Two of the hottest teams in the NFL right now square off Sunday in the NFL regular season finale. The 49ers play the LA Rams at home in a week 17 matchup.
Where the teams currently stand
The Rams are currently the number three seed in the NFC and can not become the second seed because of a loss to the Vikings earlier in the season. This means they have no reason to play all their starters, as a win can not benefit them in any way. Earlier this week, head coach Sean McVay stated that he is going to sit some of the starters for this weeks game. However, he did not mention who or for how much of the game they will be resting.
The 49ers have a shot at winning six of its last seven matchups. They are currently 4-0 with Jimmy Garoppolo as the starter for the team. Two of the four teams Garoppolo has beat are currently in the playoff picture. Those teams are the Jacksonville Jaguars have already clinched, and the Tennessee Titans who are currently the sixth seed in the AFC with a chance to clinch a wildcard spot.
Lets look at how the rosters compare to each other.
This week its going to be Jimmy Garoppolo versus Jared Goff. Both quarterbacks have played phenomenal as starters this season. Since Garoppolo has been the starter, he has been one of the best quarterbacks in the league. He has posted an impressive 69 percent completion rate with 1208 yards and a five-to-three touchdown to interception rate. Goff has taken massive steps in the right direction this season. He has increased his completion percentage to 62.1 percent and has thrown for 3804 yards with a 28 to 7 touchdown to interception rate.
Edge: Its hard to say who has been better so far this season, but I am going to give the advantage to Goff with the Rams being at home this week. If the team benches Goff, then Garoppolo has the advantage over the Rams backup.
It’s going to be San Francisco running back Carlos Hyde versus Los Angeles Rams counter part Todd Gurley. Hyde has had an up and down year and has only surpassed 100 yards on the ground once this season. That was back in week two. Meanwhile, Gurley has been rewriting record books this season and is an MVP candidate.
Edge: This is too easy, Todd Gurley.
The 49ers are currently ranked ninth in receiving and the Rams are 14th. Since Garoppolo has became the starter Marquise Goodwin and tight end George Kittle have both been successful having a good connection with Garoppolo.
Edge: 49ers receiving group.
The Rams defensive line has been impressive this year. They rank second in sacks while the 49ers are ranked 25th. Defensive tackle Aaron Darnold is one of the best linemen in the league and is very disruptive in both the running and passing game.
Rookie linebacker Rueben Foster has been great this year, making tackles all across the field. Fellow linebacker Eli Harold has also helped the team out in solo tackles as well. The 49ers are ranked 11th in combined tackles and a lot of those have come from the help of their linebackers.
Edge: Both teams have had up and down play from their linebackers, but with the emergence of Foster the advantage goes to the 49ers.
The Rams have allowed the sixth least amount of passing yards against their opponents. They have been getting good play with all of their defensive backs. The 49ers however have struggled against the pass and defensive back is one of the teas biggest needs.
Overall, the Rams have the advantage over the 49ers in multiple categories, but their advantages are enough to give the 49ers a win. This is for multiple reasons. First, being that the Rams have stated they may bench multiple starters gives the 49ers a great advantage. Second, Garoppolo being on fire lately. Don’t expect his six game win streak as a starter to be broken while the Rams potentially rest their starters for the playoffs.
-Hunter Neel writes for Full Press Coverage and covers the 49ers. Follow him on twitter: @hunterneel_