If the Kansas City Chiefs want to stay unbeaten when the San Francisco 49ers come to town on Sunday they will have to play much better than they did on the road against the Cleveland Browns. The 49ers may be winless but they are very dangerous and could hurt the Chiefs if they let their guard down.
Here are 5 things the Chiefs must do to have a shot at downing the 49ers:
1. Take care of the football
After not turning the ball over against the Chargers, the Chiefs coughed up the ball twice against the Browns. Both turnovers came in the form of Matt Cassel interceptions.
While the turnovers in Cleveland didn’t hurt the Chiefs as much as they could have, don’t expect Frank Gore not to take advantage of favorable field position.
The Chiefs defense is playing well but the offense has to give them some help by taking care of the football.
2. Contain Frank Gore
In 2009 runners tore through the Chiefs defense like a hot knife through butter. In 2010, the Chiefs are doing a much better job of containing opposing backs. They neutralized both Ryan Mathews and Jerome Harrison in their first two games but Frank Gore will be their biggest challenge to date.
If the Chiefs hope to contain Gore, they have to do a better job of tackling. Arm tackles are not going to work on Gore and the Chiefs must continue their gang tackle mentality to slow him down.
Gore is also dangerous on screen plays. The 49ers used him a lot on screens against the Saints last week and it nearly won them the game. Romeo Crennel will be ready for this but for the Chiefs to defend it, they are going to have to continue to rely on CB’s Brandon “McDonald” Flowers and Brandon Carr to continue to make open field tackles on the edge. At the very worst, they must slow Gore down long enough to give Eric Berry time to come over and help.
3. Get pressure on Alex Smith
Alex Smith played well against the Saints but he is far from the most dangerous QB the Chiefs will face this season. Smith, like Cassel, is prone to mistakes, especially when under pressure. The Chiefs must put the heat on Smith and force him in to making mistakes that the KC’s opportunistic defense can convert into turnovers.
If Smith turns the ball over, the Chiefs chances will greatly increase.
4. Get the passing game going
The word is out on the Chiefs. They can run it down your throat but they can’t pass the ball. If you stop the run and take care of the football, you can beat the Chiefs.
Kansas City must ambush the 49ers with a strong passing attack. Teams are going to stack the box to stop Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles until Matt Casssel makes them pay for it. If Cassel can get the ball downfield he will loosen up the 49ers D and make things much easier on the Chiefs running attack.
If Cassel can’t move the Chiefs through the air it could be a long day for the Chiefs offense.
5. Get the return game back on track
After an impressive preseason and season opener, the Chiefs return game faltered against the Browns. Cleveland did a good job in coverage but the Chiefs need to make things happen on special teams in order to set their struggling offense up in better field position.
Javier Arenas and Dexter McCluster are going to have it rough because teams are going to start game planning to stop them. Special Teams coach Steve Hoffman would do well to mix things up a little bit this week, perhaps by running a reverse with McCluster and Arenas to throw Niners off their game plan on the opening kickoff.
Those are my 5 keys. It is your turn Addicts. What are your 5 keys to victory for the Chiefs this Sunday?