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SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA – Trey Lance #5 of the San Francisco 49ers leaves the field after defeating the Houston Texans 23-7 at Levi’s Stadium on January 02, 2022 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo : Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
A key NFC West matchup will commence this Sunday, January 9, as the Los Angeles Rams host the San Francisco 49ers in Week 18. Can the 49ers extend their winning streak against the Rams, or will Los Angeles clinch the NFC West title? Here’s a breakdown of the 49ers vs Rams clash.
San Francisco 49ers installed as +5 underdogs
The San Francisco 49ers bolstered their playoff bid with a 23-7 win over the Houston Texans in Week 17. It was a huge bounce-back win for the 49ers, who were coming off a 20-17 loss to the Tennessee Titans in Week 16. The 49ers remained in sixth place in the NFC standings after Week 17 with a 9-7 record. If the playoffs begin today, the 49ers will grab one of the three wild card spots in the NFC.
For the 49ers to advance to the playoffs, they will either need to beat the Los Angeles Rams in Week 18 or hope that the Atlanta Falcons beat or record a tie against the New Orleans Saints. The Rams and the Saints enter Week 18 as the favorites in those games, so the 49ers will have their work cut out for them to reach the postseason.
The 49ers will still fancy their chances of grabbing a wild card spot as they have fared extremely well against the Rams of late. The 49ers have won their last five meetings with the Rams dating back to 2019. In their first matchup this season, they destroyed the Rams, prevailing by 31-10.
The main question for the 49ers is who will be their starting quarterback for the crunch clash against the Rams. Trey Lance started for San Francisco in Week 17 with Jimmy Garoppolo sidelined because of a thumb injury. Lance completed 16 of 23 passes for 249 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in the win against the Texans.
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Los Angeles Rams enter Week 18 as -5 favorites
The Los Angeles Rams maintained their one-game lead over the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC West after a thrilling 20-19 win over the Baltimore Ravens in Week 17. It was a significant victory for the Rams, who climbed up to second place in the NFC standings with just one game left in the regular season.
The Rams need to beat the 49ers at home in Week 18 to lock up the No. 2 seed in the conference. A victory over San Francisco will also land Los Angeles its first NFC West title since 2018. A loss to the 49ers would be devastating for the Rams. If Arizona wins its regular-season finale against Seattle, it would be the Cardinals lifting the NFC West crown.
The pressure now is on Matthew Stafford to deliver the win for the Rams. He completed 26 of 35 passes for 309 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions in the win against the Ravens. Stafford committed another big mistake in Week 17, throwing a pick-six in the first quarter of their game against Baltimore.
LA wins and covers the spread.
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