The last time the 49ers faced off against the Rams, the game ended in the NFL’s first tie in four years. Don’t expect another tie this time around, but we can expect an equally exciting and close game. Here are five things to watch for during the game.
San Francisco 49ers (8-2-1) Vs. St. Louis Rams (4-6-1)
Where: Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis (turf, indoors)
When: Sunday, 10:00 a.m. PT/1:00 p.m. ET (Fox)
Spread: 49ers -8
Last time the 49ers played the Rams, San Francisco’s secondary was lit up by QB Sam Bradford and WR Danny Amendola. We can expect the Rams to come out throwing again to test Carlos Rogers and the Niners secondary, who made the Rams offense look like The Greatest Show on Turf was back in St. Louis.
Amendola had 11 receptions for 102 yards the last time the two teams met, but he is dealing with a foot injury and is in a walking boot this week. Despite the injury, he should play. Remember, he returned from injury against the 49ers and had his best game of the season after being out for over a month. Last week, the wide receiver played only seven snaps and caught one pass for 38 yards.
If you think the 49ers’ secondary will have an easier time defending the pass without Amendola playing, the Rams have other weapons at wide receiver. Rookie Chris Givens stepped up for the Rams last week with five catches for 115 yards and one touchdown.
Resting Frank Gore
The 49ers rushing attack lost RB Kendall Hunter for the remainder of the season because of an ankle injury. Hunter had been an really good backup for Frank Gore this season, allowing him to rest more on the sidelines during games to keep him fresh. Now those duties fall to Brandon Jacobs, LaMichael James and Anthony Dixon. It is not known who will be the main backup behind Gore, but all three running backs have played limited, if at all this season. So we can expect all three RB’s to play well when they get onto the field, because they know they are playing for the No. 2 spot at running back for the rest of the season. It’s their time to shine.
Can Kaepernick win his third straight game as a starter for the 49ers? If he does, he will have cemented his role as the Niners starting quarterback. Kaepernick has looked like veteran since taking over for Alex Smith in the last game against the Rams. Kap almost brought the Niners back to victory against the Rams, but the game ended in a tie. With a full week’s worth of practice and him not being inserted onto the field mid-game, we can expect Kaepernick to have his best game of his career on Sunday.
Before their win over the Arizona Cardinals last week, the St. Louis Rams were suffering through a five-game win less steak that included the tie against the 49ers in Week 10. The Rams will be looking to build of their momentum from their 31-17 road win over the Cardinals last week. During the Rams five-game win less streak, the team did not force any turnovers which was a big reason why they did not win those games. Against the Cardinals, the Rams forced a season-best four turnovers. With game being played in St. Louis and the Rams having played against Kaepernick already, the 49ers will need to wrestle the momentum away from the Rams early to take the crowd out of the game.
David Akers Injury
49ers kicker David Akers has a pelvis injury and he likely was playing through it during the win over the Saints last week. The injury might explain why he missed a 50-yard field goal try and had a 33-yarder blocked in the game. Earlier this week, the 49ers tried out Billy Cundiff and Nate Kaeding just in case Akers could not play. But by Wednesday he was back at practice so he will be a go this weekend.
Remember, Akers missed a game-winning field goal in overtime against the Rams three weeks ago. After having a record setting season last year, Akers has missed 19-of-27 field goals this season. The 49ers will need all the points they can get against the Rams, so lets hope his injury is not an issue during the game.