The San Francisco 49ers enter the final week of the regular season with some breathing room after securing the NFC's No. 1 seed with a 27-10 win over the Washington Commanders and the Arizona Cardinals 35-31 upset of the Philadelphia Eagles. For San Francisco, their regular season finale versus the Los Angeles Rams becomes a low stakes game as the 49ers turn their attention to getting healthy before the NFC Divisional Round.
Here are the three biggest takeaways from head coach Kyle Shanahan's Monday conference call:
Running back Christian McCaffrey will be out this week against the Rams.
The 49ers star running back surpassed 2,000 scrimmage yards on Sunday after racking up 14 carries for 64 yards on the ground and another four catches for 27 yards through the air against Washington. He exited Sunday's contest early, and the team turned to Elijah Mitchell to lead the rushing attack in the second half. Shanahan said McCaffrey is dealing with a "mild calf strain," and the injury will keep him out of the regular season finale.
"We're really confident on that (McCaffrey will be ready for the playoffs)," Shanahan said. "It was good news. It could have been a lot worse. We're happy, and we'll take care of him this week. Hopefully, he'll start getting to go during our off week."
The head coach shared the injury status of players that suffered injuries in Week 17 and also the players that were sidelined versus the Commanders.
- RB Christian McCaffrey (calf strain): out Week 18
- CB Ambry Thomas (hand): will have surgery on a broken hand Tuesday and will be out Week 18
- TE Ross Dwelley (high ankle sprain): Not likely to be ready to go this week
- DL Arik Armstead (foot/knee): will be out Week 18 in an effort to have him ready for the playoffs
- WR Jauan Jennings (concussion): still in the concussion protocol
- T Jaylon Moore (concussion): still in the concussion protocol
- S Ji'Ayir Brown (knee sprain): will continue to rehab knee, chance to play in Week 18 is unclear
- WR Ray-Ray McCloud III: will have IR practice window opened this week
Shanahan and the coaching staff are working to determine their approach to playing time in Week 18 with the NFC's No. 1 seed secured.
With several 49ers players dealing with injuries, this coming week will likely feature different personnel configurations and varying snap counts for starters as San Francisco attempts to position itself for success in an extended season. McCaffrey has already been ruled out after suffering a mild calf strain and you should expect to see other playmakers either join him on the sidelines or see their playing time reduced against the Rams.
With home field advantage and a first round Bye in hand, getting healthy while also keeping the momentum going through to the Divisional Round and working within the constraints of a 53-man roster becomes the challenge for the coaching staff.
"No one is set right now," Shanahan said. "I'm still discussing that with coaches, trying to figure out what is best for us. I will probably discuss with those players also. Not as many as you would think. It's a hard thing to do, and it's not always the best thing to do. We're going to take everything into account, so it's something we are going to continue to talk about through this day and tomorrow."