Week 5 Preview: San Francisco 49ers v. Kansas City Chiefs


As the San Francisco 49ers (2-2) prepare for their first inter-conference matchup against the AFC West Kansas City Chiefs (2-2), it will be a game in which the return of QB Alex Smith will be the the storyline. A former 2005 first-round pick (No. 1) by the 49ers, Smith will finally go back to where it all started as he squares off against the team that drafted him. And while that may be the headline, the game itself still needs to play and that’s where our focus is on as the 49ers look for their first winning streak of the 2014 season. But the question remains, can they get the job done? I believe they can.

Last week, saw the 49ers go back to basics which was play smash-mouth football while being backed up by a stingy, hard-nosed, and aggressive defense. Two staples of the team’s identity over the past three years, 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh played to his team’s strengths as it proved to be dominant. And it’s that type of game-plan that will be needed against the Chiefs.


[Related: Why 49ers’ must commit to run game vs. Kansas City Chiefs]

The numbers don’t lie so it’s no wonder the offensive game-plan should continue with RB Frank Gore. Here are some interesting tweets that I put out in regards to Gore:

So why not continue to feed the engine that makes that offense go? A game-plan that will likely be run-heavy, look for OC Greg Roman to force feed Gore as the Chiefs defense gives up an average of 5.7 yards per carry to starting running backs. And while they have yet to allow a rushing touchdown through four games due to the stout play of Chiefs NT Dontari Poe, I believe Gore will break that on Sunday as he should have a stat line around 17 carries for 86 yards and one touchdown while RB Carlos Hyde chews up around seven carries for 39 yards.

Miami Herald

Miami Herald

[Related: 49ers’ offensive line may struggle against Chiefs OLBs]

A tough task considering the 49ers are going up against the best 1-2 punch in pass-rush, at the outside linebacker position as Pro Bowl Chiefs OLB Tamba Hali and OLB Justin Houston can wreck havoc on any given play, the 49ers offensive line must do a better job as they hit the second-level.



[Related: Why 49ers pass-rush will rattle Chiefs QB Alex Smith, force two turnovers]

With the run-game likely being their bread-and-butter, look for the defense to do their part as they rattle their former quarterback all while taking away the underneath routes.

[Related: How 49ers defense will make Chiefs offense one-dimensional]

Smith may not be a game-manager but his skill-set to throw the ball further than 15 yards does not bode well for him. A sign that his arm strength is suspect, look for 49ers DC Vic Fangio to dial-up a game-plan where he takes away RB Jamaal Charles threat out of the backfield all while creating pressure up front.



[Related: How 49ers’ defense can make Chiefs TE Travis Kelce on a non-factor]

Not to mention, Chiefs TE Travis Kelce seems to be Smith’s first-down target off bubble-screens in trips formation or lined up in the slot, the 49ers will ensure both Kelce and Charles are bottled up early and often.

USA Today Sports

USA Today Sports

[Related: Why 49ers’ defense will need to contain Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles]

The 49ers have a very savvy football player in SS Antoine Bethea at their disposal. If he sniffs a screen or bubble-screen like he did with the Philadelphia Eagles in deciphering pre-snap run verse the pass, look for him to make some plays near or behind the line of scrimmage. A box safety that has the hitting ability of a linebacker, Bethea should help contain Charles as he tries to get outside. If Charles is contained, then Fangio should let the dogs loose on Smith and that’s where turnovers will come into play. Look for 49ers DE Justin Smith and OLB Aaron Lynch to each record a sack all while forcing Smith to throw interceptions namely to FS Eric Reid.

With the 49ers looking to get back on track, look for them to get a hard-fought victory as I predict them to win 20-10.

Vegas Odds

NinerFans.com 3-1 (Over/Under)

With the total points set at 44, I would take the under. Fangio will bottle up Charles all while taking away the underneath routes leading them to a 20-10 victory.

NinerFans.com 1-2-1 (line)

With the 49ers favored by 5.5 points, I would take the 49ers and eat the points. A home-field crowd that should come alive as QB Alex Smith takes the field, look for DC Vic Fangio to make life difficult in his homecoming.

Fantasy Football (3 out of 12)

As you know we select three players each game who we think will score touchdowns (quarterbacks omitted). Here are this week’s picks.

RB Frank Gore

RB Jamaal Charles 

TE Vance McDonald 


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Ryan is the Founder/CEO of NinerFans.com, 49ers Beat Writer, Live Game Day Correspondent for Bleacher Report and member of Pro Football Writers of America. Born and raised in San Jose, he also graduated from San Diego State University. His work has been featured on NFL Network, 95.7 The Game, National Football Post, Sports Illustrated, FanSided Network, ESPN Radio, CBS Sports 810, and NBC Bay Area News. For more information, please contact him via email at ryan@NinerFans.com or call him at (408) 622-0996.