Monday Night Football Preview: Rams, 49ers renew rivalry in NFC Championship rematch

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Jeff Lewis/AP/Shutterstock (13424407dp) Defensive tackle (99) Aaron Donald of the Los Angeles Rams against the Arizona Cardinals in an NFL football game, in Glendale, AZ. Rams won 20-12 Rams Cardinals Football, Glendale, United States – 25 Sep 2022

Monday Night Football Preview: Rams, 49ers renew rivalry in NFC Championship rematch

Los Angeles Rams (2-1) at San Francisco 49ers (1-2)

Time/TV: 7:15pm CT/ESPN

The Los Angeles Rams head north for a Monday Night Football bout with the San Francisco 49ers, looking to establish firm control of the NFC West at 3-1. Los Angeles knocked San Francisco out of the playoffs last season, coming back from a 10-point second half deficit to win 20-17. The 49ers have otherwise controlled the series since Sean McVay and Kyle Shanahan became the head coaches of these California rivals, winning the last six matchups during the regular season. The Rams’ visit to Santa Clara last season came on Monday Night Football as well, a Week 10 bout that saw them blown out 31-10 by a desperate 3-5, 49ers team. 

San Francisco has caused the Rams tons of problems in recent years in large part due to dominant play in the trenches. Offensive line play has been an issue for Los Angeles at times this season and could be a major problem Monday night with two starters missing in G David Edwards and C Brian Allen. The 49ers’ vaunted defense is allowing 12.3 points per game and only allowed 10 points when Los Angeles visited last November. 

That’s not to say the 49ers aren’t saddled with concerns of their own heading into Monday. San Francisco is without All-Pro tackle Trent Williams, a difficult thing to overcome against a defensive front that will move superstar defender Aaron Donald around to wherever the weak spot is on any given play. Their offense will need to be better than it was in Denver, where they only managed 10 points in that Sunday Night Football loss. 

If San Francisco does pick up their seventh consecutive win over Los Angeles in the regular season, it will move the NFC West to a stalemate with all four teams sitting at 2-2 this season. The 49ers’ schedule from here on out is significantly easier to navigate than the Rams’ schedule is as well, giving them a distinct advantage should they find a way to win Monday night. Jimmy Garoppolo, who moved back into his starting quarterback role after taking over for an injured Trey Lance two weeks ago, has plenty of reasons for personal motivation as well. Garoppolo’s contract is written in a way that he’s paid more for wins as a starter, meaning he’d earn an extra $100,000 with a victory tomorrow night.

Los Angeles and San Francisco have been baseball rivals for decades, but are beginning to develop a football rivalry as well. With both teams considered clear playoff contenders, things will only become more intense on Monday Night Football.

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