The Chiefs have won two tough road games to start the season, and they’ll look to push to 3-0 against the 49ers at home on Sunday.
The Patrick Mahomes era did not start easy, with road games against the Chargers and Steelers, but the Kansas City Chiefs are 2-0 behind 10 touchdown passes from their new quarterback. Now they’ll kick off the 2018 home slate against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.
Mahomes has been as advertised thus far as an anti-Alex Smith, sitting second in the league in yards per attempt and passer rating (behind Ryan Fitzpatrick in both categories) while of course leading the league in touchdown passes with the aforementioned 10.
The 49ers have their own fresh quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo. He went 5-0 as the 49ers starter at the end of last year, which fueled the preseason hype surrounding the team. But through two games this year he has been mediocre to below-average, averaging 233.5 yards per game with 55.9 percent completion rate. He’s hardly alone in his struggles against a tough Minnesota Vikings defense in Week 1, but other than a better completion rate and zero interceptions he really didn’t improve against the Detroit Lions in Week 2.
Week 3 against a Chiefs defense that’s dead-last against the pass by a good margin through two games (430 yards per game), with wide receiver Marquise Goodwin (hamstring) possibly returning after missing last week’s game, is an opportunity for Garoppolo to have a big game. If he doesn’t deliver, win or lose, then some real concern could start to surface.
The 49ers haven’t been much better defensively than the Chiefs thus far, as they’re 25th against the pass (278 yards per game) and 23rd in total defense. They also have yet to intercept a pass this season, thought they have faced quality quarterbacks Kirk Cousins and Matthew Stafford. Mahomes will make it three quality quarterbacks in as many games on Sunday, with arguably better weapons than any team San Francisco has faced to this point.
It’s lined up to be a high-scoring game on Sunday, with the highest over/under on this week’s slate (55.5, via Oddsshark.com) and bets actually trending toward the over. It’s easy to see it with two sub-par defenses on the field at Arrowhead, and the Chiefs could easily carry the game’s point total into the high 30s on their own.
A tough-looking duo of road games to start the season did nothing to derail the hype train carrying Mahomes, and if anything he has been better than even the highest of expectations to this point. One of the toughest road environments in the league will test Garoppolo’s mettle in a way it hasn’t been tested, as the 49ers try to pull an upset and take the Chiefs off the list of undefeated teams.
Home field advantage aside, and the potential for a decisive win by the Chiefs as a result, this should be one of the most entertaining games in Week 3.