SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – The 49ers are 10 point favorites to beat the 2-5 Rams at Levi’s Stadium Sunday. But John Madden says St. Louis shouldn’t be taken lightly.

“These games with the Rams can always be tough,” Madden told the KCBS Radio morning crew. “(With) the divisional rivalry, they know you well. The better you know a team — looking at it from the 49ers side — the more conservative you become. Because you remember ‘jeez, we tried that a couple years ago and they stopped that, and we tried this.’ And your memory is too good, so you whittle down stuff and don’t try stuff. And then the game stays close.”

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Madden says the key to 49ers success is a strong start on offense.

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“(The Rams are) always going to have a trick play,” John said. “If (the 49ers) go out and take it to them right off the bat and score and score and score and get a 20 point lead, then you don’t worry about the tricks. But if you let them hang in there, then they’re going to (try) a fake field goal, a fake punt; they’re going to block a kick; they’re going to have a special play that’s going to get a big play for them. And you can lose the game that way. They do have tricks, they always have tricks, they’re going to have something you’ve never seen before. And if the game is close, that could be effective.” (6:20)

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(Listen to the John Madden segment live weekday mornings at 8:15 and Monday and Friday mornings at 9:15 on KCBS All News 740 AM/106.9 FM.)