Week 10 NFL: Previewing the Los Angeles Chargers-San Francisco 49ers matchup

November 8, 2022 06:20 PM
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Los Angeles Chargers at San Francisco 49ers

The first half of the season brought two dramatic changes to the San Francisco offense. The 49ers are again Jimmy Garoppolo’s team, for better or worse. The veteran quarterback is not looking over his shoulder and only looking ahead because he became the man when Trey Lance went down to a season-ending ankle injury in mid-September.

Garoppolo received a big lift in mid-October when the team traded for Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey. In a 31-14 win over Rams before the bye, McCaffrey showed off his versatile skills with a rushing, receiving and passing touchdown. He finished with 94 rushing yards, 55 receiving yards and 34 passing yards. Garoppolo completed 21 of 25 passes for 235 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions as the 49ers left Los Angeles feeling good at 4-4.

The Chargers are better away from L.A., having won three in a row on the road, so this will not be an uncomfortable spot for quarterback Justin Herbert. Despite injuries on the offensive line and the absence of top receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, Herbert found a way to lead the Chargers to a 20-17 win at Atlanta in Week 9. Herbert might be without Allen and Williams again on Sunday night.

It’s a minor miracle the Chargers are 5-3, considering three of their top players — edge rusher Joey Bosa, cornerback J.C. Jackson and left tackle Rashawn Slater — are on injured reserve and other key players have missed multiple games. The Chargers thrive on the road, but they are not facing the Falcons, Browns or Texans this time.

The San Francisco offense will be even more dangerous if receiver Deebo Samuel, who missed the game against the Rams, returns from injury as expected. The 49ers play six of their final nine games at home and one of their road games will be in Mexico City against the Cardinals, so the second half of the schedule sets up for San Francisco to make a run at the NFC West title.

It would seem easy to recommend San Francisco as a 7-point favorite, but the Chargers, who covered in a 3-point loss at Kansas City in Week 2, tend to be at their best as road dogs. Still, the 49ers have several factors working in their favor and should be the right side.

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