The Rams are going for it this year. They’ve mortgaged their future not just in terms of cap flexibility, as many contenders do, but also in terms of draft capital, as they’ll have very little of it between now and...say 2025. They are well-positioned to win, though, and aside from maybe the Buccaneers, Packers and Cowboys, look like one of the few true contenders in the NFC. They’re probably the favorite to win it.
The 49ers, meanwhile, are a disappointment. They have had one brilliant season under Kyle Shanahan where they fell just short of winning a Super Bowl, and sandwiched around that have been three-and-a-half years of abject disappointment. That Super Bowl run made this whole tenure worth it in many ways, but as Falcons fans can attest, one magical run that falls short and a whole lot of bad football is not a recipe for happiness.
I don’t think Shanahan is in danger of being fired this year—he’ll get at least part of one more season with Trey Lance—but the temperature of his futon is rising. A win against the Rams would help with that, while the Rams are obviously hoping to grind their longtime division rival into dust as they continue their pursuit of the NFC’s top seed.
Use this as your open thread for that game, and we’ll see what happens.