NFC Championship Game 2022: 49ers vs. Rams Injury Report and Predictions

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistJanuary 30, 2022

NFC Championship Game 2022: 49ers vs. Rams Injury Report and Predictions

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    Aaron Gash/Associated Press

    When the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers take the field Sunday night, injuries could be a big part of the equation.

    Key players are questionable for both teams, with 49ers left tackle Trent Williams being the most noteworthy. The nine-time Pro Bowler will be tasked with slowing Aaron Donald, Von Miller and the Rams pass rush—if he can play through his ankle injury.

    Here you will find the latest on Williams, the rest of the injury report and some predictions for Sunday's NFC Championship Game.

Injury Roundup

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    John Amis/Associated Press

    Williams' injury is one to watch, as L.A.'s pass rush could wreck San Francisco's game plan. The 49ers will need a clean game from quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to win, which will prove difficult if he is constantly under pressure.

    While Williams didn't practice all week, he did participate in Friday's pre-practice walk-through, according to ESPN's Nick Wagoner.

    "Hopefully we'll get him out there, but we'll see," Garoppolo said, per Wagoner. "Those high ankles are never a fun thing. I know that from experience."

    49ers running back Jeff Wilson Jr. is also listed as questionable because of an ankle injury. Garoppolo continues to work through his thumb injury and was a full participant in practice on all three days.

    The Rams may be without rotational lineman Joseph Noteboom (chest) who is listed as doubtful. He appeared in 15 games during the regular season with two starts. Starting left tackle Andrew Whitworth, however, should be in the lineup.

    Whitworth (knee) was limited in practice Wednesday but was a full participant Thursday and Friday.

    Rams wideout Van Jefferson is questionable with a knee injury, while safety Taylor Rapp is questionable with a concussion.

    The full injury report for Sunday's game can be found here.

Preview and Predictions

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    Jason Behnken/Associated Press

    Injuries alone won't decide this rivalry matchup. The Rams have lost six straight to San Francisco but are heavily motivated by the prospect of playing in Super Bowl LVI.

    "We're one game away," Donald said, per Stu Jackson of the team's official website. "We just have to go out there and do our job and play a full game for four quarters and finish."

    San Francisco, meanwhile, has essentially been playing elimination football since December. They managed to claw past the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers in the playoffs and also staged a comeback against L.A. in Week 18 just to get into the postseason.

    The Rams led 17-4 at halftime in the regular-season finale. The 49ers won it in overtime.

    With so much on the line, it's hard to imagine players like Williams missing this one. If he's capable of battling through the ankle injury, he will be on the field, and that will be big. It may not be enough to overcome Garoppolo's penchant for miscues, though.

    Garoppolo has thrown six interceptions in his past four games. If he isn't careful with the ball Sunday, L.A. may get an early lead and keep it. However, the Rams have shown a tendency to struggle in the second half recently.

    Along with the Week 18 meltdown, Los Angeles experienced a near-collapse in the divisional round. The Rams led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20-3 at halftime but allowed Tom Brady and the Bucs to surge back in the second half.

    Los Angeles managed to win on a last-second field goal, but Tampa tied the game with less than a minute remaining in regulation.

    Expect a similarly tight contest Sunday. Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers know how to play the Rams as well as anyone, and they aren't going to just go away. The Rams will start fast, but the 49ers will find ways to remain in the game late.

    This time, though, a critical error by Garoppolo will prevent the comeback. Los Angeles will stop its skid against the 49ers and move on to its second Super Bowl appearance in four years.


    Prediction: Rams 30, 49ers 28