The Kansas City Chiefs will play the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday at Levi’s Stadium in Week 7 of the 2022 NFL season. It’s the first time these two teams have met in a meaningful game since Super Bowl LIV.
Chiefs Wire: What is the biggest difference between the 49ers from Super Bowl LIV to now?
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Niners Wire: So, this is an interesting question because aside from minor differences in personnel, they’re virtually the same team. They’ve gotten better in some areas and worse in others. That’s why they went out and got Christian McCaffrey. They have a great defense and an offense that needs to help its quarterback as much as possible. McCaffrey gives the 49ers a new, more explosive element on the ground and through the air. Their defensive line is maybe a little better even without DeForest Buckner, and their offensive line might be a little worse. They’re mostly the same team though.
Chiefs Wire: How has the offense managed to adjust going from Trey Lance back to Jimmy G?
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Niners Wire: It took a couple of weeks but they’ve settled in now that Garoppolo is in a better rhythm. They’ve had trouble scoring in the second half though and it’s played a role in all three of their losses. They are throwing the ball deep downfield more often than they ever did in Garoppolo’s 2019, 2020 and 2021 campaigns. And that’s likely a product of the anticipated downfield element Lance was supposed to bring.
Chiefs Wire: Are there any standout rookies that Chiefs fans should know about ahead of the game?
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Niners Wire: DE Drake Jackson is the rookie to keep an eye on. He’s tied for the lead among first-year players with 3.0 sacks and his athleticism jumps off the screen when he’s forced to chase down a quarterback or change direction rapidly. RG Spencer Burford is also a rookie, but Jackson is the one more likely to have an impact.
Chiefs Wire: The 49ers have dealt with quite a few injuries, but are still No. 1 in the vast majority of defensive stats. How have they been able to be so consistent on that side of the ball?
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Niners Wire: Interestingly their injuries on defense really came to a head in Week 6, especially along the defensive front. They got pushed around and the Falcons were able to churn out whatever they wanted on the ground. They originally withstood their injury woes with quality depth and defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans’ superb performance has also been helpful.
Chiefs Wire: What’s your prediction for Week 7? Is San Francisco going to get some Super Bowl revenge?
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Niners Wire: Probably not. I’m less pessimistic than I was when Nick Bosa and Trent Williams were going to be out. Now they’re playing though so I think the 49ers can make Sunday’s contest a game behind a big performance from Bosa and a mistake-free contest from Garoppolo. That’s a big ask for both players though given each’s circumstances. The Chiefs win a close one 24-20.
Chiefs Wire: There has already been some talk of Christian McCaffrey playing in Week 7. How many touches are realistic for him on such a short turnaround?
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Niners Wire: I’d set the touches over/under at 2.5. And I think I lean under. If he does play it’d likely be red zone only, and even then they’re not going to want him playing a ton right out of the gate.