The 49ers are on the road this Sunday for their Week 3 matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs. After losing an inspiring game against the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night, the 49ers are looking to hand the Chiefs their first loss of the season. To the surprise of many, the Chiefs are one of the eight remaining undefeated teams in the NFL, and they better enjoy it for the next day or so because come Sunday afternoon, they will be kissing their undefeated start goodbye.
The 49ers need a win, and they need one bad. In other words, the Chiefs will be in for a long day. In their first game, a matchup with the Chargers, the Chargers made mistakes that they should not have, which in turn equated to a Chiefs victory. Last week the Chiefs faced the Browns, and well, somebody had to win, and it wasn’t going to be the Browns. The Chiefs are 2-0 and the 49ers are 0-2, only on paper however.
What will it take for the Niners to beat the Chiefs? Simple, just stop the run. That is the only offense that the Chiefs have. For good measure, the 49ers also must play a disciplined Special Teams game as the Chiefs have two young players in Dexter McCluster and Javier Arenas who can definitely make things interesting and put their teams in good situations.
Let me start with the Chiefs running game. Currently they are fifth in the NFL in that category. While that partly has to do with the rush defenses they faced this season, it would be an injustice not to acknowledge Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones as two very good backs in the NFL. If you can stop those two, the Chiefs have nothing to work with. Matt Cassel has a passer rating of 55.8 and I am confident that none of their receivers are keeping 49ers Defensive Coordinator Greg Manusky up at night. While the 49ers have allowed 56 points this season, Kansas City should not expect to score at will against the defense.
On the special teams side, the 49ers are rather sloppy, but I expect that to improve as the season wears on. But, they have to pay attention to McCluster and Arenas. That duo is dangerous and will be looking to create havoc.
Why the 49ers will win:
1. Because they have to. Everybody knows that the team cannot start 0-3. It is just not a good way to start a season with high expectations. Shockingly, I do believe that the NFC West is so bad that, even with an 0-3 start, the 49ers could still make the playoffs. However, I am not suggesting they take the week off. An 0-3 start will probably lead to all sorts of chaos in the Bay. Players will have to start fielding questions they don’t want to answer. The philosophy of the coaches will be doubted. The locker room-already a sensitive one- will most certainly erupt. Confidence will leave the building, and then more. That being said, the boys will get to work this weekend and waste no time in putting KC away.
2. Alex Smith wants it to be HIS team and will take over. Man, oh man, I would be really happy. I, like most others, was certainly surprised at what Smith was able to do at the end of the 4th quarter Monday Night against the Saints. When the team needed him, he came through. Even though the game was lost, he showed that he could be counted on. Can he keep it up? In this game, again, one that the team HAS to win, Alex Smith can’t have a down performance. HE has to win this game. Not the defense. Not the running game. Alex Smith has got to start being the reason why the 49ers are relevant. Something inside of me tells me that he wants that respect.
Why the Chiefs will win:
1. Matt Cassel wakes up. While this is a highly unlikely scenario and quite frankly will not happen, Cassel decides to go out and have the game of his life on Sunday. On top of that the 49ers are unable to stop the Chiefs run game-Charles and Jones rushes for at least 200 yards combined. Just for good measure, on Special Teams, the Chiefs return a kick for a TD.
2. My stupid logic. In Week 1, the 49ers lost to the Seattle Seahawks, who lost in Week 2 to the Denver Broncos, who lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 1. The Jaguars in Week 2 were beaten by a San Diego Chargers team who lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 1. Therefore the Chiefs will beat the 49ers in Week 3. This is obviously not scientific and will not in any way decide the outcome of a game. I think the Niners are safe.
My Prediction: 49ers win 24-16