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49ers/Chiefs predictions staff predictions: Who wins and why?

There’s a lot of love for the Chiefs from a few members of our staff

San Francisco 49ers v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

It’s been a while since we’ve made predictions. With the upcoming schedule, we’re changing that this week. Here are our eight staff predictions.

Marc’s pick: Kansas City 34-27

With an added energy boost from the acquisition of Christian McCaffrey, I think the 49ers offense looks rejuvenated at Levi’s Stadium on Sunday and does a commendable job keeping up with Patrick Mahomes. However, I think the Niners' injuries on defense, alongside Shanahan’s usual conservative field-goal/fourth-down decision-making, lead them to fall just short of an upset. There aren’t moral victories in the NFL, but I think the Niners fanbase will feel better about the team next week.

Rob’s pick: Kansas City, 31-21

Ultimately I think this game will follow a familiar script for the 49ers. We know the defense is going to come out of the gates with their hair on fire. Between the Super Bowl rematch, honoring the 2012 team, and now the McCaffrey deal, Levi’s Stadium is going to be rocking. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kyle Shanahan dial up some creative things on the first couple of drives that help the 49ers get into the endzone a couple of times in the first half.

Unfortunately, we’ve seen too many games with this team where early offensive success dries up, and we’re left praying that the defense can hold on with a one-score lead. Plus, after a fumble and two picks last week, San Francisco is -41 in turnover differential under Kyle Shanahan. One way or another, Patrick Mahomes is simply going to have too many opportunities to score points in this game.

Xavier’s pick: 49ers 30, Chiefs 21

It’s time for Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers to make a statement win. The Kansas City Chiefs are the definition of a tall task. Patrick Mahomes can make every throw on the field, and San Francisco must avoid shooting themselves in the foot to give themselves a chance at victory. The 49ers are putting their Week 6 hiccup in the rearview mirror as they lock into the race for their sixth Lombardi trophy.

The 49ers’ rushing attack will be back on track with All-Pro Trent William’s return. I expect both teams to eclipse DraftKings Sportsbooks over of 49 points. Both teams are trying to avenge losses from last week and will have Super Bowl 54 on their mind. It was three years ago, yea, I know, but the 49ers will hear the echo of the letdown regardless of how long ago if they lay an egg Sunday.

Kyle’s pick: 49ers 27, Chiefs 23

The 49ers have yet to face a quarterback that truly scares you. Geno Smith has been unreal, but he wasn’t who he was now back in Week 2. To be fair, there is nobody in the NFL like Patrick Mahomes.

But when you think about what gives the 49ers problems — speed at wide receiver, physical running teams, mobile QBs — neither of those are on the Chiefs roster. And don’t get me wrong, Mahomes can extend plays, but this doesn’t feel like a game where he picks up yards on the ground.

My answer hasn’t changed from Wednesday. The 49ers have the blueprint to beat Kansas City. I don’t see how KC and their defense slow down the Niners. You don’t have to worry about an edge rusher or a star in the secondary.

This game will come down to the superstars. Mahomes and Kelce are the best at what they do, but the Niners have more stars on their side of the ball, and I don’t envision this team turning the ball over three times again. Plus, DeMeco Ryans is the best coach in the stadium. Advantage, home team.

Yinon’s pick: Chiefs, 35-31.

Overall, the Chiefs have too much firepower, and the Niners just have a little too many injuries on defense to fully keep up. We’ll have the lead late, stall out on a drive and settle for a field goal, and Mahomes will Mahomes on the last possession of the game.

That being said, I think we’ll come away feeling good about the season outlook of the team. I can see the defense playing marvelously in the first half and the offense roaring in the second half, with a couple deep Jimmy balls actually converting this time, completely opening up the offense. Last week gave us a good starting point for how this offense will look in rhythm, and Sunday will be a key step forward. I still think we’ll need a little longer to come together fully, but it’s not even halfway yet.

If we played Kansas City in Week 12, with a (hopefully) healthier defense and a fully-integrated CMC, I’d be more bullish on the 49ers. But as of right now, Kansas City has been clicking for a lot longer than the 49ers have, and that’ll be the difference. You see this cohesion get stress tested the most in the final minutes, the highest-leverage parts of the game. It’ll be an encouraging loss, and we will emerge as the most dangerous 3-4 team in the NFC.

Jordan’s Pick: 49ers 30 - Chiefs 24

It’s the classic get-right game for the 49ers. Lose to an underwhelming opponent and then win at home as an underdog the following week, a tale as old as time. Kansas City’s offensive prowess speaks for itself, but their defense lends way for the 49ers' offense to get into a rhythm and get some points on the board.

The Chiefs are allowing 2.38 points per drive this season, which ranks 29th in the league. While they have been stout against the run (6th in the league in yards per carry allowed), they have shown to be vulnerable through the air, particularly with yards generated after the catch, which happens to be the backbone of the 49ers' passing attack.

Patrick Mahomes is great. Andy Reid is fantastic. The Chiefs are a good team, but so are the 49ers, and ultimately I believe they come out of this one with a win after playing their most complete and consistent brand of football across all three phases of the game.

Jason’s Pick: 49ers 27-24

Call me crazy, but this again feels like a time when the 49ers will be counted out. Look no further than being home underdogs by Vegas. Jim Harbaugh being in the building will add some magic to the air. Outside of Travis Kelce, the Chiefs' weapons aren’t exactly fear-inducing. Given the possible return of Nick Bosa, Trent Williams, Jimmie Ward, Jason Verrett, and Talanoa Hufanga, this may be enough to give the 49ers the edge.

Mooney Ward possibly missing this game is far from ideal, but Juju Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdez-Scantling, and Mecole Hardman have struggled to separate. The Chiefs' running game has gone poof after a quick start by Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Instead, Jerick Mckinnon has a far bigger role as a pass catcher. The Buffalo Bills left a nice trail of breadcrumbs on how to slow this offense down. Largely a zone coverage team, the Bills went to man coverage for over 50 percent of snaps on Sunday.

The offense has to pick up the pace and efficiency this week. Christian McCaffrey isn’t going to step in immediately, if at all, on Sunday. There are enough plays on the field for the 49ers to convert, evidenced by last Sunday’s game in Atlanta. Sure, this prediction is somewhat based on vibes. So what, vibes can be immaculate. The 49ers pull this one off in front of the 2012 team and Jim Harbaugh.

Andrew’s Pick: 49ers 28, Chiefs 24

It comes down to I trust the 49ers' defense against the Chiefs' offense more than I trust the Chiefs' defense against the 49ers' offense. While Kansas City’s defense is ranked fourth against the run, helped by their Week 4 game against Tampa Bay, where they allowed three rushing yards, their pass defense has struggled. They’ve allowed the sixth-most passing yards this season but have allowed the third-most yards after catch which is something that should catch 49ers fans' eyes. Shanahan will attack that with the usual suspects plus a sprinkle of Christian McCaffrey.

Ty’s pick: 49ers 34, Chiefs 30

This game has all the prerequisites for what’s certain to be a near-instant classic. Think of the narratives! Super Bowl rematch, Jim Harbaugh in the building to celebrate the 2012 team, Christian McCaffrey’s first game playing for his old babysitter, Mahomes/Reid coming off a loss to the new league's newest Quarterback Jesus, etc., etc., on and on. Can it actually live up to all this hype? Well, maybe!

The Chiefs have not had their special kind of Chiefs-y dominance this year without the electric Tryeek Hill to run under beautifully arcing deep balls or break slants for blink-and-you’ll-miss-them touchdowns. However, they’re still a superpower in the league, and you can never rule out a comeback until the clock strikes 0:00. (Ask the Raiders.) The Niners top tier defense, hopefully replenished with the most important missing pieces from Atlanta, will have to contain Kansas City while the offense actually scores some points to create a margin of error. Given the weapons, and again the return of Trent Williams, plus a somewhat underperforming D on the other side... This should be possible. The only question is, can Jimmy withstand the Spags blitz-happy ways?

If he can, we’ll have a close ballgame that will almost absolutely end in a field goal try or defensive stand. For the sake of argument, I’m predicting a big Fred Warner stop to stymie the Chiefs as they march to what will feel like an almost inevitable touchdown to win. Glory! Glory to the Niners D!