Both San Francisco and St. Louis are coming off defeats. The Rams lost 23-20 to the Cardinals last Sunday, and the 49ers were stifled by the Baltimore Ravens, 16-6, on Thanksgiving.
For the Rams, it was simply more of the same as they continued to watch preseason hopes of the playoffs evaporate through injuries worthy of a MASH unit. For the Niners, it was a disappointing, but not crushing, blow that ended an eight-game winning streak and gave Ravens coach John Harbaugh at least temporary bragging rights over brother Jim of the 49ers.
Available talent will have a lot to do with the outcome on Sunday:
- Can the Rams overcome their numerous injuries—especially to quarterback Sam Bradford, defensive end Chris Long, offensive tackle Mark LeVoir and defensive tackle Justin Bannan?
- Will 49ers running back Frank Gore and offensive lineman Adam Snyder be up to snuff?
- Will the Rams' offensive line be put back together to create holes for running back Steven Jackson and protect either Bradford or his backup, A.J. Feeley?
The answers should favor San Francisco. Here are seven reasons the 49ers will emerge from Candlestick Park on Sunday with their first NFC West championship since 2002.