SANTA CLARA — Beating the Rams would qualify as an extraordinary accomplishment for the 49ers. Make no mistake about it.
Sure, the 49ers are undefeated, and the Rams are 3-2. Plus, the Rams won’t have their star running back, Todd Gurley. He’ll be out with a quadriceps injury.
But the 49ers won’t have fullback Kyle Juszczyk, left tackle Joe Staley, right tackle Mike McGlinchey, slot receiver Trent Taylor and No. 1 cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon, and maybe even their star tight end, George Kittle, who injured his groin Friday during practice. The 49ers list him as “questionable.”
The 49ers still have lots of talented players, especially on defense. But most of the 49ers never have played a game as big as this one. The Rams are an experienced team that has played in plenty of big games. And the Rams have home-field advantage. And they’ve had 10 days to prepare.
Here’s what the 49ers have to do to pull off a franchise-altering upset.