In anticipation of the official schedule release date in mid-April, theRams.com will be taking an early look at each of the club’s opponents for next season.
San Francisco 49ers
The Rams capped their sweep of the NFC West Week 17 of last season at home against the 49ers, who struggled to keep up with the Rams offense in 2018 and keep defensive tackle Aaron Donald away from the multiple quarterbacks who were asked to step in after Jimmy Garoppolo went down Week 3 in Kansas City and was ruled out of the year.
The 2019 49ers will look a bit different than last season’s with a healthy signal-caller and the No. 2 overall pick in this month’s draft.
Here’s an early look at the 49ers:
The 49ers dealt with injuries in 2018, with both Garoppolo and running back Jerick McKinnon going down with season-ending knee injuries. The pair was joined by wide receiver Marquise Goodwin and running back Matt Breida, who each spent time on and off the field dealing with nagging injuries.
The 49ers missed the postseason for the fifth-straight season year two under head coach Kyle Shanahan, but a bright spot for the club was tight end George Kittle, who set an NFL tight ends record with 1,337 yards receiving in his second pro season.
The Rams can make it three in a row against the 49ers in their first 2019 matchup against the upstate rivals.
The Los Angeles offense tacked up at least 30 points in three of the past four outings against the 49ers, and they’ve had help from the defense — especially from Donald. In his past three games against the Niners, Donald’s logged 6.0 sacks, 10 quarterback hits, and eight tackles for loss.
The Rams are 3-1 against the Niners under head coach Sean McVay, the only loss coming in Week 17 of the 2017 season where L.A. rested its starters.
The 49ers added linebacker Kwon Alexander to play alongside Fred Warner in the middle of the defense after four seasons in Tampa Bay. Former Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Dee Ford was swapped for a 2020 draft pick and will now line up with the Niners after posting 13.0 sacks in 2018. In the secondary, the 49ers added former Charger Jason Verrett and re-signed safety Jimmie Ward.
On offense, the Niners said goodbye to veteran wideout Pierre Garcon and will welcome former Eagles receiver Jordan Matthews. In addition to an experienced wideout in Matthews, the club will bring on running back Tevin Coleman, who will join the crowded running backs room in San Francisco, after sharing carries with Devonta Freeman in Atlanta. Coleman previously played under Shanahan in Atlanta, when he was the team’s offensive coordinator.
Shanahan is 10-22 in his first head coaching job. Before taking the job in San Francisco, Shanahan spent nine seasons as an offensive coordinator in Houston, Washington, Cleveland, and Atlanta.
Shanahan is personal friend of McVay from their days shared in Washington.
What to Watch For
Jimmy G vs. the Rams
Garoppolo has gone against the Rams once in his 49ers career, in Week 17 of of the 2017 campaign, but it was with several of the Rams starters resting for the postseason. After missing two shots at the Rams in what was supposed to be his first full season as a starter, Garoppolo will get his opportunity in 2019.
The former backup to quarterback Tom Brady completed 60-percent of his passes for 292 yards and two touchdowns, with two interceptions in his one appearance against the Rams.