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Around the NFC West, Week 1 picks: 49ers travel to Chicago, Cardinals host Chiefs

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Houston Texans Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers are the only two NFC West teams playing on Sunday. The Los Angeles Rams opened the season Thursday night with a heavy loss to the Buffalo Bills, while the Seahawks as we know play Monday night. The 49ers are tied for being the largest favorite on DraftKings Sportsbook with a spread currently of -7 points. The Cardinals currently sit as one of Sunday’s biggest underdogs at +6.

Kansas City Chiefs @ Arizona Cardinals (+6) - Over/under 54 points - 1:25 PM PT on CBS

Arizona is opening the season at home with multiple key contributors from the 2021 season being unavailable or questionable. Star receiver DeAndre Hopkins is suspended, whilst J.J. Watt is carrying a calf injury and Markus Golden has a toe injury. The Chiefs on the other hand are one of the healthiest teams in the league as they have zero starters listed on the injury report.

General notes - In four games without Deandre Hopkins in 2021, Kyler Murray struggled. He had a passer rating of 89.7, barely averaged 200 passing yards a game and only threw five touchdowns. In ten games with Hopkins last season his numbers jumped averaging 278 passing yards a game, a passer rating of 106 to go along with 19 passing touchdowns. Despite a rough stretch in the middle of last season, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes found his groove in the playoffs last season posting a passer rating of 118.8, 72.95 completion percentage and throwing for 1,057 passing yards in three games.

Prediction - Under 54 points - Chiefs -6

I think Arizona is going to struggle to put up points without DeAndre Hopkins as well as having Zach Ertz and Rondale Moore at less than 100%, assuming they are even playing. Kansas City also should put up points with relative ease against what will likely be an undermanned Arizona defense with J.J. Watt yet to practice this week and Golden only getting in a limited session on Thursday. I do not think Arizona will be able to put up enough points for the over to cover, nor to come within 6 points of the Chiefs.

San Francisco 49ers (-7) @ Chicago Bears - Over/under 40 points

The 49ers are already being bitten by the injury bug with star tight end George Kittle missing Wednesday’s and Thursday’s practice as a result of a groin injury he picked up. Additionally, veteran safety Jimmie Ward was recently placed on IR. This will also be second-year quarterback Trey Lance’s third start in the NFL, and unlike last year he’s QB1. The Bears, like the Chiefs, have zero starters on their roster nursing any injuries.

General notes - The Bears struggled to score points last season in Justin Fields’ starts. In those 12 games last season they averaged just 16.8 points per game. Over the course of a full season that number would have been the fourth worst tally. The 49ers on the flip side put up 25.1 points per game last season, albeit with Jimmy Garoppolo at the helm. On the defensive side, San Fran was tied for the ninth fewest points allowed per game allowing 21.9, whilst the Bears ranked 22nd allowing 23.9 points per game. The 49ers did not lose many key contributors from their 2021 roster. The Bears however dismantled their defense by trading Khalil Mack and releasing Danny Trevathan and Eddie Goldman.

Prediction - Over 40 - 49ers -7

Despite the injury to star tight end George Kittle, I still have an extremely difficult time seeing the 49ers struggling to put up points on what should be a porous Bears defense. I do not see Chicago being able to match the 49ers offense, which should allow the 9ers to cover. Although, I do think the Bears will score just enough points to have the game squeak by the over.

As for the rest of Week 1, here are our Tallysight predictions: