Heading into a must-win game against the Commanders, both teams are dealing with major injuries. Here's why the 49ers might be better equipped to handle the injuries than their counterparts.
The San Francisco 49ers are essentially playing two playoff games to wrap up the NFL season, needing wins against the Washington Commanders and the Los Angeles Rams in order to guarantee themselves the 1-seed in the NFC. Though they are heavy favorites against the Commanders, the 49ers have been dealing with injuries and head into the early-morning game pretty banged up.
The 49ers will be without star defensive tackle Arik Armstead for yet another week, and for this week, rookie safety Ji'Ayir Brown as well and slot receiver Jauan Jennings. The full list of inactives can be found here. Without Armstead and Brown, the 49ers will have their defensive depth tested, but they have done well to insulate both positions. Recent signed veterans Logan Ryan at safety and Sebastian Joseph-Day at defensive tackle will help shore up the defense.
On the Commanders side, they are dealing with injuries to their starting quarterback Jacboy Brissett, causing them to start 2nd-year QB Sam Howell. Howell, who has been the primary starter for the Commanders over the course of the season, was recently benched in favor for Brissett, but will now get a chance against the 49ers defense. On the Commanders defensive front, the Commanders will be without both starting cornerbackers in Kendall Fuller and Benjamin St. Juste. This will force struggling rooke Emmanuel Forbes Jr. back into a starting role along with an unproven player in their secondary. A full list of inactives can be found here for the Commanders.
How the 49ers might be more equipped to handle the injuries
Though the 49ers would be heavy favorites against the Commanders even if both teams were fully healthy, the injury situation takes away a lot of the firepower the Commanders have to pull off the upset. Without their starting cornerbacks, the 49ers will have their full offensive arsenal intact to attack a Commanders defense that has struggled throughout the season. And though Sam Howell has been the primary starter for the Commanders, he has been struggling the last couple of weeks, prompting his benching.
While injuries are an unfortunate part of football, the 49ers should be better equipped to handle them this week.