The San Francisco 49ers host the Oakland Raiders in the final “Battle of the Bay” tonight on Thursday Night Football. Niner Noise previews the 49ers’ Week 9 matchup, including key stats, players to watch, X-factors, injury news and how to watch the game live.
One of the NFL’s premier rivalries will come to an end tonight on Thursday Night Football as the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders face off in the last “Battle of the Bay” before the Raiders leave the Bay Area for Las Vegas.
The Raiders still don’t know where they’ll be playing football next season, but the next time these two rivals will face off again in the regular season will be in 2022, in the Raiders’ new stadium in Sin City.
Meanwhile, the 49ers don’t know who their starting quarterback will be in tonight’s game. Backup quarterback C.J. Beathard — who took over for San Francisco after QB Jimmy Garoppolo‘s season-ending knee injury — was unable to properly grip a football on Tuesday due to a sprained right wrist, and is officially questionable for tonight’s contest. If Beathard is unable to make it through pre-game warmups, quarterback Nick Mullens will get the first start of his short career.
While tonight’s matchup will hold special importance to fans in the Bay Area, the outcome will mean little to the rest of the NFL, outside of the game’s impact on draft position in 2019. The Raiders and 49ers entered the season with high hopes for the season, but those hopes have long since vanished as both teams have mustered just a single victory in 2018.
As two of the NFL’s three one-win teams clash tonight, the final Battle of the Bay will play a significant role in determining the final draft order for the 2019 NFL Draft, but don’t expect either squad to tank the game merely for a better draft pick.
Given the prior working relationship between 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan and Raiders head coach Jon Gruden and the extensive rivalry between these two teams, tonight’s Thursday Night Football showdown should full of intensity, despite the game’s lack of playoff implications.
Let’s break down the San Francisco 49ers’ Thursday Night Football matchup in Week 9 of the 2018 NFL regular season, beginning with the Niners’ two potential starting quarterbacks: