The San Francisco 49ers will continue their preseason with a short trip to Sofi Stadium to meet up with the Los Angeles Chargers. San Francisco struggled last season with a ton of injuries to key players and missed the playoffs at 6-10 in a stacked NFC West division. They’re back healthy this season and figure to be in contention to win the NFC after a trip to the Super Bowl in 2019. The Chargers finished last season an optimistic 7-9, winning their last four games, and are a sleeper pick to be one of the most improved teams in the NFL this season.
The Chargers hit big in the draft last season when they selected Justin Herbert in the first round. Herbert went on to win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, breaking a ton of rookie records along the way and has put the Chargers rebuild into hyper-speed. Running back Austin Eckler was injured last season, but he’ll be back healthy and figures to be the main guy in the backfield, and a factor in the passing game.
San Francisco fell short in the Super Bowl in 2019 and due to injuries last season ended up out of the playoffs. They made waves in the draft when Kyle Shanahan and company traded up to third overall to take North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance. Lance had an up and down start in preseason Game 1, showing glimpses of brilliance but struggles with accuracy going 5/14 with 128 yards, 80 of which coming in a touchdown pass.
The 49ers' defense has been among the better in the NFL in the last couple of years, they finished fifth in the NFL in total yards allowing 314.4 yards per game but fared worse in scoring offense allowing 24.4 points per contest. Since 2015, the 49ers have used six first-rounders on their defensive front seven. They’ll return to full strength this season and will no doubt be among the better defenses in the league this season.
Los Angeles also got bit by the injury bug last season, especially on the defensive end, and finished in the bottom half of scoring defense allowing 26.6 points per game. They should get Derwin James back into the secondary, he had one of the best defensive rookie seasons in history but has played just five games in the last two years.