The Chargers escaped Atlanta with a narrow win this past weekend, but victories haven’t come easy for Justin Herbert and co. this year. LA continues to fight through numerous injuries to stay in the playoff picture. The 49ers have dealt with major injuries themselves, but they’re looking healthier after their bye. Both of these teams have high-profile talent, but both are clinging to the final playoff spot in their respective conferences. Who picks up a much-needed win?
Let’s make predictions, dive into the depth charts, and take a look at the odds ahead of Sunday’s matchup at Levi’s Stadium.
Los Angeles Chargers vs. San Francisco 49ers Prediction
Which 49ers team will we get on Sunday? San Francisco lost to Atlanta in October and was blown out by Kansas City, but the win over the Rams restored some confidence in the team. If you want a reason not to be too concerned about the 49ers, it’s that the offense actually looked pretty solid even in the losses. The defense, beset by injuries, was the bigger issue. With the defense healthier, Kyle Shanahan’s team took care of business in LA even without Deebo Samuel.
If there’s one great takeaway from that win, it was the dominance of Christian McCaffrey. If McCaffrey proves to be that dynamic of a weapon on a weekly basis, the 49ers have a chance to run circles around the Chargers and others.
As loaded as the offense might be, I’m somewhat worried about the quarterback disadvantage for the Niners. When they went down by two touchdowns against the Falcons, you could safely assume the game was over because Jimmy Garoppolo wasn’t the type of quarterback who could lead a comeback. Justin Herbert is dealing with a depleted offense, but he’s the better quarterback in this game.
The Chargers tend to at least keep games competitive when you least expect it. The question is whether that can still be true through all of these injuries. Mike Williams is set to miss Sunday’s game, and Keenan Allen can’t be counted on as his return continues to get pushed back. The idea of an offense with McCaffrey, Samuel (hopefully), and George Kittle going up against Austin Ekeler, Josh Palmer, and DeAndre Carter should terrify Chargers fans. 49ers by a touchdown or more seems fair.
Los Angeles Chargers vs. San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers are 7-point home favorites, entering at -295 on the moneyline. The over/under is set at 46.5 points.
On the surface, San Francisco is a pretty hefty favorite for a 4-4 team. Oddsmakers seem to be riding the heels of the 49ers’ impressive win over the Rams two weeks ago, but we learned (again) this past weekend that the Rams just aren’t very good.
On the other hand, this is a rare game in which the 49ers are the healthier team, and we saw how big of a difference Christian McCaffrey made against LA. Will the quarterback advantage be enough for the hurting Chargers to put up a fight in this game?
- The Chargers are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 road games.
- The 49ers are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 home games.
- The over is 10-4 in the Chargers’ last 14 games overall.
Los Angeles Chargers Injuries: WR Mike Williams (ankle) isn’t expected to play. WR Keenan Allen (hamstring) remains questionable with a hamstring injury. K Dustin Hopkins (hamstring) is week-to-week and uncertain for Week 10. DE Joey Bosa (groin) remains out. DT Austin Johnson was just ruled out for the season with a knee injury. CB J.C. Jackson, OT Rashawn Slater, and WR Jalen Guyton are all out for the remainder of the season.
San Francisco 49ers Injuries: WR Deebo Samuel missed Week 8 with a hamstring injury but practiced Monday and has a good chance to play. DE Arik Armstead hasn’t played since Week 4 with a foot injury. FB Kyle Juszczyk is expected to play after missing Week 8 with a broken finger. CB Jason Verrett made his season debut in Week 8 after a 2021 ACL tear and could have a bigger role this week.
Check out the key matchups and mismatches for Chargers vs. 49ers below.
Christian McCaffrey vs. Chargers Run Defense
The matchup here might as well be Christian McCaffrey against the entire Chargers’ defense, because that’s the kind of impact he can make when he’s on his game.
McCaffrey looked like his old self against the Rams, helping the Niners’ offense keep rolling without one of the game’s most dynamic receivers in Deebo Samuel. If McCaffrey can keep that momentum going against a Chargers defense that is worst in the league in yards allowed per carry (5.7), the 49ers can cruise.
Justin Herbert vs. Jimmy Garoppolo
I’m including a rare matchup of players who aren’t technically going up against each other, but this is where the 49ers could find themselves in trouble. San Francisco has all of the advantages thanks to the Chargers’ injuries, other than one: Quarterback. Justin Herbert helped keep LA in the game against the Falcons and was the difference in the end. If Herbert decisively outplays Garoppolo, the Chargers suddenly might have a chance to steal this one on the road.