6 stats and facts to know for Rams-49ers in Week 18

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The Rams have an opportunity on Sunday to not only snap their five-game losing streak to the 49ers, but also clinch the NFC West and the No. 2 seed in the conference. San Francisco has owned the Rams in the last three years, but Los Angeles can change its fortune this weekend by beating the 49ers at home.

This Week 18 matchup carries major playoff implications for both teams, with the 49ers in danger of missing the postseason if they lose. Even though it didn’t get flexed into a prime-time slot, this is one of the biggest games of the week.

Here are six stats and facts to know for Rams-49ers on Sunday.

49ers seeking first 6-game winning streak vs. Rams since 1990-1998

You’ve probably heard by now that the 49ers have had the Rams’ number. They’ve won five straight against Los Angeles, with three of those wins coming by at least eight points. The Rams’ most recent loss to the 49ers was in Week 10, an embarrassing 31-10 defeat at Levi’s Stadium.

If the 49ers manage to beat the Rams again on Sunday, it’ll be their first six-game winning streak against the Rams since winning 17 in a row from 1990-1998. The Rams hope their losing streak to the 49ers ends on Sunday, well short of that unbelievable stretch during the ‘90s.

49ers have one of NFL’s worst turnover differentials

The 49ers have given the ball away 22 times this season, with 12 of those being interceptions. That’s middle of the pack, but their defense has been far worse at producing takeaways. They’ve forced only 18 turnovers all season, 11th-fewest in the NFL.

That’s a turnover differential of minus-4, which is the 10th-worst in football. Whether it’s Jimmy Garoppolo or Trey Lance under center, the Rams shouldn’t have much trouble taking the ball away.

What they must do is avoid costly turnovers, like the two Matthew Stafford had in Week 10 against San Francisco.

Rams and 49ers are both top 3 in net yards per pass attempt

The Rams and 49ers both have efficient passing offenses, even if they get it done in very different ways. The Rams throw the ball downfield a bunch, while the 49ers rely on short passes and yards after the catch from George Kittle, Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk.

Yet, the 49ers lead the NFL in net yards per pass attempt (7.6) and the Rams rank third (7.4). According to Pro Football Reference, the Rams and 49ers both rank in the top 10 in yards after the catch, too, which shows how dynamic their receivers are with the ball in their hands.

No team is better in the red zone than the 49ers

The 49ers have been excellent in the red zone all season. Their touchdown rate of 68% when reaching the red zone ranks first in the NFL, finding the end zone on 34 of 50 trips this season. The Rams, for reference, only score touchdowns on 59.1% of their red zone opportunities, which is 18th in the league.

Defending the likes of Kittle and Samuel inside the 20-yard line is a challenge, and Garoppolo doesn’t turn the ball over in the red zone, throwing just one interception in that area of the field all season.

Rams lead NFL in pass-rush, run-stop and pass-block win rate

With the use of Next Gen Stats, ESPN has developed win-rate metrics that measure how often a team or player wins a rep as a pass rusher, run defender, pass blocker or run blocker. As a team, the Rams rank first in the NFL in three of these four categories.

They have a pass-rush win rate of 53%, run-stop win rate of 34% and pass-block win rate of 69%, all of which are the best in the league. In the last category, run-block win rate, the Rams are sixth.

The 49ers are up there in most departments, too, ranking sixth in pass rush, third in run stop and 10th in pass block win rate, but the Rams have really dominated the trenches this season. That’ll have to continue Sunday.

Nick Bosa has 9 more sacks than any other 49ers defender

When it comes to protecting the quarterback against the 49ers, blocking Bosa is incredibly important. Bosa has 15 sacks on the year, which is nine more than the next-closest player, Arden Key (6.0). No other player has at least five sacks, with former Rams edge rusher Samson Ebukam recording 4.5 sacks in his 16 games with San Francisco.

Bosa’s 15 sacks are more than the three players behind him, and his 30 QB hits are more than double any other defender for the 49ers. Andrew Whitworth and Rob Havenstein will have to be at their very best this weekend.

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