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GAME ESSENTIALS: 49ers (11-4) vs. Raiders (6-9) at Allegiant Stadium, at 1:05 p.m. (PT). TV: CBS. Announcers: Kevin Kugler (play-by-play), Mark Sanchez (color commentary), Laura Okmin (sideline reporting).
ODDS: 49ers -9.5. OVER/UNDER: 41.5.
SERIES: Tied 7-7. LAST MEETING: 49ers won 34-4 on Nov. 1, 2018.
The 49ers make their maiden voyage to Las Vegas to face the Raiders Sunday afternoon as they seek a ninth consecutive victory.
A win paired with a loss by the Minnesota Vikings against the Green Bay Packers would vault the Niners into the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs with one week to go in the season.
The 49ers, even without their Week 1 starting and backup quarterbacks, appear to be getting stronger as the playoffs near. Star receiver Deebo Samuel returned to practice this week after missing two games with a high ankle sprain. Rookie quarterback Brock Purdy returned to full participation this week after being limited by oblique and rib injuries suffered in his first career start, and the man he replaced, Jimmy Garoppolo, is now out of the cast placed on his fractured foot, though any potential return to play for him is still weeks away.
The Raiders, meanwhile, will be without a mainstay of their offense for nearly the last decade. Veteran quarterback Derek Carr, who has struggled in recent weeks, has been benched and is away from the team. His contract stipulates that if he were to be injured, his $33 million salary for 2023 and $7.5 million of his 2024 pay would be guaranteed, and with the team almost certain to miss the playoffs, first-year coach Josh McDaniels has opted to start young quarterback Jarrett Stidham instead.
Stidham will make his first career start and is 8-for-13 for 72 yards over three games this season. The switch might lead to more carries for Josh Jacobs, who presents as firm a challenge as any back has given the 49ers this season.
Follow along with our reporters Cam Inman and Jerry McDonald, columnist Dieter Kurtenbach and other analysts providing their thoughts about the game.