The San Francisco 49ers might have saved any chance they had of winning the NFC West by picking up a key win in Week 4. In Week 5, the team looks to continue its run towards the playoffs when it hosts the Kansas City Chiefs.
San Francisco began the year as one of the favorites to win the 2015 Super Bowl, following three consecutive trips to the NFC Championship Game. In a division with the defending champion Seattle Seahawks and undefeated Arizona Cardinals, the 49ers needed a win last week to keep their hopes of reaching a fourth straight title game alive.
In their win over the Philadelphia Eagles, the 49ers played to their strengths, winning both sides of the running game. Franke Gore rushed for a season-high 119 yards, and Colin Kaepernick added 58 yards on the ground.
On defense, San Francisco shutdown last year’s leading rusher. LeSean McCoy picked up just 17 yards on 10 carries. The end result was 22 total yards for Philadelphia on the day, giving the 49ers the second-best run defense in the entire league.
Expectations for Kansas City this year were not as high as San Francisco’s, but much like the 49ers, the Chiefs got a win that prevented them from starting at 1-3. They beat the New England Patriots, keeping them one game out of first place.
Kansas City’s win might have been the most impressive of Week 4. They blew out the Patriots 41-14, forcing Bill Belichick to sit Tom Brady in the fourth quarter after the quarterback had thrown for just 159 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Alex Smith had one of his best games as a Chief, completing 20 of 26 passes for 248 yards and three scores.
Smith has been very efficient in 2014, but Kansas City has relied on their rushing attack to score points. The Chiefs rank third in all of football with 581 yards on the ground.
Knile Davis leads the team with 321 yards on 4.5 yards per carry. Jamaal Charles is now back, having suffered an injury against the Denver Broncos in Week 2. The combination of Davis and Charles might give Kansas City the best backfield in the AFC.
The 49ers will look to ignore the controversy that currently surrounds the team. According to multiple reports, which Jim Harbaugh has refuted, several players are unhappy with the head coach. There’s also been rumors that the Oakland Raiders could look to hire Harbaugh, following the recent firing of Dennis Allen.
The point spread at Las Vegas casinos has the 49ers giving the Chiefs six points, and the over/under is set at 44 total points. San Francisco is 2-2 against the spread, while Kansas City has one of the best records against the spread, going 3-1.
Prediction: The Chiefs have looked good in their last two games, but the 49ers are one of the best teams in the NFL. San Francisco should be able to slow down the Kansas City running game, forcing Smith to make plays. If that’s the case, the visiting Chiefs will have a hard time getting into the end zone.
Predicted Score: San Francisco 24, Kanas City 13