Good morning folks, and a happy Thursday to you. We’ve got a great Thursday night game tonight, a divisional matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs (11-2) and the Los Angeles Chargers of San Diego (10-3), one that may have direct playoff implications, due to the neck-and-neck nature of these two AFC West teams. Barring a late season collapse for the Chargers, which is historically very unlikely (they always seem to get better towards the end of the season), they’re virtually guaranteed a wildcard spot at the least. However, the Chiefs historically weaken down the stretch, so this game could be the one to open the flood gates and break this race wide open.
In terms of 49ers interests in this game, there’s really none. Both of these teams have played the 49ers and Cardinals once, and the Raiders twice - bringing about a net zero in the strength of schedule formula for each of the bottom feeders. The Chargers played the 4-9 Buffalo Bills, and the Chiefs played the 4-9 Jacksonville Jaguars. The Buffalo Bills currently have a .529 strength of schedule, identical to both the 49ers and Cardinals - so if you really must root for a team, it’s best to root for the Chargers.
The 49ers injury report was released, and there aren’t necessarily any surprises, other than the inclusion of DJ Jones, who was limited Wednesday with a back issue. Presumed starter Earl Mitchell is no longer listed as injured, though, so it would seem likely that Mitchell resumes playing, giving the team little reason to press Jones back into service while banged up. As per the usual, Matt Breida has been a limited participant as he recovers from a lingering ankle injury, joined by center Weston Richburg (knee) and guard Laken Tomlinson (hip). Linebacker Malcolm Smith, unsurprisingly, makes an appearance on the injured list, as he has been limited with complications from a torn Achilles in 2017.
On the other hand, Cassius Marsh remains out while he progresses through the concussion protocol, and the secondary will continue to be undermanned as nickel K’Waun Williams (knee) and safety Jaquiski Tartt (shoulder) have not practiced. Youngsters DJ Reed (nickel) and Marcell Harris (safety) both performed well on Sunday, which may give the coaching staff the confidence to give them the start against the Seahawks, and continue to rest the veteran starters.
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Kentavius Street to return to practice | Madson, Ninerswire
Joe Staley: Frank Gore a first ballot HOF | Madson, Ninerswire