The San Francisco 49ers face the St. Louis Rams in a crucial NFC West showdown.
The Rams currently stand 6-8, tied with the Seattle Seahawks for the division lead. The Niners are just one game back, with a 5-9 record.
The 49ers have had a disappointing season, but still have a chance at the playoffs, if they win their last two games and Seattle loses one more. The Rams won only one game last season, but control their own destiny. With a victory against the 49ers and next week against the Seahawks, St. Louis will make the playoffs with an 8-8 record.
The Rams are a team heading in the right direction with an improving defense and Sam Bradford at the quarterback position. Bradford is proving to be one of the top up and coming young quarterbacks in the NFL.
The 49ers are on the other side of the spectrum. They were the preseason favorite to win the division crown, but have struggled all year long. At the crux of their many problems has been very inconsistent play from the quarterback position.
Alex Smith has been given several chances to step forward and lead the team, but he has not been able to do it. After a strong first couple of games, Troy Smith faded in his last three starts. In the game of musical Smiths, head coach Mike Singletary chose Troy to start this critical game for San Francisco.
Singletary, who is likely to lose his job after the season no matter what happens in these last two games, is hoping Troy Smith can repeat his performance against the Rams earlier this season.
Troy Smith had an excellent game against St. Louis in his second start of the year for the 49ers. He threw for 356 yards and one touchdown. Equally important, he did not throw an interception. The 49ers need a similar result in this game.
St. Louis has the definite advantage playing at home, where they are a lot better. This, coupled with the fact that the 49ers have shown to be a poor road team, gives the Rams the decided edge.