It’s been quite a week for the San Francisco 49ers organization and its fans. Jimmy Garoppolo saw his season come to an end with a torn ACL, and at times it feels like going through the five steps of the grieving process.
We’ve seen head coach Kyle Shanahan working his way through this process in his media interviews. On Monday, he talked about how it was tough to wake up that morning after the injury. On Wednesday, he had moved on to, “[t]his happens a lot,” and after you’re down about it, “when you come in today it’s time to get ready for the next game,” and of course, “[t]here’s not time to sit here and feel sorry for ourselves. It’s time to step it up and win some games.” By Thursday evening on a KNBR interview, he sounded a little more fired up and ready to go for Sunday.
I don’t imagine it is that simple for 49ers fans, but I do know we have opinions all over the place on the future of the team. And confidence is certainly low at the moment.
But with 13 games remaining, where do people see this season ending up? I don’t imagine many people expect the team to compete for a playoff spot, but I’m sure there are some folks who are ready to jump on the C.J. Beathard train. And on the other end, some folks might be fully expecting no more than three or four wins.
This weekend, the 49ers travel to face the Los Angeles Chargers. The Chargers offense has been putting up some big numbers, but sits at 1-2 thanks to a bad defense. Joey Bosa remains out, and is not expected back for a few more weeks at the earliest. The defense still has solid pieces like safety Derwin James, edge rusher Melvin Ingram, and linebacker Denzel Perryman, but the group has struggled in a big way.
The 49ers were projected to be a 4.5 point underdog in this game, but Garoppolo’s injury swung the line considerably. Virtually all sportsbooks are holding this game at Chargers -10 or -10.5, according to OddsShark. You can find 11.5, but for the most part it’s 10 or 10.5. And while the 49ers have problems in front of them, I am actually considering using one of my five picks in the SuperContest on the 49ers.
61 percent of online bettors are laying the points with the Chargers, and 72 percent of bettors at William Hill’s 100+ sportsbooks are on the Chargers. It’s not at all surprising given the injury, but the past couple weeks have been rough for the public. I look at Sunday’s matchup as one that could end up being a lot closer than the public thinks.
Our weekly FanPulse survey suggests 49ers fans think this is one where the team has a chance to cover. The survey went out early this week with the point spread listed at 10. The group of voters (sign up to join our FanPulse survey) went in aggregate see the 49ers losing by seven points. I don’t know if that’s just homerism or what, but a cover does not seem all that crazy to me given how the NFL operates.
C.J. Beathard is a downgrade from Jimmy Garoppolo, but with a year and a half under his belt working with Kyle Shanahan puts him in position to be better equipped than he was a year ago. The 49ers are still working to upgrade their skill positions, but overall this group appears to provide better options than when Beathard first moved into the starting lineup. If the offensive line can hold up and Beathard can show himself to be more decisive than last year, the 49ers offense could make some things happen against a bad Chargers defense.
On the other side of the ball, Philip Rivers faces a secondary that is particularly banged up. Richard Sherman won’t play, Jaquiski Tartt has sat out two straight days of practice after missing last week’s game, and Adrian Colbert is not 100 percent after a hip injury. The Chargers pass protection ranks No. 9 in adjusted sack rate, while the 49ers pass rush ranks No. 23 in adjusted sack rate.
The lack of pass rush with injuries in the secondary is not a recipe for success, but I think we’ll see more than expected from the 49ers offense to keep this game close. And if you don’t want to bet the game, I’d say take the over on the 46 point total.