Magazine News Sport Volume 70, Issue 2

What’s Next For California NFL Teams?

Graphic by Yiying Zhang

As the NFL heads steadily into Week 5 of their season, fans across California are settling into the playing motions from their favorite teams. Each of the 3 well-known teams throughout the state – the San Francisco 49ers and the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers – are pulling their weight in wins but also struggling with a fair amount of losses.

The San Francisco 49ers are wanting to pull together a strong season after their 31-20 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV. Sophomore Ben Carlson discussed his prediction coming into the new year, “…the 49ers had a chance at another Super Bowl run. The team was still stacked to all hell and we picked up 2 good rookies.” But his views began to change after the Niners began to fall behind within their division, eventually landing last place behind the Arizona Cardinals, “I know the 49ers will be a fringe playoff team. Our injuries have screwed our chances at a deep playoff run. And with that loss to the Eagles, I know that we will make the playoffs barely if at all…..” Their struggle is mainly depicted by the mass amounts of injuries from within the team, the most catastrophic being their star quarterback, Jimmy Garopollo, who went down with a serious ankle injury during Week 2 against the New York Jets. His reentry into Week 5 was difficult as he threw a total of 2 interceptions against the Miami Dolphins, in which they lost the game 43-17.  The Niners are currently taking a 2-3 record, hoping to compete with a 3-2 Cardinals, a 4-1 Rams, and their NFC West division leader, the Seattle Seahawks, who currently place with an undefeated record of 5-0. The Niners will be taking on the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, October 18th at home in Santa Clara, still without fans.

The Los Angeles Rams have come into the 2020 season strong, on the heels of the Seattle Seahawks to take their first place in the division with a 4-1 record. Their only loss came from a close game with an undefeated Buffalo Bills, also undefeated, topping off the AFC West division. The Rams went on to defeat Washington 30-10, securing their fourth win of the season so far. When asked about the bond they had been able to build, defensive tackle Michael Brockers responded with a Tweet, saying, “This is a true team…we play for each other and we never look like we’re out.” The team is hoping to score another win and replace the Seahawks as they enjoy a bye week after their tight 27-26 win against the Minnesota Vikings. As the Rams head into Week 6, they will be facing off against the 2-3 49ers at Levi’s Stadium to try and make their division dreams come true.

The Los Angeles Chargers have been struggling this season, taking last in the AFC West, which is currently being led by the 4-1 Kansas City Chiefs. Coming into Week 5, they took a 38-31 loss against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, adding another loss to their 1-2 record. The former San Diego team had to postpone their Week 5 game as reports of a COVID-19 outbreak made headlines, and out of caution, the NFL chose to reschedule several games, pushing back the upcoming match against the New Orleans Saints and giving the team a bye-week for Week 6. Tyler Mills, a sophomore, talked about the team’s standings before the sudden postponing, “It has gotten a bit worse for the Chargers in terms of running backs… lost Ekeler to an injury last week…which is not helpful. The injuries of the Chargers are not good in any way, star running back Austin Ekeler is out and that will definitely affect them in the passing and running game.” There is clear uncertainty whether or not the Chargers’ season could be in danger of being postponed longer than expected but the team is still hopeful, posting several images of the team arriving in New Orleans in hopes to add a second win to their division.