The Rams surged to an early winning record but reality has caught up with them in recent weeks. They lack the depth and defensive stability to compete on a weekly basis.
They will pay a visit to San Francisco this weekend but they shouldn't expect a hospitable welcome. San Francisco plays physical on defense and will look to pound the Rams when they have the ball.
Where: Candlestick Park, San Francisco, California
When: Sunday, November 11 at 4:25 p.m. ET
Live Stream: NFL.com
Betting Line: San Francisco, -12.5 (per Bovada)
St. Louis Injury Report (via CBS Sports)
|Danny Amendola ||WR||Shoulder|
San Francisco Injury Report (via CBS Sports)
What's At Stake?
There isn't a lot riding on this game. The Rams (3-5) are playing for draft position much earlier than they'd hoped in 2012.
A win could give them the confidence they need to get back in the wild-card race, but making the playoffs in the NFC likely means getting to at least 10 wins.
San Francisco has a comfortable lead over the Seattle Seahawks. They are competing more for playoff seeding than ensuring they win the NFC West.
San Francisco RB Frank Gore
Gore is a must-start every week. So long as the offense gives him the opportunity, he will produce yards and find the end zone.
Some fantasy owners were unhappy with his Week 8 production but Jim Harbaugh didn't need his production. He opted to let Gore rest his bruised ribs headed into the bye week.
Gore will come back with a vengeance this week.
Vernon Davis has struggled in recent weeks but should be able to produce against a weak linebacker corps.
St. Louis Rams K Greg Zuerlein
The Rams may be able to pick up yards but the 49ers' defense will make it difficult for them to find the end zone. Candlestick can be a tricky place to kick, but the ball carries well there.
Zuerlein should get several opportunities to score in this game.
Steven Jackson has been sharing carries and the Rams aren't likely to have much of a chance to run the ball.
What They Are Saying
Fans of the 49ers aren't exactly taking the game seriously.
Pretty much, a LOT of things will have to go wrong for the 49ers to lose at home to the Rams, that's my guess— Blairy Appelton(@HoneyBadger49er) November 7, 2012
There are a few story lines heading into this game. St. Louis has a few injury situations to work out that could help them make a game of this matchup.
Key Matchup: St. Louis Linebackers vs. San Francisco Running Attack
St. Louis has one of the best middle linebackers in the game, but they aren't completely settled on the outside. Jo-Lonn Dunbar is also proving to be a valuable pickup from the New Orleans Saints.
The 49ers' ground game is as good as any of them.
St. Louis will need need help from the middle of their defense to get San Francisco's offense off the field.
The 49ers are just too strong for the Rams. San Francisco is better on offense and defense and holds home-field advantage.
The best way to beat the 49ers is jumping out to an early lead and making them abandon the ground game. Alex Smith can be forced into making bad decisions and the Rams' defensive front is capable of applying pressure.
I just don't think their offense has enough firepower to make Jim Harbaugh turn the game over to Smith.
St. Louis will be able to continue to rebuild with the draft capital acquired from Robert Griffin III. It won't help this season and Sam Bradford still needs to prove they made the right decision. Fans will need to be patient.
Final Score: San Francisco 27, St. Louis 13
Darin Pike is a writer for Bleacher Report's Breaking News Team and a Featured Columnist covering the NFL and the Seattle Seahawks.