LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Rams will host the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC championship game. The matchup is the resumption of an NFC West rivalry that has been tilted heavily in the 49ers' favor for the past six meetings, all won by San Francisco.
The Rams made several bold moves this season to build a team capable of winning it all, and now they’re one step away from playing in a Super Bowl in their home stadium.
The 49ers feel a related urgency heading back to SoFi Stadium, where they rallied from an early 17-point deficit and surged to yet another impressive victory over their California archrivals just three weeks ago.
The Niners have swept the season series against the Rams the past three seasons and take a six-game winning streak in the series into the NFC title game.
It's the 24th time in the Super Bowl era that division rivals will meet in the postseason following a regular-season sweep — and the team that wins the two regular-season games is 14-9 in the rematch.
PLAYER TO WATCH: WR Deebo Samuel. The Niners’ offense revolves around Samuel either as a receiver or a runner. Samuel has 1,963 yards from scrimmage in the regular season and playoffs, with 1,487 yards receiving and 476 yards on the ground. Samuel is averaging 6.0 yards per carry and 17.9 yards per reception, and has scored 15 TDs on the season. Samuel has also thrown a TD pass and returned a kick last week for 45 yards to set up a score
JIMMY G'S SURVIVAL: Jimmy Garoppolo’s playoff performance is all anyone would need to understand the decisions the San Francisco 49ers made last offseason at quarterback. The lack of downfield throws and handful of bone-headed plays explain why the Niners felt the need to trade three first-round picks to draft Garoppolo’s eventual replacement in Trey Lance third overall. The big passes under pressure, leadership and respect from his teammates are reasons why San Francisco kept Garoppolo and his hefty contract on board out of hopes he could help the 49ers contend for a Super Bowl.
► WATCH MORE: Eric Crocker breaks down the 49ers key to beating the Rams:
GOLDEN ROBBIE GOLD: When the San Francisco 49ers placed the franchise tag on Robbie Gould three years ago, the kicker had a decision to make. He could re-sign or hang up his cleats after a long, successful career and head back home to the Chicago area to be with his wife and three kids. Gould opted to keep playing and it was for moments just like Saturday night. His 45-yard kick in a cold, snowy Green Bay delivered the Niners a 13-10 victory that left them two wins shy of Gould’s ultimate goal of winning a Super Bowl.
PROLIFIC COOPER KUPP
Cooper Kupp led the league in every major receiving category this season, a triple crown feat accomplished only three times previously in NFL history. Deebo Samuel also racked up huge numbers, but he wasn’t content to just catch the ball. He also ran it and occasionally threw it while cementing his status as perhaps the most versatile, electrifying playmaker in football. In a sport usually defined and dominated by quarterback play, two All-Pro receivers have propelled their teams to the NFC championship game. The meeting of NFC West rivals is the third opportunity this season to watch Kupp and Samuel on the same field near the end of spectacular seasons that could be remembered long after this showdown between the Los Angeles Rams and the San Francisco 49ers.
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By The Numbers
SAN FRANCISCO (12-7) at LOS ANGELES RAMS (14-5)
TIME: Sunday, 3:30 p.m. PT, Fox
BETTING LINE: Rams by 3 1/2, according to FanDuel SportsBook.
AGAINST THE SPREAD: 49ers 9-8; Rams 8-9.
SERIES RECORD: 49ers lead 75-67-3.
LAST MEETING: 49ers beat Rams 27-24 (OT) on Jan. 9 in Inglewood, California.
LAST WEEK: 49ers beat Packers 13-10; Rams beat Buccaneers 30-27.
49ERS OFFENSE: OVERALL (7), RUSH (7), PASS (12), SCORING (13)
49ERS DEFENSE: OVERALL (3), RUSH (6), PASS (6), SCORING (8)
RAMS OFFENSE: OVERALL (9), RUSH (25), PASS (5), SCORING (T-7)
RAMS DEFENSE: OVERALL (17), RUSH (6), PASS (22), SCORING (15)
TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: 49ers minus-4; Rams plus-2.
Travis Rodgers, the new host of Locked On Rams, joins #PeaCrock to preview the NFC Championship game at Los Angeles. Will 49ers fans take over SoFi Stadium again Sunday? What makes Cooper Kupp and Deebo Samuel so special? Predictions for Sunday's third installment of Niners vs Rams.
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