Kaepernick saw his first major action this season when the Rams knocked out Alex Smith in their meeting on Nov. 11. With Smith concussed, Kaepernick shined, finishing the game with 183 total yards and two touchdowns. He played well in each of the following weeks, and despite Smith being cleared to play, Kaepernick will get the start again this Sunday as the 49ers battle for playoff seeding atop the NFC.
The Rams, who may have done the Niners a favor by concussing Smith, will now have to deal with the monster they created. The 49ers are averaging 31.5 points per game with Kaepernick as their starting QB, and with their defense looking as strong as ever, it's tough to imagine San Fran losing to their division rivals.
Luckily for the Rams, they do have some positive momentum after beating the Arizona Cardinals 31-17 last week. Steven Jackson was a monster that game, rushing for 139 yards on 24 carries. However, the Rams likely won't be getting two pick-sixes from Janoris Jenkins this week, and last time I checked, nobody is confusing the Cardinals with what might be the best team in the NFC.
St. Louis can certainly hang with the Niners—they proved that much when the two played to a 24-24 draw in their first meeting. Unfortunately for the home team, the 49ers are on an absolute tear right now, and the Rams will have to play a near-perfect game if they're going to pull off the upset.
When: Sunday, Dec. 2 at 1:00 p.m. ET
Where: Edward Jones Dome - St. Louis, MO
TV: FOX (check local listings)
Live Stream: NFL Sunday Ticket
Spread: 49ers -7.5 (via Bovada.lv)
Over/Under: 40.5 (via Bovada.lv)
Injury Report - As of 11/29 (via ESPN)
Delanie Walker - TE, questionable
Aldon Smith - LB, questionable
Steven Jackson - RB, probable
Danny Amendola -WR, questionable
Fantasy Big Plays
49ers: Frank Gore - RB
Gore played well in his first outing against the Rams' D, putting up 97 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries. He also caught three passes for 18 yards.
He's struggled to find the end zone in recent weeks, but he's consistently picking up big chunks of yardage and I'm expecting his touchdown drought to end this Sunday. Unless you've got two top 10 running backs with great matchups, give Gore the start this week.
Projected stats: 20 carries for 98 yards and 1 touchdown; 2 catches for 15 yards
Rams: Steven Jackson - RB
Jackson is battling a foot injury and the 49ers have a stout run defense, but the dreadlocked back is still a good option this week.
Jackson was solid in the first meeting between these two, rushing for 101 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries. He also picked up 26 receiving yards on two catches.
Despite struggling earlier this season, Jackson is back to his old form, averaging 107 yards in his last three games. I wouldn't expect anything spectacular from him on Sunday, but he'll definitely put up some decent numbers.
Projected stats: 27 carries for 88 yards and one touchdown; 2 catches for 11 yards
Key to Victory: Penalties
The field was littered with flags the first time these two teams met.
San Fransisco committed seven penalties for 66 yards, while the Rams were whistled 13 times for 85 yards. Both teams clearly didn't learn their lesson, as they each racked up 10 more penalties in their games last week.
It's not sexy by any means, but cutting down on mental mistakes like penalties is often the most important thing a football team can do. Whichever team is more disciplined on Sunday will likely be the winner.
The Rams played tough when these two met in Week 10, but the Niners have been on a rampage since then. Their offense looks much more confident with Colin Kaepernick under center, and after their swarming defense shut down Chicago and New Orleans, I'm not expecting them to have much trouble with St. Louis.
Steven Jackson will have his moments, but eventually the well-rounded 49ers will be too much for St. Louis to handle. Look for San Fran to earn a comfortable victory and take another step towards securing home-field advantage in the playoffs.
Final Score: 49ers 31 - Rams 16