Kickoff Sunday, Oct 23rd 4:25pm Eastern

Chiefs (
25) at

49ers (

Over/Under 49.0


Key Matchups
Chiefs Run D
27th DVOA/24th Yards allowed per carry
49ers Run O
2nd DVOA/4th Yards per carry
Chiefs Pass D
5th DVOA/2nd Yards allowed per pass
49ers Pass O
1st DVOA/1st Yards per pass
49ers Run D
15th DVOA/18th Yards allowed per carry
Chiefs Run O
11th DVOA/11th Yards per carry
49ers Pass D
4th DVOA/3rd Yards allowed per pass
Chiefs Pass O
6th DVOA/19th Yards per pass

Game Overview ::

By mike johnson >>
  • This is a matchup of strength on strength as the 49ers lean heavily on their elite defense while the Chiefs are driven by Patrick Mahomes and the highest-scoring offense in the NFL.
  • A key to this game will be whether the 49ers running game can create issues and move the ball against the Chiefs.
  • Kansas City’s offense is unlikely to “fail” but may struggle to turn drives into touchdowns.
  • San Francisco will want to avoid a situation where they are playing from behind and predictable like they faced last week.

How kansas city Will Try To Win ::

The Chiefs offense is the highest-scoring unit in the NFL, averaging 29.8 points per game through six weeks. They will have their hands full this week with a 49ers defense that is allowing only 14.8 points per game and has given up more than one offensive touchdown in only one game this season. That being said, the Chiefs offense is light years better than anything San Francisco has seen this year, and the 49ers just gave up 28 points to the Falcons in Week 6. The 49ers defense has also been battling injuries, with several starters limited or missing practice to start this week again.

The Chiefs offense operates exactly how you would expect a team with Patrick Mahomes to operate – with the 2nd highest Pass Rate Over Expectation in the league and the 8th fastest situation-neutral pace of play. They lean heavily on their all-world QB, and he has shown that his greatness was not dependent on Tyreek Hill, making do with an average supporting cast outside of Travis Kelce. Mahomes will have to play at a high level once again this week against a San Francisco coverage unit that PFF grades as #2 in the NFL. In last week’s game against the Bills, Juju Smith-Schuster had his best game of the season, and Mecole Hardman scored a touchdown, while Marquez Valdes-Scantling had zero catches and dropped a touchdown while having another one called back by a holding penalty. This week against the 49ers, the Chiefs will face a team that plays zone coverage at a top-5 rate in the NFL. It will be interesting to see if the 49ers change that approach this week, as the Chiefs have faced the highest rate of man coverage in the NFL this season. Given how good the 49ers defense is, I would expect them to “stick with what works for them” rather than altering their approach. This could actually help the Chiefs receiving corps, which has struggled to create separation at times this season and should be able to find some holes in the zones they face – assuming the offensive line is able to provide adequate time for Mahomes to make plays.

How san francisco Will Try To Win ::

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  • One of the thoughts I want to keep in mind for this game is the fact that Kyle Shanahan will know his offense will likely need to score points in this game in order to win; here’s what I mean…
    • Shanahan has been with the 49ers long enough that it can be easy to forget he was always an aggressive, forward-leaning play-caller before winding up with this tremendous San Francisco defense; he talked early in his tenure with the 49ers about the fact that he could call plays differently with the defense he had — but this should also indicate to us that Shanny will be smart enough and willing enough to look at a matchup like this one and know that “hoping the defense shuts down Mahomes” will not be a viable approach
    • While San Francisco will continue to lean on the run here, we should also expect them to proactively mix in creative pass concepts designed to get the ball into the hands of Deebo, Aiyuk, and Kittle in space — making all three guys interesting to me in tourneys this week
    • There is a cloud of uncertainty in the backfield now, with the 49ers trading for CMC; realistically, he will not be able to play a full role this week (he will have had zero practices with this team, and will know very little of the terminology), but Shanny has talked about the idea of essentially crash-coursing CMC on the 49ers’ red zone offense and getting him in position to come on the field there; given the magnitude of this game, I would expect this to be something the 49ers figure out in time for kickoff, which would tighten up the paths to upside for all other 49ers, given the risk that CMC would “play little, but steal some valuable red zone work”; basically, if CMC is active, I’ll still have interest in the pass catchers listed above, but that interest will be slightly depressed
    • If CMC misses, it’s likely that the field will completely overlook Jeff Wilson, who would be in line for one last stand as the starter; Wilson would enter my pool of “okay plays on paper, but strong from a strategy standpoint,” given that he would likely have extremely low ownership, on an offense where other players will likely have moderate ownership (i.e., “leverage”)
  • On KC, it’s likely “Mahomes + Kelce, or nothing” for me (as we know: if Kelce hits, Mahomes is a free bet, so you may as well play them together; and if Mahomes hits, Kelce is the natural stacking partner); both guys are in play for me in this spot