Line: 49ers -1

In a rare Saturday afternoon contest the 8-6 San Diego Chargers face off with the 7-7 San Francisco 49ers. The Chargers are still in the playoff hunt in the AFC while the same cannot be said for the 49ers playoff chances in the NFC. San Diego is coming off a 22-10 loss to the Broncos in a game that they could not get going offensively even though they were able to hold Peyton Manning to only 233 yards passing on 20 attempts with only one touchdown. Quarterback Philip Rivers had a rough time with an aggressive Broncos defense that was very aggressive with their blitz packages, especially in passing situations. Charger quarterback Philip Rivers went 24/41 passing for 257 yards and a touchdown but also had 2 interceptions. The team has been decimated by injuries at the running back position all season long and they are going to have a hard time moving the ball against the 49ers with production like they got last week which was a combined 17 carries for 44 yards between rookie Brandon Oliver and veteran Ronnie Brown. Oliver was effective in the passing game with 4 grabs for 44 yards as was veteran Tight End Antonio Gates who had 6 catches for 54 yards and San Diego’s lone touchdown.

The 49ers knew they were in for a tough matchup against the defending Superbowl champions last week and that their playoff hopes depended upon a win and yet they were only able to put 7 points on the board in the teams 17-7 win loss to the Seattle Seahawks. The decline of the 49ers can easily be traced to the poor play of quarterback Colin Kaepernick who has gone from being considered a top 5 quarterback in many eyes to one of the least productive quarterbacks in the league. He finished the game 11/19 passing for 141 yards and no touchdowns. The team as a whole would likely not have scored a touchdown if not for a great run by Frank Gore early in the second quarter that gave the 49ers a short lived lead. Gore would then be taken out of the game with concussion like symptoms and is unlikely to play in the game this week. Rookie running back Carlos Hyde will replace Gore and he was productive with 6 carries for 55 yards filling in for him last week.

The Chargers are fighting for their playoff lives and it certainly does not help that their list of injured players keeps growing. They are likely to be without leading receiver Keenan Allen and running back Ryan Matthews for Saturday’s game. Punter Mike Scifries has a broken collarbone and the team also placed 2nd leading tackler Donald Butler on injured reserve. Coming off 2 straight defeats this is a must-win game for the Chargers. For the 49ers players its up to them to play at a high level and compete. There have been rumors about dissention between coach Jim Harbaugh and his players. Now that they are eliminated form the playoffs it will be interesting to see how hard they compete.

Pick: Chargers +1

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