SANTA CLARA – The 49ers will be facing their second straight division-winning opponent to finish off the season.
But the 49ers’ opponent Sunday will be a lot different than the team that takes the field a week later in the wild-card round of the playoffs.
Rams coach Sean McVay announced on Wednesday that the team’s top players – quarterback Jared Goff, running back Todd Gurley, defensive lineman Aaron Donald and left tackle Andrew Whitworth -- will not play in the season-final against the 49ers.
Coach Kyle Shanahan said he is disappointed that the 49ers will not be facing some of the Rams’ front-line players.
“It is a little bit,” Shanahan said. “I’d like them to have everyone out there. I think our guys would, too. But it is what it is. We have to make sure that doesn’t affect us. You got to line up and play whoever you play. If you lose your edge at all in this league, you’ll get humbled very fast.”
The 49ers were 44-33 winners of the Jacksonville Jaguars and their top-ranked defense on Sunday at Levi’s Stadium. The Jaguars have clinched the AFC South title.
The Rams, winners of the NFC West, will enter the playoffs next week as the No. 3 or 4 seed in the NFC.
Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo said his preparation will not be impacted by the Rams’ decisions of which players will suit up for the regular-season finale.
“You try to say every week that you’re facing a faceless opponent,” Garoppolo said. “No matter who it is, you want to have the same mindset."