If you're a quarterback looking for a chance to bolster your MVP credentials, what better stage could there be than facing a team that employs David Carr, Alex Smith and Troy Smith? Philip Rivers looks like Joe Montana compared to that cast of characters.

Then again, as good as Rivers has looked this season, if the team around him had played to its potential, tonight's game might not be nearly as important as it is with both teams fighting for their playoff lives. Back before Labor Day, 80 percent of SportsNation predicted the Chargers would win the AFC West. That's a strong endorsement, but it's not as strong as the 85 percent of voters who predicted the 49ers would win the NFC West.

Which of these teams has underachieved to a greater degree?

Jake (Colorado Spring)

Mel, can you give me a analysis of Alex Smith? Is he better than we have seen or is this what he is?

Mel Kiper
Mel Kiper

I think at this stage, what you see is what you get. If you look at this year, he is not at 60 percent completion. He's been out of the lineup as long as he was and comes in there and goes 17-27 after not playing since 6-7 weeks ago, but the problem with him has been his consistency. It's an inconsistency. Very intelligent young man, but he makes some bad decisions at times. He threw 9 INTs in the first five games this year. Full transcript

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