The San Francisco 49ers wrap up their 2018 campaign with a Week 17 road contest against the Los Angeles Rams. Unlike last year, the Niners probably won’t be facing backups.
A year ago, when the San Francisco 49ers finished their season on the road against the Los Angeles Rams, head coach Kyle Shanahan and Co. were afforded the luxury of playing the Rams’ B-team members and backups.
The Niners subsequently cruised to a 34-13 Week 17 victory over an L.A. squad that already clinched everything it could en route to the postseason. And by doing so, the 49ers finished up their five-game win streak and set forth in motion all the hype entering 2018.
That probably won’t be the case for this year’s version of Week 17.
The 12-3 Rams, who have lost two of their last three, surrendered the chance to secure the No. 1 overall spot in the NFC playoff picture. The New Orleans Saints clinched that. And even if the Saints fall to the Carolina Panthers to close out the regular season and the Rams win, New Orleans’ Week 9 win over L.A. winds up being the tiebreaker.
A No. 2 overall seed is as high a spot the Rams can secure. But they could fall to the No. 3 seed, currently held by the 11-4 Chicago Bears, who recently beat the 49ers 14-9 and also the Rams back in Week 14.
Chicago would have the tiebreaker over L.A. if the Rams lose and the Bears beat the Minnesota Vikings this weekend.
Both the Bears-Vikings and 49ers-Rams games kick off at 4:25 p.m. ET on Sunday, meaning Rams head coach Sean McVay won’t be able to watch the morning games and determine whether or not he should start his starters based off the Bears and Vikings’ outcome. Sure, if that game gets out of hand by, let’s say halftime, McVay could swap out players as he wishes. But his A-team will start versus San Francisco.
Rams running back Todd Gurley (knee) could be held out, though, as he missed the Rams’ Week 16 contest versus the Arizona Cardinals. Considering how important he is to L.A.’s offense, and the fact this unit has slumped without him contributing 100 percent, it wouldn’t be a shock if the Niners had to face Rams No. 2 tailback C.J. Anderson, who got the start last week.
As for the rest? Well, it won’t be the B-team the Niners face on Sunday.
The 49ers and Rams kick off at 4:25 p.m. ET on Dec. 30 from Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
Source: “Los Angeles” – Google News