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Chiefs At 49ers: Week Seven Preview

The Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers face off Sunday at noon in Santa Clara. This is how these two teams break down.

The Chiefs and the 49ers come into this Sunday’s matchup after taking losses in their most recent games. The Chiefs suffered a tough home loss 24-20 against the now-AFC favorite Buffalo Bills after having a chance to win in the closing seconds. The 49ers on the other hand were not able to get out of their way in a 28-14 loss on the road against the offensively-challenged Atlanta Falcons. These teams are now facing some questions after their performances from last weekend and will be looking to get back on the right track.

Head-To-Head Matchup

The Chiefs and the 49ers go about their business very differently. Kansas City’s main focus since Patrick Mahomes entered the fold, is scoring and tossing the pigskin all around the yard. They rank first in the NFL in scoring offense and fifth in passing offense. The Chiefs are also incredibly efficient in converting their third downs at an even 50%, which is good for second in the league.

San Francisco has been the complete opposite of Kansas City. Head coach Kyle Shanahan elects to go with a highly effective rushing attack to complement their stout defense. Their defense has certainly risen to the task, ranking either first or second in total yards, rushing yards, passing yards, and scoring defense. Their offense, however, has been sputtering.

The 49er rushing attack only ranks 12th in the league while their passing offense is in the bottom ten. This combination leads to the 49er offense averaging only 20.3 points per game, which is 19th in the NFL. This bodes well for a Chiefs defense which has definitely had its share of problems thus far. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s unit is in the bottom ten in passing defense, total yards, and scoring defense but is fourth in rushing defense.

The 49ers do have some game-changing pass catchers in Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel, and George Kittle so the Chiefs need to keep an eye on them. Getting to 49er quarterback and perennial heartthrob Jimmy Garoppolo will be of paramount importance. If Jimmy G is comfortable in the pocket with time to survey the secondary, he will be able to connect with Aiyuk, Samuel, and Kittle all afternoon for some big chunk plays.

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Injuries Could Be Problematic

Both teams are also dealing with significant injury issues. The Chiefs have three key players in the secondary that missed the Buffalo game. Safety Bryan Cook and cornerbacks Rashad Fenton and Trent McDuffie were out last week. McDuffie has missed every game since being put on the short-term injured reserve list after a hamstring injury in Week One but could be active as early as Sunday.

Fenton and Cook both suffered injuries against the Las Vegas Raiders two weeks ago and are questionable to return against San Francisco. The 49ers have needed a full M*A*S*H unit to deal with all of the injuries they are dealing with. Eight starters on offense and defense are either done for the year or have been dealing with lingering injuries. This has been a disturbing trend for 49er fans as their 2021 season was similarly derailed by injury and the bug has bitten them again this year.

Their defensive line may have been the hardest as six of their pass rushers are on the injury report, including studs Nick Bosa and Arik Armstead. If those two are not able to go, it might be a slight reprieve for a much-maligned Chiefs offensive line.

Final Thoughts On The Matchup

The Chiefs are favored by about a field goal on the road against the 49ers in what could be a game that can get out of hand in a hurry. San Francisco’s stout defense is in tatters and their offense has not performed to their usual standard. Patrick Mahomes has gone 12-3 in his career after a loss and I expect him to take full advantage of the wounded 49er’s defensive unit.

The Chiefs do still have to be concerned about the 49ers’ offensive threats in wide receivers Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel to go along with tight end Greg Kittle. The Chiefs have given up the fifth-most passing yards in the NFL and, even though they may have some pieces coming back, there is a chance that Aiyuk, Samuel, or Kittle could go off. If Chris Jones and his defensive line can finally generate some pressure without needing to send the house, the Chiefs should not have a problem putting the 49ers away early. If Jimmy G has time to find his playmakers, we could be in for another dogfight.

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