NFL week three preseason action on Saturday evening and the NFC West will square off with the AFC West as the San Francisco 49ers grapple with the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. The Niners are off a 24-15 road win over the Broncos to move to 2-0 in the preseason, while the Chiefs were beaten 17-7 at home by Pittsburgh to fall to 1-1 in the preseason.
Niners Move To 2-0 In The Preseason
The San Francisco 49ers had high hopes last year, but they were derailed early on with the loss of QB Jimmy Garoppolo early on. they were just 1-2 after his three games, but he had 718 yards passing in those three games. On Monday night, he made his preseason debut and it was not a great one as he was just one-for-six with an INT. The Niners are hoping for much more from him in this one and he should see some extended time. The whole Niners’ passing game struggled in the 24-15 win over the Broncos as they had just 108 yards passing in the contest. They could have a better showing this week against a KC defense that was 31st in the league against the pass a year ago. The Niners will need Garoppolo to play well in this one as neither CJ Beathard or Nick Mullens have looked that great in the preseason so far.
The ground game is another matter, but it is a good one for the Niners. San Francisco was 12th in the league in rushing last year and they had just 88 yards on their opening win over the Cowboys, but the ground game exploded for 185 yards in their win over the Broncos. The Chiefs have looked good against the run so far, but they were 27th against the run last year. San Francisco brought in former Atlanta runner Tevin Coleman in the offseason and he got his first action of the preseason against the Broncos, rushing for 21 yards on three attempts. Raheem Mostert had a big game with 58 yards rushing and a TD, while also hauling in two passes for 42 yards. The receiving corp will be better this year, especially with the addition of Deebo Samuel and Jalen Hurd through the draft and Jordan Matthews through free agency. The Niners should be far better on offense this year.
— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) August 20, 2019
The Niners were 13th in the league in total yards last year, but 28th in the league in points allowed, giving up 27.2 ppg. The reason for that is because the offense put them in bad positions for much of the year. That should change this year with a healthy Garoppolo, a strong running game, and an improved WR corps. The defense has looked very good in the early going as they have allowed just 24 total points in the first two games and 295.5 ypg. The pass defense was very good on Monday night as they allowed the Broncos just 139 yards passing. The pass defense should be improved during the regular season, especially when they get DB Jason Verrett on the field. He will be missing the entire preseason and is questionable for game one of the regular season. This defense will have a good test in this one as they should be facing KC’s first-team offense for much of the first half.
Update (8/22): Garoppolo is expected to play the entire first half, if not more. Shanahan would like to see the offense get many reps so they can be evaluated against a live defense. Mullens played just 10 snaps last week and should get an entire quarter against the Chiefs. He’s still battling it out with Beathard for the backup job.
Chiefs Did Not Bring Their Offense Against The Steelers
The Kansas City Chiefs were tops in the league in both total yards and scoring, but that offense was not on display against the Steelers in their 17-7 loss in game two of the preseason. In their first game, the Chiefs racked up 400 yards of total offense, including 285 yards through the air in a 38017 win over the Bengals, but that was against a Cincinnati team that was last in the league against the pass a year ago. The Steelers were 10th against the pass last year and the Chiefs had just 190 yards passing against them. Patrick Mahomes had just one series and he was 2/5 for 11 yards. We will see much more from him in this one. The battle for the Backup slot is heating up and Chase Litton seems to have the edge as he has a 95.0 passer rating so far, while Chad Henne has a 90.5 passer rating. We will see both in the 2nd half of this one.
The running game will be a bit of a mystery after they lost both Spencer Ware and Kareem Hunt in the offseason. They did bring in Carlos Hyde from Jacksonville, but still, the running game looks pretty weak for the Chiefs so far. Josh Caldwell leads the team in rushing in the preseason with 59 yards, while Carlos Hyde has just 25 yards so far. Hyde may not make the final roster. The Chiefs will need a solid ground game to complement their strong passing game. Cody Thomspon is looking to make the team at WR and has led them so far with 88 yards. 2nd round pick, Mecole Hardman has three catches for 48 yards so far. and he could be working his way into the starting lineup. Look for the Chiefs to try and get their offense back on track after last week’s bad showing.
— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) August 19, 2019
The defense had its issues last year and against the run as they were 27th in the league, but they bolstered their line with three DL free-agent pickups, while also taking DL Khalen Saunders in the 3rd round. The early returns show that is has been positive for them as the Chiefs have allowed just 72.5 ypg on the ground in the preseason and that is 5th in the league. The Chiefs also brought in DBs Tyrann Mathieu and Bashaud Breeland, while drafting DB Juan Thornhill in the 2nd round to help a pass defense that was 31st in the league last year. So far they have allowed 229 ypg through the air and that is 27th in the league. KC’s downfall was its defense last year and they hope that the new pieces will help them make a deep run in the postseason. The Niners have an improved offense so this will be a good test for them.
Update (8/23): The Chiefs are expected to play their starters at least a half, but that could be subject to change.
“Normally, what I do in this third game is play the guys somewhere in that first half,” he said. “At times, I’ll have them come out for the third quarter. They’ll prepare that way — the ones will. Then we let the twos and the threes work in from there as we choose.”
Mathieu sustained a shoulder injury in last week’s game. However, he did practice on Thursday but it’s not known whether he will play on Saturday.
San Francisco is:
- 6-1 ATS in their last 7 Saturday games
Kansas City is:
- 2-5-1 ATS in their last 8 games on grass.
- 2-6-1 ATS in their last 9 games overall