Los Angeles Chargers vs. San Francisco 49ers Preseason Preview
The Los Angeles Chargers (1-1-0 preseason; 10-7-0 last season) are set to face off against the San Francisco 49ers (1-1-0; 13-4-0) in the final preseason game of 2023. These two teams met in the previous regular season, with the Niners securing a 22-16 victory at home. Although the stakes are lower this time around, Levi's Stadium once again hosts this anticipated matchup. The kickoff is scheduled for 10:00 p.m. EDT, making it a late-night game for East Coast viewers. Let's dive into how each team is approaching this game under the Friday night lights.
Chargers: Building the Roster
The Los Angeles Chargers have signaled their intention not to field their starters in this matchup, focusing instead on finalizing their roster. Defensively, attention will be on newly signed linebacker Tae Crowder, who joins the team after recent stints with the Giants and Steelers. The Chargers struggled against the run in the previous season, and Crowder's impact in that area will be closely watched. Another key player to monitor is undrafted cornerback Tiawan Mullen, who needs to demonstrate strong coverage skills to solidify his spot. Mullen's contributions on special teams will also factor into his chances of making the roster.
Last week, the Chargers took a step back after a strong preseason opener. With Easton Stick securing a backup spot, Max Duggan may see significant snaps in this game. Elijah Dotson's performance is crucial, as he seeks to establish his position on the team. Dotson's standout performance in the first preseason game was followed by a setback, making this matchup pivotal for his roster prospects. With the Chargers having a more pressing need at tight end and along the offensive line, Dotson's performance will be closely evaluated.
49ers: Showcasing Starters and Competitions
The San Francisco 49ers are aiming to continue their preseason success as they welcome the Chargers. The Niners secured a close home win last week and are looking to build on that momentum. The team's starters are expected to begin the game, including Brock Purdy, who is in the process of recovering from injury. The QB2 spot competition between Sam Darnold and Trey Lance adds another layer of intrigue to the matchup.
On the offensive side, players like Ronnie Bell aim to solidify their spots with strong performances. The battle at tight end between Charlie Woerner and Ross Dwelley intensifies as they compete for a roster spot. The offensive line also has one available spot, which is likely to be filled by Nick Zakelj.
The defensive unit, which performed admirably last season, has a few positions up for grabs. Defensive linemen T.Y. McGill and Kalia Davis have a chance to secure roster spots with standout performances against the Chargers. The competition for the last linebacker spot is fierce, and the cornerback position is an area of focus, with only Charvarius Ward locked into a spot. The coaching staff may experiment with various cornerbacks in different roles to assess their versatility.
In this anticipated preseason matchup, the San Francisco 49ers hold the advantage as they field some of their starters. The Chargers' decision not to play their starters suggests that the Niners will have an upper hand in terms of both experience and gameplay.
With the Niners' solid performance in the previous week and the presence of their starters, they are well-positioned to secure a victory and cover the -7.5 points spread. The combination of Brock Purdy's return and the competition at the quarterback position indicates a focused and competitive Niners team.
Ultimately, the San Francisco 49ers are predicted to emerge victorious, showcasing their depth and determination to dominate under the Friday night lights. Football enthusiasts can expect an engaging matchup that leans in favor of the Niners.
Pick: 49ers -7.5 -110
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