The Chargers and Niners are ready to get after each other on prime time Thursday night football. A game with playoff implications for both the AFC and NFC West. The loser of this game will have a very hard time making the playoffs for their respective division. I have noticed that the offense usually has a big advantage in these early week games on Thursday. So look for a lot of points to be scored under the lights, at least on the Chargers side of the ball for sure. I picked both the Chargers and Niners to still win their divisions when they were 2-5 and 1-6 on the season. This game will most likely ruin one of these teams’ chances to do so.
The Niners took on the Seahawks last week and beat up on one of their division opponents in the inconsistent NFC West. The Western divisions are very similar, with no teams really standing out with great records. I think the AFC is a lot better then the NFC though. The Chargers and Chiefs are better than any team in the NFC West. Alex Smith came back and started for the Niners last week and played very well, throwing for 255 yards and three touchdowns. The Niners started the year off 1-6 under Smith which led to the switch at QB for the team. They then went to Troy Smith who went 3-2 in his five starts until the Niners decided to go back to Alex Smith last week. Looking at the Niners this week they remind me of the Chiefs team we played last week. With not knowing what you are going to get out of your QB like Croyle last week, the Niners are also uncertain which Alex Smith will show up this week. Both teams have strong running games who rely on controlling the ball and not making mistakes. Both teams are missing very important players in Matt Cassel and Frank Gore. Also the defenses are alike with a young and talented front seven, along with a fairly weak secondary.
The Chargers are coming off of a game where everything was clicking and falling into place. It will be key for our Bolts to stay confident and make adjustments if things do not run as smoothly as last week, early in this game. The Chargers have to be feeling good right now and on a short week, I’m sure they want to get out on the field and do it again. The Niners are in the same boat with their win over the Seahawks. Matt Hasselback threw four interceptions in that game, I’m sure Rivers will not help the Niners in that way. This game may fall on the arm of Rivers. The Niners play a 3-4 and are committed to stopping the run. The Chargers need to stick with the run to keep the defense honest but look for the play action and big plays to hurt the Niners. I would like to see a lot of Ryan Mathews in this game. His style of running fits better than Tolbert against the Niners 3-4 defense. With Frank Gore out Anthony Dixon should see most of the carries with some Brian Westbrook sprinkled in on third downs. The Niners O-line is not great and Dixon does not scare me much, so the Chargers should be able to stop the run and force Alex Smith to beat them. I like the sound of that!
Weekly Prediction- Chargers 34 Niners 16
Season Prediction- 10-6
About the Author
Written by Jeff Burke
I am 25 years old living in sunny San Diego. I am married to my beautiful wife Kara. I have been a Chargers and Padres fan through the good times and the bad. I played baseball at Poway high school and Monterey Peninsula college. I have won eight fantasy championships on yahoo since 2001.