This is the second matchup of the division rivals this season. Their first meeting this year only a few weeks ago on November 11 at Candlestick Park ended in a 24-24 tie.
Let's take a look at 3 defensive keys to a 49ers victory this week against St Louis:
1) Pressure Sam Bradford
In the first meeting between these teams Bradford had one of his best games of the year completing 26 of 39 passes for 275 yards and 2 touchdowns for a rating of 104.1. The 49ers defense was not able to put a lot of pressure in the face of Bradford until late as they came away with only 6 quarterback hits and 2 late sacks by Aldon Smith.
2) Contain Danny Amendola
Finding a way to contain Amendola will go a long way to helping with the pass rush. In the first meeting Amendola was targeted 12 times and came away with 11 receptions for 102 yards. He also had an 80 yard reception at the beginning of overtime erased by an illegal formation penalty.
The 49ers may catch a bit of a break this weekend, as Amendola has been slowed by an injury to his heel suffered the following week in the Rams loss to the Jets. He played only sparingly during the Rams victory last week in Arizona but still came away with a 38 yard reception on the one pass thrown his way.
Reports indicate that Amendola has yet to participate in practice this week and will be a game time decision. Expect him to play though in this divisional matchup. If he is healthy, it could be a long day for Carlos Rogers.
3) Stop Steven Jackson
Jackson put in a gritty performance in the first game, coming away with 101 yards rushing on 29 carries and 1 touchdown along with 2 receptions for 26 yards, and quite possibly the toughest run after the catch we have seen against the 49ers all season. After catching a Bradford pass short of the first down marker, Jackson carried what seemed like half of the 49ers defense with him past the marker for a first down.
The Rams ran the ball 36 times in the first matchup. It is incumbent upon the 49ers defense to not let that happen again this week.