The St. Louis Rams travel to Candlestick Park on Sunday to put up a roadblock in the San Francisco 49ers' path to the NFC West crown. Good luck.
The Rams have been a solid home team. They did lose to the Green Bay Packers in their dome, but are otherwise 3-0 in St. Louis.
However, as stated above, this game is on the road. Not good.
The Niners outlasted their divisional rivals' early success to sit atop the western mountain alone. Halfway through the season, San Fran has a two-game lead over the Seattle Seahawks and are looking to stay on pace.
Where: Candlestick Park in San Francisco, CA
When: Sunday, November 11, at 4:25 p.m. EST.
Live Stream: Fox Live Stream
Pick Against the Spread: Rams +11.5 (according to bovada.lv)
Call me crazy, but 11.5 points is almost a dozen. That's a lot.
The Niners will take care of business against St. Louis. However, the Rams do have a decent defense. And that defense was embarrassed against the New England Patriots, so the unit will come out breathing fire after two weeks of Jeff Fisher reminding the players of their failure.
The Rams won't score many points. Yet, Steven Jackson should get enough work done to set up a touchdown. I see a low-scoring, grind-it-out win for the Niners.
Over/Under: Under 38.5
As I mentioned above, this game doesn't have shootout written all over it. In fact, it isn't written anywhere. Both defenses are solid. If either team hits 20 points, that team will surely win this game and probably handily.
Key Injuries (according to Cbssports.com)
Rams: WR Danny Amendola (shoulder, questionable); LB Justin Cole (illness, probable); LB Mario Haggan (thigh, questionable); DT Kellen Heard (foot, questionable); DT Kendall Langford (questionable); DE Eugene Sims (knee, questionable); and S Darian Stewart (knee, questionable).
49ers: WR Michael Crabtree (illness, probable); LB Tavares Gooden (elbow, probable); RB Frank Gore (hand, probable); WR Mario Manningham (shoulder, probable); QB Alex Smith (right finger, probable); DT Will Tukuafu (wrist, probable); and LB Patrick Willis (shoulder, probable).
Fantasy Big Plays
Michael Crabtree: It took a couple years, but this kid gets it. Crabtree has plenty of talent, he just didn't seem to understand how to thrive in a NFL offense. He's the man in the 49ers passing attack. That won't change this week.
Frank Gore: Crazy, right? Start the Niners' first-string running back who happens to be pretty darn good one? Yup. I'm not really going out on a limb here, but don't get cute. Play the stud.
Either Quarterback: Sit both of them. You might be tempted to start Alex Smith after his accurate outing against the Arizona Cardinals. That would be a mistake. He isn't Tom Brady, and Cortland Finnegan is not going to take that abuse from Smith.
Keys to a Rams Win
The Rams winning is highly unlikely, but indulge me. Chris Long will need to make plays in the backfield, James Laurinaitis must stop plays in the hole and the talented corners must play up to their talent level. The defense will have to key this victory, and it starts with these guys.
On offense, don't turn the ball over. At all. Allow the defense to gain field position and strike when the opportunity presents itself. Do not force anything.
Keys to a 49ers Win
Feed Gore and pass only when needed. Gore is the biggest advantage the offense has over the Rams. St. Louis is a mediocre run defense, so don't go away from what works. Smith is capable of playing well, but why risk it against Janoris Jenkins and Finnegan?
The defense needs to key on Steven Jackson, and that's about it. Sam Bradford hasn't shown the ability to torch anybody except for the Washington Redskins. If he beats the Niners secondary, you have to accept that because the odds were heavily against such an outcome.
49ers 20, Rams 10.