After an embarrassing showing in Atlanta, the San Francisco 49ers head back to Levi’s Stadium to take on a strong Kansas City Chiefs team. Since the 31-20 loss in the 2019-20 Super Bowl, the 49ers have yet to meet the Chiefs in the regular season. So far this year, the 49ers have had several major issues with injuries, keeping leads, and scoring points. The Chiefs are going to be the first playoff-caliber team that the 49ers have faced (the Los Angeles Rams are not at that level, yet).
Despite having multiple star players on the 49ers, they currently sit at 3-3 and could easily fall to 3-4 after this weekend. The biggest problem for this 49ers team is the inability to remain healthy. Already, the 49ers have two starters out for the season with QB Trey Lance and CB Emmanuel Moseley, who was well on his way to earning a Pro-Bowl selection. In addition, RB Elijah Mitchell, OT Trent Williams, DE Arik Armstead, DT Javon Kinlaw, DE Nick Bosa, CB Charvarius Ward, S Talanoa Hufanga, and FS Jimmie Ward are just SOME of the players who ended up on the injury report so far this week. Head Coach Kyle Shanahan believes a few of these key players will be able to suit up for Sunday’s clash, but this game is really going to need to be an all-hands-on-deck situation for the 49ers.
Last week against the Atlanta Falcons, San Francisco came in with the number-one defense in the NFL. As the game progressed, the 49ers had seven defensive starters out, which included their entire defensive line. The good news for the 49ers is that it does not seem to be the case against Kansas City if Nick Bosa and Charvarius Ward can return, but a big question still remains. If the Falcons put up 28 points on San Francisco, then what kind of damage could Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce potentially do?
Back in Super Bowl LIV, the Chiefs scored a whopping 21 points in the fourth quarter alone. The 49ers’ inability to score points in the second half and the final quarter, in particular, cost them the Super Bowl and things seem to be no different this year. The 49ers have one of the best, if not the best, rosters in the NFL. On the offensive side, they have Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, George Kittle, and Jeff Wilson Jr who are all more than capable of putting up points on the board, except they are not. Many will blame injuries, others will blame the quarterback, but in reality, this 49ers team plays like they just cannot keep up with opponents who score two or more touchdowns on them. That is why the 49ers’ secondary and a mistake-free Jimmy Garoppolo are going to be key.
San Francisco is going to need to rely heavily on defensive stops and a heavy run game if they have any hopes of beating an efficient Chiefs team, who is angry and motivated as they are coming off a nail-biting loss, might I add. When San Francisco does opt to keep the ball in Garoppolo’s hands, look for WR Brandon Aiyuk to have another major game, just as he registered two touchdowns against the Falcons last week.