San Francisco 49ers vs. Los Angeles Rams: NFC Championship Prediction, Preview, Picks & Odds - 1/30/2022

by Chuck Sommers

NFC Championship

Game time: 6:40 p.m. ET
Venue: SoFI Stadium, Inglewood, CA
Where to watch: FOX

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks


DraftKings: Rams -3
WynnBet: Rams -3.5
Caesars: Rams -3.5

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49ers - Rams preview, analysis and prediction


Last week
49ers: won 13-10 at Packers in Divisional Round
Rams: won 30-27 at Buccaneers in Divisional Round

I think we all expected a different NFC West team to be at the forefront this weekend, but alas, what a game this is turning out to be.

Let me tell you, I haven't been this torn on a conference championship game in a long time. You can't go wrong with either selection in the NFC Championship, either taking the momentum that the San Francisco 49ers have generated, or trust in the Los Angeles Rams after a near collapse in Tampa.

And yet as I sit here trying to figure that out, I can't help but go back to that Week 18 game where the 49ers were dead to rights and had no chance to make it to the playoffs, only to show resiliency in SoFI Stadium and win in overtime.

There are only two ways this transpires: Either the Rams win in a blowout, or the 49ers pull off the upset yet again. I think the latter gets it done.

My personal preference is to have the Rams get back to the Super Bowl because Matthew Stafford needs to be vindicated for a long NFL career that has had to endure long, painful memories in Detroit. Stafford did just that on Sunday, throwing for 366 yards and two touchdowns in that epic 30-27 win against the reigning Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Cooper Kupp, as he's done all season, was there when needed the most with nine receptions for 183 yards and a touchdowns; that included that bomb on the final offensive play in regulation (which should be more of a talk on Tampa's defensive coverage, but we'll save that for another day).

"We knew it wasn't going to be easy," Stafford said. "I mean, we sure let 'em back in the game with a bunch of mistakes on offense. Our defense played outstanding. We've got to clean some stuff up, do a little better job in the turnover department.

"This is a tough team, man, this is what we're all about. Just happy to get a win and keep on moving."

Stafford is two wins away from cementing himself as one of the greatest quarterbacks we've seen this era. One of the greatest passers of this generation, mired in dread and despair for years in Detroit, he's been an MVP all season and is finally getting the opportunity to show the kind of player he is with the talent he has.

And for as much as I want to see Stafford get the ultimate opportunity and win himself a shot at the Super Bowl, I can't help but feel this is the trappiest of all games. And sure, I can look back at that Week 18 game and feel more comfortable that after three weeks of prep, Sean McVay will have a gameplan that will do what it can against that San Francisco defense.

But the 49ers are the team that's not supposed to be here, and by law, that means they'll either make it or fall short by the weirdest of circumstances.

It was one thing for the 49ers to handle the Dallas Cowboys the way they did. It was entirely another instance for them to go into Lambeau Field, where it had to be minus-1 degree with the snow, and pull out such a win from its hat that is only suitable for storybooks.

Despite the 49ers racking up 212 total yards of offense, the San Francisco defense and special teams held off Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers to go to the NFC title game for the second time in three years.

"It's dangerous, man. When a team gets hot, it's dangerous," said 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. "So we've just got to keep this thing going, focus on next week now, and keep this thing rolling."

This was not a game to criticize the lack of passing from Garoppolo -- he had only 131 yards and an interception -- because neither quarterback was that great. It was the 49ers defense sacking Rodgers five times, it was the special teams blocking a punt for a touchdown to tie the game, and it was Robbie Gould from 45 yards out to send San Francisco one win from another Super Bowl appearance.

Ultimately, this is going to come down to which quarterback makes the fewest mistakes. Both defenses will bring heavy pass rush and will make life tough up front. It's also not going to be a full Rams crowd. Watch the crowd back in that Week 18 matchup; so much red mixed with yellow. If you thought the road crowd for the Cowboys game was wild, wait until Sunday.

Always go with your head over your heart when it comes to the money. Give me the 49ers in what should be an incredible game. 49ers by 3

Betting trends


The 49ers are 10-3 ATS as a road underdog the past three seasons.

The 49ers are 8-9 ATS against division opponents over the past three seasons.

The 49ers are 3-5 ATS in the NFC Championship since 1992.

The 49ers are 7-0 ATS in January the past three seasons.

The Rams are 2-2 ATS in January this season.

The Rams are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 after winning five or six of the last seven.

The Rams are 4-14 ATS off consecutive wins in their last 18.

Don't miss our champion handicappers' free picks and expert football picks today. And if you enjoyed this San Francisco 49ers - Los Angeles Rams prediction, be sure to drop by every day for our daily NFL projections and previews.

Chuck Sommers

About the Author:

Chuck Sommers has camped outside of sportsbooks since he can remember, learning the tricks and nuances of the trade. He still has nightmares of betting $5,000 on the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game but has since turned that to 25 years of veteran handicapping greatness. You can find him mostly in the shadows at the Red Rock or Aliante casinos wondering if the over is cashing on any given Sunday.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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