NFC Conference Championship Picks: Los Angeles Rams vs San Francisco 49ers Best Bets, Picks, and Predictions

NFC Conference Championship Picks: Los Angeles Rams vs San Francisco 49ers Best Bets, Picks, and Predictions
Image © Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
✍️ Written by
Kuthula Magubane
🗓 Updated
Aug 23rd 2023

The teams for the 2022 Super Bowl will be set on Sunday when the Kansas City Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals meet in the AFC Championship Game, and the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers collide in the NFC Championship Game.

The NFC West rivals will meet this Sunday in the NFC championship game, which is a battle between two of the last three conference champions.

The Rams are trying to get back to the Super Bowl for the second time under Head Coach Sean McVay. He’ll look to bring his stacked offense with him, which is spearheaded by Matthew Stafford, who made the clutch throw in a 30-27 victory against the defending Super Bowl champion Buccaneers.

The 49ers beat the Packers 13-10 in the NFC divisional round, and San Francisco swept the regular-season series with the Rams which included an overtime thriller in Week 18. The big question we are all asking is whether Jimmy Garopppolo can lead an offense that includes breakout star Deebo Samuel and George Kittle to another huge victory?

In the NFC, the 49ers will appear in the franchise's 18th conference championship game, the most of any NFL team. Los Angeles is a 3.5-point favorite in the latest NFL spreads.

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Setting the Scene

This is another game that sees the underdog getting the points, but they have a real chance to win outright and force a Super Bowl 54 rematch. The 49ers are the underdogs in this game even though they've beaten the Rams six times in a row.

Although this game is being played in L.A, I'm not sure the Rams are going to have any sort of home-field advantage. In the last matchup between these two teams in L.A., Niner fans flooded into the stadium and seemed to outnumber the Rams supporters. To combat this, the Rams are changing their ticket policy for the game. If you have a zip code that's outside the greater Los Angeles area, then you can't buy a ticket.

San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams (-3.5)

When: Sunday, 6:30 p.m., FOX

The common factor in the Rams' two regular-season losses to the 49ers was that they could not generate a running game. The Rams averaged 58 rushing yards in those two losses, and Stafford threw a pair of interceptions in those games to top it off.

The return of Cam Akers could help with that, especially early in the game. If Stafford can stick to the short passing game with Cooper Kupp and Odell Beckham Jr. early, it should give them more options to change up the play call later in the game. It is also worth keeping an eye on whether veteran Andrew Whitworth (knee) is healthy to go. His presence would be a huge help to a Rams offensive line that already has their hands full, having to deal with Arik Armstead and Nick Bosa.

San Francisco has found the right offensive setting for Jimmy Garoppolo, who completed 74.5% of his passes in the two regular-season meetings against the Rams. Either way, the 49ers are a run-first team and as long as they can run the ball, they have a chance to win. Deebo Samuel will be the X-factor, seeing how he averaged 10.8 yards per touch in that Week 18 thriller. If Jimmy plays well, that's definitely a plus, but even if he struggles, they can still win. In Week 18, they beat the Rams 27-24 despite two interceptions from Garoppolo.

The Rams usually have great numbers against the run game, but last weekend Leonard Fournette created huge plays on the ground at times. Meanwhile, the 49ers were good on defense against both the pass and the run all season. We saw the Rams’ run game struggle, and it nearly cost them the game against the Buccaneers. These two teams have played nine quarters against each other, two full games plus overtime, and the Rams only outscored the 49ers in TWO of those nine quarters.

The Rams are loaded with talent, but the 49ers are playing such an impressive brand of football that it can only result in positive outcomes.

Pick: 49ers 23, Rams 20.

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