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2024 Rams opponent breakdown: San Francisco 49ers, Week 3

Our offseason opponent breakdown series on continues with us getting caught up on Los Angeles' Week 3 home opponent, the San Francisco 49ers (Sept. 22, 1:25 p.m. PT on FOX).

The Rams will also take on the 49ers on the road in Week 15 (December 12, Thursday Night Football, 5:15 p.m. PT on Amazon Prime Video).

The Rams' 2024 schedule release is presented by Confirmed360.



A five-game win streak to open the season got the 49ers off to a strong start. Although they experienced a three-game losing streak after that stretch to go into their Week 9 bye 5-3 overall, whatever corrections made over the break were effective, as they ripped six consecutive wins upon returning from it.

San Francisco's 27-10 victory over the Washington Commanders allowed it to clinch the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoff picture in Week 17, and consequently rest the majority of its starts in the following week's regular season finale against the Rams.

As is the case with any team, staying healthy played a big part in the 49ers' success. The loss of third-year safety Talanoa Hufanga – who was coming off a breakout First-Team All-Pro and Pro Bowl season in 2022 – was big for their defense, but otherwise their major contributors were consistently available throughout the course of the season.

The 49ers dispatched the Packers in the Divisional Round and Lions in the NFC Championship to reach Super Bowl LVIII, where they fell to the Chiefs 25-22 in overtime on Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes' game-winning, 3-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Mecole Hardman.

Key Changes

The biggest ones came on the defensive side of the ball.

San Francisco parted ways with defensive coordinator Steve Wilks after just one season and went internal for his replacement, promoting defensive pass game specialist & nickels coach Nick Sorensen to the role.

The 49ers also hired former Chargers head coach Brandon Staley as assistant head coach/defense.

In free agency, the 49ers signed former Bills and Rams outside linebacker Leonard Floyd to a 2-year deal.

In the draft, they used their first-round pick (31st overall) on Florida wide receiver Ricky Pearsall, and grabbed Louisville running back Isaac Guerendo – whose 4.33-second 40-yard dash ranked fastest among all participants at that position – in the fourth round.

Head coach

Kyle Shanahan enters his eighth season as head coach of the 49ers, compiling a 64-51 regular season record and 8-4 playoff record through his first seven years.

What to watch for

What the 49ers defense will look like in 2024

That's not to suggest San Francisco will do a complete schematic overhaul for that unit – especially after promoting from within for its new defensive coordinator – but Sorenson will likely have a different vision for the defense than Wilks did.

From a personnel standpoint, the 49ers will still carry over many of the familiar contributors like Nick Bosa, Fred Warner and Javon Hargrave, among others. Dre Greenlaw tore his Achilles in the Super Bowl, but is reportedly aiming to be back on the field in Week 1.

They will also have continuity offensively as well with Brock Purdy, Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle still around. All of them were focal points of the NFL's No. 2 total offense and No. 3 scoring offense last season, which will provide a good early test for a young Rams defense embarking on the first season of the post-Aaron Donald era.

Beyond that, it's always exciting to have a rivalry game this early in the season. Week 3 should be a great matchup.

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