Two teams square off with their phenom quarterbacks in their respective first full year as a starter. San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo hopped on the scene last December and became the greatest thing since sliced bread. The 49ers were winless before he arrived, and won their final five games when he moved into the starting lineup. It earned him a nine-figure offseason contract and absurd expectations.
Garoppolo has had his ups and downs through the first two games, and that opened the door for Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes to move into the spotlight. Throwing ten touchdowns in two games has certainly helped! Now we’ll wait and see if he follows in the mold of Jimmy G and goes on an offseason date with a porn star!
Y’all are rightfully obsessed with the goings-on of Mahomes, and so I’m here to throw out my two cents on my 49ers. I chatted with Pete this week and thought it would be fun for each of us to offer up explanations for why our team would win this game and why they would lose this game. It’s a chance to explore the strengths and weaknesses of both our squads.
Why the 49ers will win
The 49ers are a 6.5 point dog and most of the betting public is on the Chiefs — and rightfully so. If the 49ers are going to win this game, they’ll have to play a near perfect game on offense, and their defense will have to get its act in gear. On offense, the team has to minimize drops, which have been a big issue these first couple weeks. Additionally, the pass catchers will need to do a better job finding separation. Whether that happens through their physical skills or Kyle Shanahan dialing up some new looks, they have struggled with separation. And Jimmy Garoppolo will need to be more decisive. He struggled with turnovers in Week 1, but then held onto the ball too long in Week 2. He needs to find the middle ground because the 49ers will likely need to put up 30+ points to win this game.
On defense, it’s less about stopping, and more about containing the passing game. The 49ers have had big problems tackling ball carriers through the first two weeks. Considering the Chiefs home run plays these first two weeks, that is a recipe for disaster. If the 49ers can keep things in front of them and then close the deal on tackling, they might actually have a shot at getting enough stops to win a shootout.
Why the 49ers will lose
On defense, it’s pretty simple. If they continue to miss tackles and the secondary struggles with the Chiefs speed, this game could turn into a washout in a hurry. We’ve seen what the Chiefs can do to opposing defenses, so it’s pretty cut and dry.
On offense, if the 49ers don’t improve their consistency, they won’t score nearly enough points to win this game. We have seen hints of how good this offense could be, but it has not happened regularly enough. They managed 30 points against the Detroit Lions last week, and even then receivers struggled to get open and Garoppolo was a little too hesitant to pull the trigger. I think even in a loss the 49ers offense could have a solid enough day, but to put up the kind of points they need to win this kind of game, they need to get on the same page.