San Francisco 49ers
(5-8, 5-8 ATS)
San Diego Chargers
(7-6, 7-6 ATS)
Though both the San Francisco 49ers and San Diego Chargers saved their skins last week and kept their playoff hopes alive, neither one is in the greatest of shape quite yet. The two will hook up at Qualcomm Stadium for a highly anticipated NFL betting battle on Thursday Night Football this week.
Give the Niners a lot of credit for hanging in there, as they are playing like they are the best team in the NFC West (finally!). However, they still need to win at least two of these final three games and get some help to have any chance of getting into the playoffs, and it make take all three wins to get the job done. After sitting on the bench for over a month, QB Alex Smith is back in the fold, and he did a great job last week against the Seattle Seahawks. Smith threw for 255 yards and three scores without getting picked off. The problem that San Francisco still has is the fact that the running game just isn’t what it should be without RB Frank Gore. RBs Brian Westbrook and Anthony Dixon have only combined for 364 yards this year on the ground, and though Westbrook does have another 125 yards in receptions, the two just haven’t gotten the job done as of yet. Defensively, the 49ers are putting up respectable numbers, ranking No. 12 in total ‘D’ at 327.4 yards per game. However, the No. 20 ranked pass defense could struggle against the high flying Chargers.
This is the final home game for the Chargers, and you can bet if this one is lost, there might not be a way for HC Norv Turner to survive the inevitable fall that is going to come from it. Sure, San Diego played its best game of the season last week in a 31-0 domination over the Kansas City Chiefs to get back within one game in the AFC West, but at least at this point, that just isn’t enough. The Bolts need at least one more, and quite possibly two more KC losses to win the division, and that’s only if they can win out. This defense ranks No. 1 in the league at 2645.9 yards per game allowed, and the offense is No. 2 at 399.6 yards per game. QB Philip Rivers is just 132 yards away from reaching the 4,000 yard barrier for the year, while TE Antonio Gates has 782 yards and ten TDs. Both are surely going to the Pro Bowl this year. Defensively, LB Shaun Phillips is having a fantastic year with ten sacks, but there are five players in the defensive line/linebacking rotation that have gotten to opposing QBs at least three times on the campaign.
The 49ers have been a lousy road team this year, but at least they have hung around in games that perhaps they have had no business staying in. We tend to believe that the Bolts are going to get the job done and win this one, but we could picture this being a very, very close NFL betting battle that comes down to the wire.
Pro Football Free Pick: San Francisco 49ers +9.5