The (2-0) Kansas City Chiefs get their first home game of the season this weekend in their week 3 matchup with the (1-1) San Francisco 49ers. With the Chiefs playing at home in Arrowhead where it’s known to get loud, here’s my preview of a game that could be as crazy as the atmosphere.
Preview for the Chiefs
The Chiefs have played two road games so far, this season winning both of them, duels against the Chargers and the Steelers. In both games starting Quarterback Patrick Mahomes has looked incredible. He’s thrown 10 touchdowns in 2 games, setting a new NFL record in the process. He’s been the leader of a Chiefs offence which has started at a million miles per hour this season. They already have 14 plays of 20 yards or more this season, compared to this time last year having beaten the Patriots and Eagles, they had just 8 plays of 20 yards of more.
Mahomes has shown the whole league his exponential ability in these two games, spreading the ball around to all of his receivers. In fact, in just two games, 7 different receivers have caught a touchdown pass from him and last season it took all season for Kansas City to reach that figure.
This is a team that starts fast, last week against the Steelers they were up 21-0 in the blink of an eye. Mahomes was utilising the unbelievable speed and athleticism of his receivers to simply wait for his receivers to beat the one coverage Pittsburgh was in, because they were too afraid to play man coverage against the speed of the Chiefs receivers. Also, the Steelers had no pass rush to speak of, making his time to find the open man, easier than turning on a light switch. Travis Kelce was his favourite target, finding him down the seam again and again and again. With all of their stars, fit and ready to play this is one of the best offence’s in the league. Look for them to continue their hot start to the season.
Preview for the 49ers
The 49ers so far instead of blowing teams out of the water like the Chiefs, have been in two nail biting games against the Vikings and Lions respectively. Last week against Detroit, San Fran ran the ball excellently something that we didn’t expect would happen coming into the season considering the ACL injury to Jerrick McKinnon. But with the Lions defensive front failing to stick to assignments and fill the gaps, Matt Breida had himself a career day. He finished with 137 rushing yards and a touchdown, it was great to see it finally click for the 49ers.
However, the offence did struggle in other aspects, Jimmy Garoppolo was sacked 6 times by the Lions. Those sacks were killers for San Francisco as they led to field goals and not touchdowns. As well as their receivers fail to separate from man coverage, leading to drives stalling and a lack of momentum for the offence. Hopefully this will change against a terrible Chiefs defence and we can go back to seeing the Garopollo we saw for the final 5 games of last season.
The defence so far, this season has been inconsistent at best, with Ahkello Witherspoon having an absolute nightmare against the Lions. The defence in the fourth quarter cracked like an egg, as Stafford led the Lions to within 3 points of the Niners. Witherspoon and co will need to bounce back in order for the 49ers to stand any chance of competing with Kansas City’s high-powered offence. Only DeForest Buckner has made any sort of noise on the defensive line, so other players like Solomon Thomas and Erik Armstead will need to improve on Sunday. If the defence plays anything like it did against Detroit then expect a high scoring affair, but if the 49ers offence struggles to produce touchdowns then expect a massacre.
The Final Word
In conclusion, it’s hard for me to do so as a 49ers fan but I’m going to predict a victory for the Kansas City Chiefs. Look out for big games from George Kittle and Sammy Watkins, Kittle the 49ers Tight End will have a field day against the Chiefs line backers that look about as strong as wet cardboard in pass coverage. Watkins will be lined up most likely with Witherspoon who on the heels of a bad week, will be desperate to make one big play after another. This will lead to Watkins as the veteran to expose the weakness of Witherspoon for another big game for him.
The Chiefs’ meteoric offence is going nowhere but up and out into a different atmosphere. I just can’t see the 49ers keeping pace, Garoppolo will bounce back from his mediocre start to the season and get the 49ers offence firing. As he slices up a Chiefs defence that has given up 860 passing yards in 2 games, but with Mahomes at the helm for the Chiefs in a sea of Kansas noise, I’m expecting a win for Andy Reid and co.
49ers 28 – Chiefs 37
This guest piece was written by Alex Riley who can be found on Twitter @NFLRiley.
Image credit: Chicago Tribune