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Analysis: Can 49ers Find A Way To Handle Rams This Season?

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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS/AP) — On their way to the Super Bowl last season, the San Francisco 49ers couldn’t solve one team: the Rams. St. Louis beat San Francisco once and the teams played to a tie, rare blemishes on the 49ers’ record.

Jim Harbaugh’s team gets another shot at the Rams on Thursday night, and the 49ers (No. 11 in this week’s NFL power rankings) are 3-point favorites over No. 23 St. Louis.

Coming off successive losses in which their offense was awful, the 49ers are in turmoil. Linebacker Aldon Smith is taking a leave of absence to deal with personal problems. At least in a short week, they have no choice but to concentrate heavily on football.

”I think it’s a distraction to whoever wants to think about it, to whoever wants to pay attention to it,” cornerback Carlos Rogers said. ”When I get out there on the field and play, I’m thinking about playing whatever team, I’m not thinking about Aldon and whatever situation went on with him.”

Pretty good advice, especially facing Jeff Fisher’s Rams, who also come off a poor outing. One of the NFL’s top coaches for two decades, Fisher is likely to have St. Louis ready for the defending NFC West champs.

”We’ve been on the losing end of a lot of games, this organization has,” Fisher said. ”Now last year, we got our feet back on the map, but I don’t think there’s a rivalry yet. It’s a division opponent. It’s a big challenge for us on a short week, but I don’t necessarily see it as a rivalry yet. Hopefully, it will become one.”

This game could help do that.

(Copyright 2013 CBS San Francisco. All rights reserved.)

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