It’s the end of the line for the San Francisco 49ers. With Sunday’s loss to the Seattle Seahawks, the Niners have been officially eliminated from playoff contention. However, the Golden State of California still has one postseason hopeful alive and breathing in the San Diego Chargers.
The Chargers, who are also coming off a loss, are currently on the outside looking in in the AFC wild-card picture and will need a big win against their northern neighbors on Saturday to keep their playoff hopes going.
Speaking of playoff hopes, those of the Chargers’ wild-card rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs, will be prominently on the line when they meet in Heinz Field. Check out our preview of that game here.[sc:Football ]
San Diego Chargers vs. San Francisco 49ers Betting Preview and Prediction
Where: Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara
When: Saturday, December 20, 8:30 PM ET
Line: San Diego Chargers (+2.5) at San Francisco 49ers (-2.5); total: 41.5 – see all NFL lines
Betting on the San Diego Chargers
The San Diego Chargers caught quite a break in playing the Denver Broncos at a time when the great Peyton Manning was far from his best. Unfortunately for the Chargers, their own struggling quarterback wasn’t good enough to capitalize as they fell 22-10 to drop their second game in a row.
[sc:NFL240banner ]Philip Rivers had his second subpar game in a row as he followed up his 189-yard performance (his second-lowest total this season) in a 23-14 loss against the Pats by completing just 58.5 percent of his passes with two interceptions against the Broncos, which resulted in a 62.2 passer rating (his second-lowest rating this season).
That sort of production is not good enough from Rivers, who has led the Charger offense to just two touchdowns in its last eight quarters of play. Rivers will need to play much better, especially if running back Ryan Mathews misses another game with his ankle injury.
However, 10-14 points could be all they need to stick around against a San Francisco offense struggling mightily for consistent production. The Charger defense has certainly been capable of limiting opposing offenses itself. It impressively held two of the top-five scoring teams in the league in the Pats and Broncos to a touchdown below their season average in consecutive games.
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Betting on the San Francisco 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers’ chances of an unlikely playoff berth are over with another loss to the Seattle Seahawks, and Jim Harbaugh’s reign as head coach is not far behind. The Niners are currently on a three-game losing streak and have failed to cover the spread in four-straight games.
But regardless of his future, Harbaugh has stated that he’s coaching to win up until his final game in charge. “That’s what a professional does,” Harbaugh said, “focuses every week, every practice, every play, every game, every ounce of energy you have.”
A handful of his players still have something to play for as well. Rookie running back Carlos Hyde, in particular, will be auditioning to take the role of lead back from veteran Frank Gore, who was concussed in their loss to the Seahawks on Sunday. Hyde was one of the bright sports of San Francisco’s offense with 55 yards on just six carries against Seattle.
Sadly, though, there have been too few positives for the 49ers offense this season. It’s one thing to stall completely against the Seahawks, but this is a unit that mustered only 17 points or fewer against the Giants, Redskins and Raiders, three of the 10 worst defenses in the league per DVOA.
While the Niners’ own defense has generally been excellent (top five via DVOA through Week 14) and good enough to subject Philip Rivers to another rough afternoon, their embarrassing 24-13 loss highlighted their need to put up more points to win, which they still can’t do. The Niners have scored over 20 points just once since Week 6.
The 49ers put up a complete performance at home to put a major dent the Chargers’ playoff plans. Take San Francisco (-2.5) to win and cover at home.[sc:NFL490Banner ]
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