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Offseason Opponent Breakdown: The San Francisco 49ers

Posted Apr 11, 2018

In anticipation of the official schedule release date in mid-April, take a look at one of the Rams 2018 opponents — San Francisco.

The 2018 NFL Season is still a few months from its official kickoff date, but the opponents for all 32 clubs have already been set.

Aside from their divisional opponents, the Rams will face teams from the NFC North and AFC West. Plus, Los Angeles will take on the reigning division champions from the NFC East and NFC South.

In anticipation of the official schedule release date in mid-April, theRams.com will be taking an early look at each of club’s opponents for next season.

THE SAN FRANCISCO 49ers

LOCATION: As members of the NFC West division, the Rams will face the 49ers both at home and at Levi’s Stadium.

HEAD COACH: Kyle Shanahan enters his second season as San Francisco’s head coach. Before joining the 49ers in 2017, Shanahan served as the offensive coordinator of the Falcons, where he was instrumental in Atlanta becoming conference champions in 2016. Last season, he led the 49ers to a 6-10 overall record.

MATCHUP HISTORY: The 49ers and Rams series history is one that dates back to 1950 and since that year, the two franchises have become representative of the intense rivalry between Southern California and Northern California. Both have faced off 137 times, with the 49ers holding the advantage at 69-65-3.

The two teams split last season’s games, as the Rams took home a close 41-39 victory in Week 3, while the 49ers beat a Rams team resting its starters, 34-13, in Week 17.

2017 RECORD: San Francisco closed out 2017 with a 6-10 record, finishing in last place of the NFC West. But after a 1-10 start, the 49ers won all five of their final games under newly acquired quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.


WHO'S IN, WHO'S OUT?

The 49ers began the offseason by ensuring that Garoppolo would be their signal-caller for years to come, signing him to a five-year contract extension. The franchise also preserved continuity in the unit, by extending wide receiver Marquise Goodwin.

But perhaps the most intriguing move to come out of 49ers camp during free agency was the addition of former Seahawks’ cornerback Richard Sherman. While the signing is a gamble — with Sherman coming off a season-ending achilles injury — if he can return to form in 2018, the cornerback will be a force to be reckoned with in the defensive backfield.

Finally, San Francisco made a move to bolster their ground game after Carlos Hyde signed with the Browns by bringing in running back Jerick McKinnon. The club also picked up a new addition to the offensive line by signing center Weston Richburg.

WHAT ABOUT THE DRAFT?

Despite the addition of Sherman, some mock drafts believe the 49ers will likely go defense early in this year’s draft. With the No. 9 overall pick, San Francisco is in a favorable position to select some of the most talented defensive prospects, including cornerback Denzel Ward (Ohio State) or linebacker Roquan Smith (Georgia).

In later rounds, many analysts expect general manager John Lynch and the Niners to go after new offensive weapons for Garoppolo. Some of the franchise’s top potential options include wide receivers Christian Kirk (Texas A&M) or Dante Pettis (Washington).

LOOK OUT FOR:

Looking toward the 2018 season, the Rams and 49ers are projected to be two of the top teams in the NFC West. Both franchises have a lot in common with two offensive-minded coaches and two young, skilled quarterbacks. And for that reason, both matchups should be exciting to watch.