5 ways 49ers make life miserable for Rams QB Matthew Stafford

Matthew Stafford #9 of the Los Angeles Rams (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Matthew Stafford #9 of the Los Angeles Rams (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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Cooper Kupp, Dontae Johnson, Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers
Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp (10) against San Francisco 49ers defensive back Dontae Johnson (27) Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 4: 49ers have to take away Rams WR Cooper Kupp

Rams All-Pro wide receiver Cooper Kupp has burned the Niners in each of the last two times he’s faced them this season. And while San Francisco has won both of those games regardless, it’s still hard to overlook the fact Kupp has a combined 18 catches for 240 yards and a touchdown over those two games.

All the while leading the NFL with a whopping 145 catches for 1,947 yards and 16 receiving touchdowns.

The 49ers did a good enough job preventing Green Bay Packers All-Pro wide receiver Devante Adams from being too big an X-factor in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs. But, unlike Green Bay, LA also boasts fellow wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. who can act as the perfect complementary piece.

Related Story: 49ers must do better vs. Rams WR Cooper Kupp this Sunday

The Niners would be wise to shift focus almost entirely on Kupp, though, as he’s still Matthew Stafford’s favorite go-to target.

There are a few ways to do this. San Francisco can choose to double-cover Kupp or potentially deploy a big-nickel formation with an additional safety over the top, thereby cutting down on Kupp’s chances to create large spaces for himself.

This exposes a bit more danger to players like Beckham, tight end Tyler Higbee and Los Angeles’ run game, but it’s a trade-off that would be worthwhile to help take away Stafford’s favorite target.