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Sunday Night Football open thread: Rams at 49ers

It’s an NFC West showdown tonight.

Los Angeles Rams v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

The NFC West was expected to be a competitive division this season, and that has proven to be true, albeit in an unexpected way.

Hopes were high for the San Francisco 49ers after their Super Bowl appearance last season. A dominant defense and formidable run game headlined their desire for a return trip in 2020. However, injuries have gutted this team. Expected be atop the division with the Seattle Seahawks, the 49ers are instead 2-3 with their lone wins coming against both hapless New York teams. In last week’s loss to the Miami Dolphins, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was benched at the half. While the coaching staff says this was to manage his injury, it could hint at uncertainty on the offensive side of the ball.

The Los Angeles Rams themselves made a Super Bowl appearance a few seasons ago, but a 9-7 record last year put thoughts of a rebuild at the forefront of people’s minds. With modest expectations, it is safe to assume that their 4-1 start has surprised many. They completed their tour of the subpar NFC East with four wins, with their lone loss coming in a 35-32 showdown versus the Buffalo Bills. The Rams are ranked fourth per DVOA with both a top ten offense and defense. A good showing against a divisional opponent could garner some believers.

Here’s how to watch tonight’s game:

Date: Sunday, October 18, 2020
Time: 8:20 p.m. ET
Location: Levi’s Stadium - Santa Clara, CA
TV: NBC
Announcers: Al Michaels (play-by-play), Cris Collinsworth (analyst), Michele Tafoya (sidelines)
Online: NBCSports.com