roster he cannot get his players properly prepared. The players truly believe they can win a playoff game only because they believe in themselves and not in Singletary’s coaching. With the way the season has unfolded under Singletary beginning all the way back in the early off-season with the firing of general manager Scot McCloughan to players leaving the team and most recently assistant coach Johnnie Lynn quitting for unknown reasons, has led me to believe this team has the heart to win but lacks the proper front office personnel and head coach to be relevant in the NFL again.
The 49ers have played well against the Rams winning five straight games the last two and a half seasons. In week ten the 49ers pulled out a victory in overtime against the Rams at home and with both teams trying to win the division the game on Sunday should be just as intense. The Rams control their playoff destiny more than the 49ers because if they win the last two games they will win the division. A 49ers loss against the Rams will be the end of the playoff dream. Ironically the game will have a playoff atmosphere not only with the players but with the fans hoping for a playoff spot for their mediocre team. The question is will the 49ers play any different than the previous important games this season when they failed to show up and suffered a loss.