With the San Francisco 49ers officially eliminated from playoff contention, and endless rumours about their head coach circulating for next season, Colin Kaepernick and his team will somehow need to get motivated to take on a hungry opponent Saturday evening. Despite Philip Rivers being banged up, his Chargers enter northern California needing a victory to stay relevant in the post-season hunt. San Francisco is simply just looking to ride out the remainder of their incredibly disappointing season. They were pegged as Super Bowl contenders, but a rash of injuries and distractions have derailed those chances. Can the Chargers take advantage of a wounded opponent? Read on below to find out in a detailed game breakdown followed by the official selection for this Californian showdown.
Chargers vs. 49ers Betting Odds:
San Diego Chargers +1.5 (-105)
@ San Francisco 49ers -1.5 (-115)
Over 41 (-110)
Under 41 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
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Chargers vs. 49ers Pick:
It’s tough to pinpoint exactly where or why it all went wrong for the San Francisco 49ers this season, but that is no longer relevant to us. The point is they’re done. This is not a good football team right now, and with all of the distractions and personnel issues, it’s not a surprise. Head coach Jim Harbaugh has seemed to have checked out and you have to wonder the type of preparation his team had with rumours of his departure circling wildly. Key quarterback Colin Kaepernick has seemed to have regressed horribly, a far cry from those once believing he would revolutionize the position. This week, he’ll likely take yet another step back as he’ll face a very motivated and talented Chargers defensive unit. For starters, he won’t have any sort of run game. Carlos Hyde has been ruled out, and if Frank Gore plays, he’ll be doing so at far less than 100 percent. Beyond that it’s just third-stringer Alfonso Smith. San Diego has a very stout run defense, only allowing 3.87 yards per carry and as a result the Niners will have all kinds of trouble moving the chains. Even through the air, Kaepernick won’t be able to get anything going. Not much of a surprise though as it hasn’t worked all year for him in the passing game. Eric Weddle and Brandon Flowers have been excellent in the Chargers secondary, and should make things very difficult on Kaepernick and his limited options come Saturday evening.
For San Diego on offense, look for Rivers to take full advantage of a very depleted 49ers defensive corps. They’re without Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman, and now the talented Chris Borland. San Francisco was horrible at stopping the run last week in Seattle, and despite the fact that the Chargers run game is in disarray, it won’t matter who is carrying the ball with the state of the Niners’ linebacker crew. A tandem of Branden Oliver and Donald Brown should do enough to keep the San Francisco defense honest. The key to Rivers playing well will be that run game performing at a solid level. Since it should, look for things to open up for a banged-up Rivers. Even without Keenan Allen at his disposal, the likes of Antonio Gates, Malcolm Floyd, and Eddie Royal should be able to keep the chains moving against a fading Niners defense.
The 49ers have completely checked out. Add in their rash of injuries and the issues off the field with Jim Harbaugh, and the Chargers know they’re ripe for the taking on Saturday evening. The Chargers have proven to be a resilient group and have enjoyed recent favourable results on the road, and this should be no different. San Diego enters a hungry and complete football team and after playing the Pats and Broncos in back-to-back weeks, will enjoy playing a team that could care less right now in the Niners. Even though San Diego are currently underdogs, don’t be surprised to see them close as favourites. The Chargers roll bigtime as they take a big step forward en route to the post-season.
PICK = Chargers +1.5 (-105)