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49ers vs. Chargers 1st quarter thread: Look for the defense to make a statement

Especially off a bye with a few players back from injury

San Francisco 49ers v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

It’s been a good day for the 49ers, and they haven’t played yet. The Seahawks lost, which means the 49ers are tied for first place in the NFC West in the loss column. The Rams loss to the Cardinals, so now both them and Arizona have six losses.

It’s all on the 49ers to handle their business. San Francisco enters this game as 7.5-point favorites. We’ve gone over the matchups. The Niners have the health advantage, which is bizarre to say.

I’m interested to see what Kyle Shanahan has up his sleeve off the bye week. He’s had extra time to integrate Deebo Samuel and Christian McCaffrey. Elijah Mitchell is back. And there are the usuals in Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle.

But this game will be about the defense. Samson Ebukam isn’t playing, but there’s plenty of depth, and this will be a chance for Drake Jackson to make a name for himself. The Chargers will be without their right tackle Trey Pipkins, so the defensive line should feast, as Rashawn Slate was already lost for the season.