Welcome back for one last week of San Francisco 49ers football! The 49ers are at home in Week 17, hosting the St. Louis Rams in their final game of the season. The game airs on CBS, and kicks off at 1:25 p.m. PT. The announcers will be Tom McCarthy and Adam Archuleta. The game was flexed over to CBS from its usual FOX location in order to get Raiders-Chiefs onto FOX due to the Chiefs playoff contention.
The 49ers head into the season finale with a chance to lock up top five positioning in the 2016 NFL Draft. The 49ers currently hold the No. 5 spot, tied with the San Diego Chargers and Dallas Cowboys at 4-11. The Tennessee Titans and Cleveland Browns are 3-12, while the Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins, and Baltimore Ravens are all 5-10. A 49ers loss guarantees a top five pick, while a win would put them no worse than No. 8.
They face a Rams team that is 7-8 and looking to secure their first .500 season since 2006, when they went 8-8. Their best record under Jeff Fisher is 7-8-1, and with his future secured, I suppose an 8-8 season might be viewed by some as a step forward. They do have some serious building blocks at this point. Their defense ranks among the top ten according to Football Outsiders. They've got a strong defensive line, and several playmakers throughout the defense. On the offensive side of the ball, Todd Gurley had a great year, surpassing 1,100 rushing yards in 13 games on the field (12 starts). They have questions at quarterback, but if they can boost their offensive line even further in front of Gurley, they could be going places.
The injury report is fairly notable for Sunday's game. The Rams will likely be without Todd Gurley due to a foot injury suffered against the Seattle Seahawks. He is listed as doubtful, which means he has a 25 percent or less chance of playing. Given that the Rams have nothing other than .500 to play for, there is no point in aggravating the foot injury.
On the 49ers side of things, defensive lineman Quinton Dial is listed as out, and strong safety Jaquiski Tartt is listed as doubtful. Jimmie Ward will likely start in place of Tartt, which will be fascinating to watch. Ward played safety in college, and has played a little bit of it at the NFL level. He has primarily been a nickel back, but has the versatility to make the move. Getting a full look at him as a starter in this role will be one of the bigger things to watch in this season finale.
The 49ers opened as 3.5-point underdogs to the Rams, and the line has settled at about a field goal. The Rams beat the 49ers 27-6 in St. Louis, with Todd Gurley having a strong performance, and the 49ers offense absolutely abysmal. Without Gurley, and the 49ers defense playing at home, I think San Francisco can cover this one. An outright win would not surprise me, but season finales in a bad season are always tough to figure out.
Nuts and bolts
Location: Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara, CA
Game time: Sunday, January 3, 1:25 p.m. PT
TV channel: CBS
Online streaming: NFL Game Pass on replay
49ers Radio: 680-AM, 107.7 (Ted Robinson, Tim Ryan) | Full listings
Announcers: Tom McCarthy, Adam Archuleta
Spanish Radio: KTRB 860-AM (Jesus Zarate, Luis Landero)
Odds: 49ers +3
Matchup history: 11-3 (including 2-0 in Super Bowls)
Enemy blog: Turf Show Times
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49ers regular season schedule
Week 1: vs. Minnesota Vikings - 49ers 20, Vikings 3
Week 2: @ Pittsburgh Steelers - Steelers 43, 49ers 18
Week 3: @ Arizona Cardinals - Cardinals 47, 49ers 7
Week 4: vs. Green Bay Packers - Packers 17, 49ers 3
Week 5: @ New York Giants Giants 30, 49ers 27
Week 6: vs. Baltimore Ravens - 49ers 25, Ravens 20
Week 7: vs. Seattle Seahawks - Seahawks 20, 49ers 3
Week 8: @ St. Louis Rams - Rams 27, 49ers 6
Week 9: vs. Atlanta Falcons - 49ers 17, Falcons 16
Week 10: BYE
Week 11: @ Seattle Seahawks - Seahawks 29, 49ers 13
Week 12: vs. Arizona Cardinals - Cardinals 19, 49ers 13
Week 13: @ Chicago Bears - 49ers 26, Bears 20
Week 14: @ Cleveland Browns - Browns 24, 49ers 10
Week 15: vs. Cincinnati Bengals - Bengals 24, 49ers 14
Week 16: @ Detroit Lions - Lions 32, 49ers 17
Week 17: vs. St. Louis Rams - Sunday, January 3, 1:25 p.m. FOX