Opponent: at St. Louis Rams
Time: 5:25 p.m.
Line: 49ers by 3
Records: 49ers 1-2, Rams 1-2
TV/Radio: NFL (Brad Nessler play-by-play, Mike Mayock color), 810, 1320
MATCHUP TO WATCH
49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin vs. Rams cornerback Cortland Finnegan
Boldin's 208 yards in Week 1 made him a marked man in Weeks 2 and 3. Defenses are playing aggressive man-to-man coverage against him, taking away Colin Kaepernick's first option in the passing game. Finnegan is perhaps the feistiest cornerback in the league, and chances are the Rams will take the same defensive approach as Seattle and Indianapolis. The 49ers could use a healthy Vernon Davis, and more important, a second wide receiver to step forward.
THREE KEYS TO THE GAME
The 49ers have allowed more than 170 rushing yards in each of the last two games, also allowing opponents to dominate time of possession. They must get back to their stonewalling ways, a difficult task considering they are likely to be without linebacker Patrick Willis.
The 49ers rushed for 105 yards in the first half against the Colts, 70 by Frank Gore. Yet the running game was abandoned in the second half. More persistence will wear down the Rams' defense and give the 49ers' defense more rest.
It bears mentioning again: One of the 49ers' young receivers Kyle Williams, Marlon Moore, Quinton Patton or Jon Baldwin must seize the opportunity and give Kaepernick a reliable passing option other than Boldin.
Questionable: CB Nnamdi Asomugha (knee), T Anthony Davis (shoulder), TE Vernon Davis (hamstring), S Raymond Ventrone (concussion), WR Kyle Williams (rib), LB Patrick Willis (groin).
Probable: LB NaVorro Bowman (wrist), C Jonathan Goodwin (elbow), RB Frank Gore (knee), G Mike Iupati (shoulder), DT Ray McDonald (ankle), CB Carlos Rogers (knee), DT Justin Smith (shoulder).
Out: DE William Hayes (knee), T Rodger Saffold (knee).
Probable: T Joe Barkdale (not injury related), WR Chris Givens (knee), LB James Laurinaitis (foot), T Jake Long (foot), S T.J. McDonald (knee), TE Mike McNeill (chest), RB Daryl Richardson (foot), G Chris Williams (foot).