49ers vs. Rams: 5 bold predictions for NFC Championship game

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /
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Elijah Mitchell, Von Miller, San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Rams
San Francisco 49ers running back Eli Mitchell (25) stopped by Los Angeles Rams outside linebacker Von Miller (40) Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /

The San Francisco 49ers and the Los Angeles Rams both have their sights set on Super Bowl 56. But first they must get through each other.

The San Francisco 49ers are in the final four of the NFL playoffs for the second time in three years. That alone is an impressive feat, but its more impressive considering that midway through 2021, everyone had counted them out.

After starting the first half the season with an abysmal record of 3-5, head coach Kyle Shanahan coached this team out of the proverbial basement and onto a playoff berth.

Every win since Week 18 has been an absolute nail-biter, coming down to the final minute.

Victories has been a combined team effort, and all units have stepped up at just the right time. This week, the Niners find themselves in a familiar situation: beat the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship game or go home.

With Super Bowl 56 within their grasp, this one should be an absolute dog fight.

Here are five bold predictions for the 2022 NFC Championship game.

No. 5: 49ers will have two 100-yard rushers

Okay, so maybe this isn’t such a bold prediction after all.

Against the Dallas Cowboys in the Wild Card round, running back Elijah Mitchell and wide receiver Deebo Samuel were both knocking on the door to 100 yards apiece.

However, with the conference title on the line, the stakes are even higher.

If the 49ers want to beat the Rams, they need to follow the blueprint that’s worked for them thus far: establish the run game, maintain forward progress and control the clock.

In Week 18 against the Rams, San Francisco led in time of possession and total yards on the ground. This was a big reason for their success and the eventual win.

Currently, Mitchell leads all postseason rushers with 149 yards. In coach Shanahan’s run-heavy offense, his role will continue to expand.

It’s quite simple. If Shanahan wants to win this game, he needs to establish the run game early.

Give Mitchell and Samuel the opportunity, and they’ll run this team straight to Super Bowl weekend.