Rams Vs 49ers: Sean McVay Holds The Key To Victory In Week 18

No matter what happens, Sean McVay can rest easy knowing that he successfully bounced back from the first massive downtrend of his head coaching career. However, rest is the big issue this week in Los Angeles Rams vs 49ers as they vie to maintain the sixth seed in the NFC. The San Francisco 49ers will be resting Christian McCaffrey and Brock Purdy in the contest and potentially more players as they have already locked up home-field advantage and a bye.

Matthew Stafford will not be starting as Carson Wentz will be playing, according to Mike Garafolo on Twitter/X. In addition, Cooper Kupp, Aaron Donald, Kyren Williams, and Ernest Jones will rest in the game, per ESPN.

Rams Vs 49ers Starters

This means that Nacua would be the team’s number one receiver and Ronnie Rivers would likely take over the starting running back duties. The team’s defense will be losing a large source of their power at the line of scrimmage and at linebacker without Aaron Donald and Ernest Jones. Meaning, McVay is going to need to find a way to win with one hand tied behind his back with a drop to the seventh seed on the line.

However, this isn’t like the Rams will be contending with elimination like they have at several points this year. Maintaining the sixth seed would still essentially guarantee a series of road games in January. That is, unless the Rams were to face the seventh seed in a bizarre twist of fate. Still, a win against a division rival is a win against a division rival.

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams
Rams vs 49ers: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

How Will Sean McVay Use His Young Backups?

Considering he is electing to follow through with prioritizing health over seeding risk, it’ll be up to McVay more than in most other weeks to get his suddenly reshuffled roster ready to play. However, he can’t resort to trick plays or reveal his true game plan for the very real reason that the Rams could face the 49ers en route to the Super Bowl. Why reveal their plans in an essential practice game before the real thing in the coming weeks?

As such, it will be up to McVay to find a way to get a win without getting too cute while backups likely dot the field. It would be an exclamation point on the head coach’s work this year in the regular season if he could get the team to a double-digit win season one year after going 5-12, but will it happen? The Rams have defeated the 49ers just once since the start of 2019, so snapping the regular season losing streak would be a great way to send off the regular season.