Rams vs. 49ers: Who has the edge?

RAMS (1-1) vs. 49ERS (0-2)
When: Thursday, 5:25 p.m.
Where: Levi’s Stadium
Line: Rams by 2.5
TV/radio: Ch. 4, NFL Network; 710-AM, 100.3-FM, 1330-AM (Spanish)

Coach Sean McVay indicated he panicked a bit last week after the Rams fell into a 13-0 hole against Washington in the second quarter and got away from a good run-pass balance. What’s interesting is when the Rams finally went back Todd Gurley in the fourth quarter, he had great success. So will McVay attempt to get Gurley going against a fairly strong 49ers defensive front, or will the Rams turn to the air, considering San Francisco will be without safety Eric Reid and two other defensive backs, Jaquiski Tartt and Jimmie Ward, were limited in practice this week? If the Rams’ offensive line can hold out, this could be a good bounce-back week for quarterback Jared Goff, a Bay Area native. EDGE: RAMS

The 49ers, with four field goals in eight quarters, and Cincinnati are the only NFL teams not to score a touchdown this season, but there’s still some cause for concern for the Rams. Carlos Hyde, the 49ers’ lead running back, totaled 124 yards on only 15 carries against a usually strong Seattle defense Sunday. The Rams’ struggles against Washington’s run game last week have been well-chronicled, but Washington featured a far more balanced attack than anything San Francisco will offer. Brian Hoyer has thrown for only 292 yards in two games and has been sacked six times, so this could be a good week for the Rams to get Aaron Donald going, both as a run stopper and as a pass rusher. EDGE: RAMS

The Rams went deep into their bag of tricks last week. They faked a punt (and converted it perfectly on a Johnny Hekker pass). They faked a handoff on a kick return and, most amusingly, during a punt return they used Tavon Austin as a decoy while Trumaine Johnson fielded the punt (that one didn’t work as well). So the deception might be done for a while, but the Rams remain effective, as kicker Greg Zuerlein is 5 for 5 on field-goal attempts. San Francisco kicker Robbie Gould also is perfect, and thank goodness because otherwise the 49ers wouldn’t have any points this season. San Francisco’s Victor Bolden Jr. had a 34-yard kickoff return last week, but otherwise there haven’t been major returns. EDGE: RAMS

McVay took responsibility for the loss to Washington, both immediately after the game and throughout the week. He wasn’t that bad,…

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