San Francisco 49ers (1-1) at Kansas City Chiefs (2-0)
The Chiefs’ offense has been incredible through 2 games, scoring a league high 10 touchdowns and picking up first downs at a 48.62% rate. Despite that, they still have a negative first down rate differential, as their defense has incredibly allowed opponents to pick up first downs or touchdowns on 50% of their snaps. They have given up 33 first downs each to the Chargers and Steelers in their first 2 games.
They still won the first down rate differential last week because of a ridiculous 55.56% first down rate by their offense, but they lost the first down rate differential in Los Angeles against the Chargers, winning that game as a result of a +2 turnover margin and several big plays (including a long punt return). That’s not the most sustainable way to win games. Their defense will be better when Eric Berry returns from his achilles tear, but it remains to be seen when that will be and their defense will have to be better if the Chiefs are going to keep winning.
Making the Chiefs’ offensive start even more impressive is the fact that their first two games were both on the road, as this game against the 49ers is their home opener. It could be a let down game for them though, as teams are 26-51 ATS over the past 30 years in week 3 home openers. The Chiefs have done well as underdogs on the road thus far this season, but being favored by 6 at home is a different dynamic. They could take their foot off the gas a little at 2-0, at home, against a non-conference opponent and at the very least allow the 49ers to hang around in a shootout.
All that being said, I would need a couple more points to take the 49ers with confidence this week. I have this line calculated right at -6, so we’re not getting any line value with the 49ers, who remain a little bit of an overrated team, as they lack a strong supporting cast around Jimmy Garoppolo, who has shown growing pains in his 2nd season as a starter. They struggled against a good team in Minnesota week 1 and then beat a mediocre Lions team in their home opener. The Chiefs have already beaten a pair of potential playoff teams and the 49ers are probably the easiest opponent they’ve had thus far. Getting Reuben Foster back from suspension helps, but not enough for me to bet on the 49ers this week.
Kansas City Chiefs 31 San Francisco 49ers 27
Pick against the spread: San Francisco +6