As the San Francisco 49ers (2-5) prepare to face another divisional foe in the St. Louis Rams (3-3), it will be interesting to see how the team responds after losing five of their last six games.
A team that showed plenty of promise Week 1, the 49ers have since found themselves on the outside looking in, as this season has been nothing short of a disappointment.
In the game of football it all starts up front, and unfortunately for the 49ers offensive line, they have been the team’s Achilles heel all season long. A unit that has given up a whopping 25 sacks — will need to do a better job as they face DT Aaron Donald and DE Robert Quinn.
Two Pro Bowl players that will surely need to be accounted for on every snap, it will be up to the 49ers offensive line to make the proper reads while keeping these two studs at bay.
If the 49ers can somehow keep QB Colin Kaepernick clean, then that should do wonders for the running game, as they will rely heavily on backups RB Reggie Bush and rookie RB Mike Davis. However, I don’t see that happening, as this offensive line has been too inconsistent making me believe that the 49ers offense will struggle once again in Week 8.
With the 49ers offense struggling to score points, it will be the defense that will need to step up. A unit that has also been inconsistent all season long, they will have an even tougher task as they will play without one of their defensive leaders in SS Antoine Bethea.
Bethea was placed on season-ending IR, forcing the 49ers to count on rookie SS Jaquiski Tartt to be the next man up. If Tartt can display his hard-hitting ability while being a stout run defender up in the box, that will be reason for optimism, as the 49ers defense tries to get back on track.
However, it won’t be easy as the 49ers face a very tough, bruising, runner in rookie RB Todd Gurley. The Georgia product has been hot as of late and will look to continue his dominance between the tackles as I predict him to garner a stat line similar to 22 carries for 115 rushing yards and one touchdown.
While Gurley will be the focal point of the Rams offense in moving the chains, look for them to then open up things with WR Tavon Austin.
Austin will arguably be the fastest man on the field so look for the Rams to use his speed to their advantage on bubble screens, shallow digs, and jet-sweeps.
With the 49ers looking to get back on track I don’t see that happening anytime soon as I believe the Rams will come out on top 24-13.
Sakamoto: 27-12 (Over/Under)
With the total points set at 39.5, I would slightly take the under. A game in which I foresee a defensive struggle early on, it can turn out to be a low scoring affair especially if the 49ers offensive line can’t protect Kaepernick in pass protection.
Sakamoto: 22-17 (ATS)
With the 49ers being -8.5 point underdogs, I would eat the points and take the Rams.
Fantasy Football (41/122)
As you know we select three players each game who we think will score touchdowns (quarterbacks omitted). Here are this week’s picks.
TE Lance Kendricks
RB Todd Gurley
WR Tavon Austin
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