Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

49ers-Rams: ESPN makes this bold Jimmy Garoppolo prediction

Jan 28, 2022 at 8:29 AM--

ESPN's Football Power Index has the Los Angeles Rams owning a 59.4 percent chance of breaking a six-game losing streak against the San Francisco 49ers and doing so in the NFC Championship Game. Rams beat writer Lindsey Thiry predicts a 28-24 Rams victory.

However, ESPN's 49ers beat writer, Nick Wagoner, has a different prediction. The man who is around the team daily envisions San Francisco's winning streak continuing.

The odds favor the 49ers. Another ESPN reporter, Field Yates, pointed out that teams that have swept an opponent, going 2-0 against them in the regular season, and then met in the playoffs have a significant advantage. Fourteen of those 22 teams went on to win the playoff game.

San Francisco won 31-10 at Levi's Stadium during Week 10 and again at SoFi Stadium in Week 18, besting their division rival 27-24 in overtime.

Wagoner has the 49ers beating the Rams 30-23 on Sunday.

The reporter made one other "bold prediction." He can see the 49ers' polarizing quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, having a big game. Garoppolo is 6-0 against the Rams and has completed 68.4 percent of his passes for 1,549 yards, nine touchdowns, and seven interceptions. However, the quarterback has yet to throw a touchdown pass during this playoff run.

Wagoner sees that changing on Sunday.

"San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will throw three touchdown passes [against the Rams]," wrote Wagoner. "He has yet to throw for a score in these playoffs and has only two touchdowns and five interceptions in his five playoff starts.

"But Garoppolo has a history of playing well against the Rams -- he has a 71.7 Total QBR and won all six starts against them -- and the Rams still have questions up the middle of their defense, allowing a 77% completion rate and 7.9 yards per attempt on throws inside the numbers this season. Buoyed by a strong run game, the oft-maligned Garoppolo will deliver on the big stage."

While Garoppolo has garnered criticism, with some saying the quarterback is just along for the ride with a talented roster around him, Wagoner feels Garoppolo will shine and lift the 49ers to their second Super Bowl appearance in three years.

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