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Week 18 Preview: Playoff implications abound in Rams' Week 18 clash against San Francisco 49ers

Sunday at SoFi Stadium, a win for Los Angeles clinches an NFC West crown.

A win would translate to the two-seed, meaning the only time the Rams would have to hit the road on their journey to Super Bowl LVI would be a potential NFC Championship Game at Lambeau Field.

So yes, the stakes matter. The implications are as consequential as almost any regular season contest could possibly be.

But in Week 18, a win would mean so much more than any of that.

Because this is personal. There is unfinished business with the 49ers. And quite frankly, this has gone on too long.

A triumph over their bitter rival could also freeze the 49ers out of the NFL postseason, if the New Orleans Saints were to beat the Atlanta Falcons.

So in this weekly column, typically we'd dig into Cooper Kupp's pursuit of the Triple Crown.

It would be worthwhile to break down the return of Cam Akers, and what a backfield tandem including Sony Michel might look like behind arguably the best offensive line in the NFL.

But we already understand the defense's need to solve for Deebo Samuel and George Kittle. If you're on this page in this moment, you don't need me to tell you the Rams have never beaten Jimmy Garoppolo, or that this could be their final chance to do so while he's wearing Red and Gold.

The truth of the matter is this: Between now and Sunday, less is more.

Record-chasing, history, matchups – they're as relevant as they've ever been.

But in the end, it all boils down to finding a way to get right against a rival. By any means necessary.

The playoffs can wait until next week.

Beating San Francisco… cannot.

Look through photos of Los Angeles Rams players on the practice field as they prepare for a showdown at SoFi Stadium against the San Francisco 49ers.

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