The San Francisco 49ers are the defending NFC champions but their injury-ravaged season just got worse with the news that quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo could miss six weeks and Pro Bowl tight end George Kittle the rest of the season. The Niners are solid home underdogs on Thursday vs. Green Bay and, let’s be honest, their season is essentially over now.
San Francisco 49ers | 2020 NFL West Expert Analysis
Both Jimmy G and Kittle have been banged up all season and both left Sunday’s loss to Seattle. Kittle and Garoppolo’s injuries came within minutes of each other early in the fourth quarter. Garoppolo is dealing with a high ankle sprain that figures to cost him six weeks and perhaps the season, while Kittle’s season is likely done with a broken bone in his foot.
Garoppolo completed 11-of-16 passes for 84 yards and an interception through three quarters Sunday before Nick Mullens entered. Garoppolo, clearly rushed back from the high-ankle sprain he suffered in Week 2, failed to finish two of the four starts he made since returning from injury. He’ll get multiple opinions before ultimately making a decision on whether or not he should undergo season-ending surgery or hold off until the end of the year.
Nick Mullens completed 18-of-25 passes for 238 yards and two touchdowns in the 49ers’ Week 8 loss to the Seahawks and should be the guy going forward. Mullens’ raw traits are questionable and he’s still inexperienced, but he can get the ball out to his top playmakers. His passer rating of 128.4 was the second-highest of his career behind his 151.9 rating against the Raiders in Nov. 2018.
To make matter worse for the Niners, wide receiver Dante Pettis suffered a shoulder injury on his first kickoff return of the game and did not return and running back Tevin Coleman left the game in the first half after re-injuring his knee. Coleman missed the last five games after suffering his initial injury during the 49ers Week 2. Several other Niners missed the game injured.
SEAHAWKS: Seattle was without top running backs Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde for Week 8’s win over the Niners and it’s too early to tell if they will play Week 9. DeeJay Dallas played 79 percent of the team’s offensive snaps in Week 8 against the 49ers and saw 18 of the 20 rushing attempts. He would be the main guy if those two are out again. Seattle is a 2.5-point favorite in Buffalo. There is some good news, though, around former Pro Bowl safety Jamal Adams. He has missed the past four with an injury and illness (not COVID-19) but Coach Pete Carroll expects him Sunday.
Receiver DK Metcalf had a career-best game in Sunday’s win over the 49ers, a performance that even caught the attention of LeBron James. Metcalf had the best game of his career with 12 catches for 161 yards and two touchdowns, giving him new career bests in both receptions and yards. On Instagram, LeBron referred to Metcalf as “Baby Bron” and wrote “We built different.”
RAMS: The Rams looked terrible Sunday in a blowout loss in Miami. Jared Goff completed 35-of-61 passes for 355 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. He also lost a pair of fumbles, taking two sacks, and all four of Goff’s turnovers came in the first half. In a game where the Rams held the Dolphins to just 145 total yards, the offense simply was not good enough. The Rams had a chance to move to 6-2 and claw closer to the top of the division with a win, but instead they’re now sitting at 5-3 heading into their bye.
CARDINALS: Arizona comes out of its bye this week and hosts Miami – Kyler Murray vs. Tua Tagovailoa. Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury said the team had two positive COVID-19 tests during the bye week. Kingsbury said the team would operate “as usual” at practice this week because contact tracing had shown limited interactions between the COVID-positive people and others in the organization. Kingsbury declined to say which players tested positive, but linebacker Devon Kennard Tweeted out he was one.
Arizona likely will be without top running back Kenyan Drake, who hurt his ankle a couple of weeks ago. Kingsbury elaborated Monday that Drake is essentially day-to-day, although unlikely to play against the Dolphins. “I know it looked more severe than it’s going to end up being, hopefully,” Kingsbury said. “From where we started to where we are now, we’re very fortunate.” The Cards are 4.5-point favorites vs. the Dolphins.
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