What’s up Niners Nation?
I want to start by going into what I was expecting this season before it started. In training camp and the preseason for the Kansas City Chiefs, it became clear very quickly that the Chiefs defense, especially the secondary, was going to struggle. The Chiefs played Chase Daniel and the Chicago Bears backups in Week 3 of the preseason and Daniel reminded me of Joe Montana—Daniel went 15 of 18 for 198 yards and two touchdowns.
With Andy Reid, you always had a feeling the offense would be OK. So my preseason verdict was an average offense with a not-so-great defense. The Chiefs would be lucky to start 1-1 on the road against Los Angeles (Chargers) and Pittsburgh and then we would see how they did against San Francisco.
The defense has been not so great. The offense has been ridiculous.
Why the Chiefs will win
The Kansas City Chiefs will win if the defense can keep the San Francisco 49ers under 30 points. Through the first two weeks, the Chiefs defense has allowed 28 (Chargers) and 37 (Steelers) respectively. But it hasn’t mattered with Patrick Mahomes scoring an NFL-record 10 touchdowns and producing 38 and then 42 points.
It took the NFL five weeks to slow Reid’s Alex Smith-run offense down last year. I don’t really expect the 49ers to be able to do so this week.
The Chiefs’ run defense is a lot better than last season thanks to the addition of inside linebacker Anthony Hitchens, who leads the team in tackles, but the definite weakness, as I mentioned above, is the secondary. The Chiefs are without their starting safeties in Eric Berry and Daniel Sorensen and are missing a formidable nickel cornerback. The Chiefs signed Orlando Scandrick in that role at the last minute when free-agent acquisition David Amerson didn’t work out. Scandrick had a good game in coverage last week, but one of his holding penalties proved costly.
If the Chiefs secondary plays well enough to hold the 49ers to 29, I think the Chiefs win.
Why the Chiefs will lose
The Chiefs will lose if the 49ers exploit the Chiefs secondary and once they have a lead, control the time of possession.
To me, the key to this game for the 49ers will be getting a lead and keeping it. I saw earlier this week that the the over-under was teetering around 55. I predict it will be much higher than that. If the 49ers can find a lead in the second half and then utilize Matt Breida to control the ball and keep it out of Mahomes’ hands, things could get dicey for the Chiefs.
Of course, if Robert Saleh is the man to find a way to stop the Chiefs offense, the Chiefs will be out of the game. Mark my words. The tandem of Jimmy G, George Kittle and Pierre Garcon will do some damage to this Chiefs secondary. It’s how much.
The addition of Marquise Goodwin, if he plays, changes the game as well. The more legit air weapons the Chiefs have to manage, the better the 49ers’ chances become.