The Kansas City Chiefs travel out west to take on the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday as both teams look to get over the .500 mark.
The Chiefs have won two in a row and have a lot of momentum coming into this game after a fantastic showing on Monday Night Football with their 41-14 victory over the New England Patriots.
The 49ers are also coming off a win last week after defeating the Philadelphia Eagles by a score of 26-21 to even their record at 2-2.
They opened their season with a 28-17 victory over the Dallas Cowboys before dropping consecutive games to the Chicago Bears (28-20) and Arizona Cardinals (23-14).
Led by their defense, which ranks in the top seven in the NFL in both rushing (No. 2 – 69.8 ypg) and passing (No. 7 – 217.5 ypg), the Chiefs offense will face one of their toughest tests of the 2014 season on Sunday.
"Their front seven is a tough unit," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. "Big, physical guys. The linebackers can run. I would say their defense is one of the top defenses out there right now. We'll study them and make sure we know them and then get ourselves right."
Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith, who is no stranger to this 49ers defense, having played for eight seasons in San Francisco, understands the kind of challenge they present.
"They're a good physical group," Smith said of their defense. "They stop the run a lot of times light in the box with two safeties deep. It's tough. They can kind of make you one dimensional at times. Certainly they did that last week when you watch the tape against the Eagles.
"They know what they're doing and they're well coached."
Led by former Missouri Tiger Justin Smith on the defensive line, the 49ers have been known as a physically imposing team on the defensive side of the ball for the last decade.
On Monday against the Patriots, the Chiefs were able to control the line of scrimmage, rushing for more than 200 yards, led by the combination of Jamaal Charles and Knile Davis.
In order for the Chiefs to have that kind of success against the 49ers, the offensive line will need to continue playing well, just as they've done over the past couple of games.
Rookie Zach Fulton talked about what is important when getting ready for this 49ers front seven.
"We just have to communicate," Fulton said. "Across the board, just go out there and dominate them. Play to the potential we know we can."
Fulton went on to explain what he believes has been the key to the offensive line's performance improving each week.
"I think just getting a better feel for each other," Fulton said. "The communication has just been better and better so we just got to keep that rolling."
On the offensive side of the ball for the 49ers, quarterback Colin Kaepernick displays a unique kind of athleticism that has the attention of the Chiefs defenders.
"He can scramble and extend the play so you want to stay on your guy," cornerback Sean Smith said of Kaepernick. "It may look like he's taking off but he'll stop right before the line of scrimmage and chuck that thing across the field."
Kaepernick averages 5.7 yards every time he decides to tuck it and run, and his 187 rushing yards this season leads the NFL for quarterbacks.
Through the air, Kaepernick is 83 of 124 (66.9 percent) for 912 yards with six touchdowns and four interceptions.
On the outside, veterans Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree set the tone in the passing game. They both have at least 20 receptions and 230 yards receiving through four games.
At running back, 31-year-old Frank Gore, who has over 10,000 career rushing yards and just keeps producing, leads the 49ers. He's averaging over 4.4 yards per carry this season on 59 total carries.
The 49ers have a couple of players of note dealing with injuries on the offensive side of the ball. Tight end Vernon Davis has been dealing with a back issue and wasn't able to finish their game last week against the Eagles.
Also, right tackle Anthony Davis left the game early last week with a leg injury. Davis was making his first start of the season after sitting out the first three games dealing with a hamstring issue.
Jonathan Martin had been starting in place of Davis at right tackle and has surrendered a team-high three sacks during that time.
But the biggest key for the 49ers this season has been getting out to a fast start on offense. 72 of the 88 points the 49ers have scored this season have come in the first half.
They've been outscored 52 to 16 in the second half.
"It's important every week," quarterback Alex Smith said of starting off quick. "You always want to get out in front with a lead and help your defense. Every week it's important but especially when you're playing a good football team, and we're playing one on Sunday."
Back at practice on Wednesday at the University of Kansas Training Facility, Chiefs working on preparation for San Francisco
The Chiefs defense has given up just three points in the first half of the last two games combined, compared to the offense scoring 31 during that same span.
Hopefully they have this same kind of success on Sunday as they look to win their third consecutive game.
Notable 49ers Stats
Rank No. 7 in the NFL in percentage of first down plays gaining at least four yards at 51.8 percent.
They are tied for fifth in the NFL in third down conversion percentage at 50 percent.
They rank No. 1 in the NFL in points on first possession at 21.
They have 15 rushes of at least 10 yards, which ties them for fifth in NFL.
They run the ball 47.7 percent of the time, which is fifth highest percentage in the NFL.
They are the most frequently penalized offensive team in the NFL with 46 penalties accepted.
On blitzes, opposing quarterbacks have just a 60.8 passer rating, which is third best for a defense in NFL.
Defense is ranked last in NFL in allowing 3rd down conversions between four and six yards 71 percent.
On goal-to-go scoring, 49ers defense allowing touchdowns 42.9 percent of time, third best in NFL.
The 49ers have only allowed six runs of 10-plus yards in four games; Chiefs offense has done it 14 times.
The 49ers defense is allowing just 4.95 yards per play on defense, which ranks sixth in the NFL. The 49ers defense is allowing just 287 yards per game on offense, which is second best in NFL.