The Chargers and 49ers are kicking off a little over 24 hours from now on Sunday Night Football.
San Francisco is getting healthy at a good time while the Bolts are still struggling to get by with the makeshift squad they’ve had to utilize due to the giant chunk the injury has taken out of the roster.
Can Justin Herbert elevate his teammates to victory under the bright lights? Will the 49ers be too much for the Bolts to handle on the ground? I personally cannot wait to find out.
Curious to see what our staff predicted for this game? Let’s go ahead and dive in.
Michael Peterson: I don’t like this matchup one bit. The 49ers have some of the best designed run plays in the NFL and they now get to combine that with Christian McCaffrey against a porous Chargers run defense. I’m also not a fan of how versatile their offense is. McCaffrey, as well as Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, are all unique chess pieces that Kyle Shanahan can use across any and all formations to make sure they find a matchup to exploit. Mainly, I’m worried about how easily influenced the Chargers second-level defenders will be due to the plethora of pre-snap motions utilized by the 49ers. I think Justin Herbert and Co. will put up a fight, but I don’t see the 49ers pulling a “Falcons” to hand the game back over after building up tons of early momentum.
Final Score: 49ers 24-17
Matthew Stanley: Things are pretty stacked against the Chargers this week. All of Herbert’s weapons are still banged up with Mike Williams and Keenan Allen out again this week and DeAndre Carter having sore ribs. On Defense they are without their best run defending tackle with Austin Johnson done for the year, vs a very good rushing attack that now has Christian McCaffrey. The 49ers pass catchers are all very good at creating and breaking tackles after the catch, which is not great vs a team like the Chargers that seems to consistently have problems securing tackles. I wouldn’t say this is hopeless because the 49ers, while talented, have been up and down this year, with half of their wins coming against a struggling Rams team and losses to not very good Broncos and Falcons teams. I think this comes down to more of a problem of the 49ers strengths being perfectly aligned to take advantage of the Chargers weaknesses.
Final Score: 49ers win 27 - 20
Garrett Sisti: This is a bad matchup for the Chargers. This an explosive team that’s rested and is getting some of their weapons back this week. If the Chargers want to even make this game competitive they are going to have to stop the run and without Austin Johnson (and Jerry Tillery) that task gets even tougher this week. McCaffrey will run for over 100 yards and Justin Herbert is going to show off in primetime but it won’t be enough on the road.
Final Score: 49ers 31-24