America, get ready to see a lot of the Los Angeles Chargers.
The Chargers will play on Sunday Night Football for two straight weeks starting this week with a battle against San Francisco in Santa Clara.
It’s a rematch of Super Bowl XXIX! Oh wait, that wasn’t a good game. Don’t expect NBC to use that as a lure. The Niners romped past the Chargers that day in one of the most one-sided Super Bowls in history.
Los Angeles comes in to Sunday Night 5-3 and needing a win to keep pace with the Chiefs atop the AFC West. The Niners are 4-4, but after the trade for running back Christian McCaffrey have become the talk of the NFL.
The Chargers play the Chiefs on Sunday Night again next week at SoFi Stadium. So at least the NBC camera crews can stay in California for the week.
How To Watch
Kickoff: 5:20 p.m. local time.
Screens: NBC and NBC Sports app.
Announcers: Mike Tirico does most of the talking with Cris Collinsworth by his side. Melissa Stark is down on the sidelines.
What Do The Oddsmakers Say?
Both DraftKings and Caesars have the Niners as seven-point favorites and the over/under number at 45.5. The seven-point spread is the third biggest spread of the week in the NFL. Only the Eagles (11 points over Washington) and Chiefs (8.5 over Jacksonville) are bigger.
The Niners are now the fourth highest choice on the board to win the Super Bowl at +1200. That’s what happens when you make a big trade. The Chargers are +3000 at Caesars. The Chargers and Niners are each at 9.5 wins this season on the over/under total.
Key Numbers – Spread Talking
This is just the second time this season the Chargers have not been favored. They are 5-3 against the spread. San Francisco has been the favorite in six of their eight games. They are 4-4 against the spread.
Key Numbers – Talking It Over/Under
The Chargers are an even split on the over/under this year, with four games going under and four games going over the posted figure. The Niners have had five games go under the posted total. Looking at the 45.5 figure, five Charger games have been over that number, only two Niners games have gone over.
The Chargers rank 13th in the NFL scoring exactly 23 points a game, while the Niners rank 19th scoring 22 points a game. The Niners defense is ranked No. 1 in the NFL in yards allowed and sixth in points allowed. Los Angeles defense has not been good. It ranks 21st in yards allowed and 30th in points given up.
Last Five Meetings
This will be the 16th meeting between the two franchises all time. Although sharing a state (California), they have been in different conferences and have not played regularly. The Chargers have won the last five meetings. Here’s a look at the last five match-ups:
Week 4, Sept 30, 2018 – Chargers 29, Niners 27
The Chargers trailed 17-6 early, but Philip Rivers threw three touchdown passes and Melvin Gordon ran for 104 yards to level the Chargers record at 2-2. C.J. Beathard started at quarterback for San Francisco after Jimmy Garoppolo hurt his knee.
Week 16, Dec. 20, 2014 – Chargers 38, Niners 35 OT
In a wild game that saw the Niners run for a franchise record 355 yards behind Frank Gore and Colin Kaepernick, the Chargers won it on a 40-yard field goal by Nick Novak in overtime after the Niners fumbled on their first overtime possession.
Week 15, Dec. 16, 2010 – Chargers 34, Niners 7
After sitting out much of the year in a contract dispute, Chargers wide receiver Vincent Jackson returned with a vengeance catching three touchdown passes from Philip Rivers in a game that was never close.
Week 6, Oct. 15, 2006 – Chargers 48, Niners 19
LaDanian Tomlinson ran for a career-high four touchdowns, Philip Rivers hit Antonio Gates for a long TD pass as the Chargers dominated the 49ers. It was just Rivers fifth career start.
Week 11, Nov. 17, 2002 – Chargers 20, Niners 17 OT
Drew Brees orchestrated a late drive and Steve Christie drilled a 40-yard field goal in overtime to lift the Chargers to a close win. The Chargers trailed 17-7 entering the fourth, but Brees would take control setting a then-career high with 336 yards passing (he would break that record a lot).
Are You Ready for Sunday Night?
This will be San Francisco’s second appearance on Sunday Night Football this season. It lost to the Broncos 11-10 in Week 3. The Niners have lost their last three games on Sunday night and are 7-11 all-time in the featured slot. The Chargers are 11-7 all time on Sunday Night Football.
The Niners got bad news this week when defensive back Jason Verrett tore his Achilles tendon in practice. He’s done for the year. Arik Armstead and Samson Ebukam also did not practice for the Niners on Thursday. Deebo Samuel was a full go at practice.
The injury news for the Chargers hasn’t been good either. It looks like the Chargers will be without starting wide receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams again. Offensive lineman Trey Pipkins also didn’t practice on Thursday.
The Key Match-Up
The Niners are coming off a bye week, so they have had some time now to fully integrate McCaffrey into their offense. He is a talented weapon coming out of the backfield as a running back and as pass catcher. Unfortunately, its not a good match-up for the Chargers who have struggled to stop the run and have not gotten consistent play from their defensive line.
For the Chargers to win it will once again all on quarterback Justin Herbert to make some plays with back-up wide receivers and an offensive line missing a few starters. He’s done it before, but this may be a tall task against a good Niners defense.