NFC CHAMPIONSHIP 2022: PREDICTIONS & EXPERT TIPS

Betfair’s NFL analyst Tim Traynor makes his predictions and provides expert betting tips on the NFC Championship game between the San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams. Who will advance to Super Bowl LVI? More below.



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Division rivals will face off in the NFC Championship game, with the Los Angeles Rams hosting the San Francisco 49er’s at SoFi Stadium.

The Rams will be hoping to have their fans out in force, even going as far as limiting ticket sales to residents of the Greater LA region after multiple Rams players, including quarterback Matthew Stafford, made comment of the large contingent of the 49er’s faithful in attendance in their week 18 matchup.

The week 18 overtime win clinched the playoff spot for the 49ers and was their sixth straight win against the Rams, with their last loss against LA coming 2018.


The Rams were able to hold on in an action packed second half in last week’s win over the Bucs. After finishing the first half with a 20-3 lead, the Rams scored first in the second to take the lead out to 27-3 before a string of turnovers saw the Bucs level the score with 42 seconds remaining.

LA invested a lot of future draft capital in quarterback Matthew Stafford this past offseason for moments exactly like these and he did not disappoint, hitting his favourite receiver Cooper Kupp in back-to-back plays to take the Rams into field goal range for the winning kick. But Stafford has struggled against the 49ers in the two meetings this season, posting two four his four lowest passing yard totals and throwing two interceptions in each game. He also faced pressure on 37.8% of drop backs in the week 18 matchup and took five sacks, completing only 55% of passes while under pressure. How the Rams deal with the 49er’s pressure will have a huge effect on the outcome of this game.

LA’s star-studded defence haven’t been able to get home against the Niners in their two matchups this year, pressuring 49er’s quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo on only 5% and 17% of drop backs and allowing a completion percentage over 70% in both games. They also accrued 784 total yards and 75:47 time in possession over the two games this season.

Much has been said about Garoppolo’s playoff performances with the 49ers, with the performance in last week’s hard-fought win over the Packers only adding fuel to the fire.

Jimmy G threw for just 131 yards with one interception, but made a number of questionable throws that could have easily turned into more turnovers. Garoppolo has now only thrown two touchdowns in five games as a starter, topping 200 passing yards on only one occasion. But the 49ers are 4-1 in the playoffs in those games, the only loss coming in the Super Bowl against a Chiefs team they controlled until the last six minutes of the game.

The running game has been a big part of these wins and could be without two of it’s most important cogs for this matchup, with offensive lineman Trent Williams and wide receiver Deebo Samuel both limping off in the win over Green Bay. Both players were named to this year’s All-Pro team, with Samuel’s use out of the backfield in the second half of the year providing a spark for an offense that can struggle to create chunk plays.

Another key to winning playoff games without elite quarterback play is defence and special teams, with the 49ers making crucial plays against the Packers without the ball in their hands. After allowing 54 passing yards and a touchdown on the first drive, the 49ers held MVP favourite Aaron Rodgers to 171 passing yards and sacked him five times. On special teams, the 49ers made two momentum swinging plays, blocking a field goal just before half time after a red zone interception of their own, before blocking a punt and returning for a touchdown to tie the game in the fourth quarter.


  • The Rams are 24th in the league in turnovers per game at 1.4.

  • The Rams week 18 loss to the 49ers was the first time they have failed to win when leading at half time under Head Coach Sean McVay.

  • The 49ers and Rams are first and second in the league respectively in yard differential per passing play at 1.8 and 1.6.

  • The 49ers lead the league in sack differential with +22 .

  • The 49ers have won 20 road games in the past three seasons, tied for second most in that period.

  • Deebo Samuel ranked second in the league for rush yards over expectation per carry with 1.98.


THE VERDICT

The recent history between the two teams has well and truly belonged to the 49ers, even with five of those six wins coming as underdogs. The Rams will want to turn that around and make good on this season’s investment which has left them without much in the way of future draft picks.

But with the 49ers injured stars looking likely to play, they will look to run the ball and dominate at the line of scrimmage. Coach Kyle Shanahan has stated in the past he expects his team will win if they are able to run the ball over 30 times, with his team racking up 73 attempts over their two wins against the Rams this year. San Francisco’s physical style of play should prove too much for the Rams for the third time.

Betting Strategy

 BACK: San Francisco 49ers


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