Tonight the San Francisco 49ers take on the St Louis Rams in a clash of NFC West rivals. The 49ers come into the game with a 3-2 record and an opportunity to overtake the Seattle Seahawks for second place in the division.

Despite the St Louis Rams bringing a 1-3 record into the 49ers need to be ready to play. St Louis head coach Jeff Fisher has proven that he can get his team ready to play under the bright lights of a national spotlight. Fisher has won 9 of 16 Monday night games in his career and last season had the Rams ready to challenge the eventual Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks, eventually losing 14-9 when they were unable to punch it into the end zone in the final moments.

With that as a backdrop here are 5 burning questions to which the answers will be key to the outcome of the game.

1) Can Frank Gore keep it up? - In 15 career games against the Rams, Gore has averaged 4.4 yards per carry and scored 15 touchdowns, the most against any opponent. The Rams defense comes into the game giving up an average of 4.9 yards per carry, the fourth worst average in the league. The 49ers need to utilize a plan similar to the one they used last week which featured 18 carries for Gore and 10 carries for Carlos Hyde. A balanced attack should allow the 49ers to dominate time of possession and keep the Rams offense off the field.

2) Can the 49ers offensive line hold up in pass protection? - There has been a lot of talk this week about the lack of sacks from the Rams defense. Through their first four games the Rams have only come up with 2 sacks. Don't let the lack of sacks fool you. They have done a very good job of putting pressure on the quarterback, getting pressure on 37% of their pass defense snaps. With the problems that the 49ers have had in pass protection from the guard position this will be something to monitor throughout the game.

3) Will the 49ers secondary be able to contain Brian Quick? - The third year wideout has finally begun to reach the potential. Through the first four games, Quick has 21 receptions for 322 yards and 3 touchdowns. All are career highs, and the season has just begun. Quick has more than doubled the number of receptions of the Rams second leading wide receiver.

If the 49ers can shut down Quick they will be able to take away the Rams biggest outside threat which should allow them to slow down rookie quarterback Austin Davis who comes into the game averaging over 260 yards per game on the season.

4) Will the 49ers get Bruce Ellington involved in the offense? - The 49ers have begun using Ellington a bit more in the offense over the last few weeks, but this may be the week he has his biggest impact so far this season. In week one the Minnesota Vikings ran Cordarrelle Patterson three times, twice on fly sweeps and once on a toss sweep after he lined up as a tailback. Patterson ended up with 102 yards rushing, including a 67 yard touchdown.

Through the first five games we have seen the 49ers utilize Ellington on fly sweeps as well as a toss sweep against Chicago in week 2. This would seem like the week to get the rookie a few touches.

5) How will the return of Tavon Austin impact the game? - Austin missed all of one game this season after injuring his knee in week 2 and was eased back onto the field last week against the Eagles. With the Rams set to get their best return man back, the timing could not be better for St Louis. The 49ers bring in a punt coverage unit that has allowed a return for a touchdown and big 28 yard return the last two weeks.

Prediction Time:

49ers 19 Rams 13

Be sure to check out my Twitter feed @JackHammerNFL for analysis throughout the game.