WASHINGTON (7-6-1) at SAN FRANCISCO (10-4)
Saturday, 4:05 p.m. EST, CBS
FANDUEL SPORTSBOOK NFL LINE: 49ers by 7 1/2.
AGAINST THE SPREAD: Commanders 7-6-1, 49ers 9-5
SERIES RECORD: 49ers lead 21-12-1
LAST MEETING: Washington beat 49ers 23-15 on Dec. 13, 2020, at Glendale, Arizona.
LAST WEEK: Commanders lost to Giants 20-12; 49ers beat Seahawks 21-13.
COMMANDERS OFFENSE: OVERALL (20), RUSH (11), PASS (21), SCORING (25)
COMMANDERS DEFENSE: OVERALL (4), RUSH (12), PASS (8), SCORING (9)
49ERS OFFENSE: OVERALL (7), RUSH (9), PASS (14), SCORING (10)
49ERS DEFENSE: OVERALL (1), RUSH (1), PASS (13), SCORING (1)
TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Commanders minus-2; 49ers plus-7.
COMMANDERS PLAYER TO WATCH: QB Taylor Heinicke. A large part of why Heinicke is starting again over Carson Wentz is his mobility and ability to evade pass rushers. For Washington to pull off the upset, Heinicke will need to avoid mistakes such as his two fumbles in the loss to the Giants.
49ERS PLAYER TO WATCH: Rookie QB Brock Purdy has shined in two starts since replacing the injured Jimmy Garoppolo, becoming the first QB since Aaron Rodgers in 2008 to throw for at least 175 yards with at least two TDs and a passer rating of at least 115 in each of his first two starts. Purdy has thrown two TD passes in three straight games.
KEY MATCHUP: Washington red zone offense vs. San Francisco red zone defense. The Commanders have struggled in the red zone, converting just one of three trips into TDs last week against the Giants. They have scored TDs on just 11 of 23 trips since Taylor Heinicke replaced Carson Wentz as the starter and rank 29th on the season, scoring 4.32 points per drive in the red zone. San Francisco has been one of the stingiest defenses near the goal line, ranking fifth in the league allowing 4.45 points per red zone drive.
KEY INJURIES: Commanders DE Chase Young will make his season debut more than 13 months since tearing the ACL in his right knee. ... CB Benjamin St-Juste is expected to return for Washington after missing the past three games with an ankle injury. ... San Francisco DT Javon Kinlaw (knee) could return from IR this week. ... Niners CB Charvarius Ward is expected to play after having a concussion last week.
SERIES NOTES: The 49ers have won five of the past seven meetings in the series. ... Washington hasn't won at San Francisco since 2004. ... The Niners won home games against Washington in 2008 and 2014, and lost in Arizona in 2020 when they were forced to relocate because of COVID-19 restrictions.
STATS AND STUFF: Washington is 6-2 in franchise history on Christmas Eve. Only P Tress Way is left from the team’s previous Christmas Eve game, a win against Denver in 2017. ... The Commanders are 5-2-1 since Heinicke became the starter. ... Heinicke completed his longest pass of the season last week, 61 yards to rookie WR Jahan Dotston. ... Commanders rookie RB Brian Robinson Jr. has 100-plus scrimmage yards in three consecutive games. ... Dotson had a career-high 105 yards receiving and caught a TD pass from Heinicke against the Giants. ... Washington WR Terry McLaurin is the first player in franchise history to eclipse 1,000 yards receiving in three consecutive seasons since Henry Ellard from 1994-96. ... DT Daron Payne leads Washington with 8½ sacks. Former Alabama teammate and fellow first-round pick Jonathan Allen is second with 7½. ... S Bobby McCain had a career-high 11 tackles for the Commanders in the Giants game. ... The Niners have won seven straight games while allowing 17 points or fewer every game. Their only longer win streak when allowing 17 points or fewer in every game came in 1984 when they did it eight straight on the way to their second Super Bowl title. ... San Francisco has outscored the opposition by 16.6 ppg during the win streak. ... The 49ers have intercepted 15 passes and allowed 13 TD passes. The previous time they finished a season with more INTs than TD passes allowed was in 2011. ... San Francisco DE Nick Bosa is the fifth player in the past 30 years with back-to-back seasons with at least 15 sacks. ... Niners LB Dre Greenlaw has either a forced fumble, a fumble recovery or an INT in five straight games. ... San Francisco RB Christian McCaffrey needs 73 yards rushing for his third career season with at least 1,000 yards on the ground. ... McCaffrey is averaging 116.9 yards from scrimmage since becoming the starter in Week 8 with seven TDs in those seven games.
FANTASY TIP: San Francisco TE George Kittle had four catches for 93 yards and two TDs last week. Kittle has three of his six TDs on the season in the two games WR Deebo Samuel missed and could be in position to add to that total with Samuel out once again this week.
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