Detroit @ Dallas (-7.0)
Power rankings: Detroit 28, Dallas 7
Spread thoughts: This line has moved away from the model to 6.5. There's even more value now then when we ran the model on Tuesday.
Keys to the game: The Lions offense has been proficient this season, ranking 9th in DVOA. They're coming off a bye week and getting healthier, with WR Amon Ra St. Brown (ankle) and RB D'Andre Swift (ankle/shoulder) set to return. Though their offensive line has been strong this season, the interior features some weaknesses that can be exploited -- particularly RG Logan Stenberg who has allowed 10 pressures across 89 pass-blocking snaps (PFF). I mention the line specifically since the Cowboys 1/2 punch of Micha Parsons/Demarcus Lawrence has been the strongest in football this season. The Cowboys rank 1st in pressure rate (32.4%) despite blitzing just 14th most often (27.9%, via profootballreference). That could spell bad news for Jared Goff as he's consistently been bad against pressure relative to this peers throughout his career. Dallas also has one of the better secondaries in the NFL, which has collectively led to a pass defense DVOA that ranks 3rd best in the NFL. The Cowboys are weaker against the run, which makes Swift's return convenient timing. That said, relying on the run when you're trailing is never a viable strategy.
Dak Prescott (thumb) looks set to return for the first time since week 1. Although Cooper Rush did a fine job filling in, Dak is without question the better of the two and gives the Cowboys offense a boost. The combination of CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup, and Noah Brown gives Prescott plenty of weapons against a Lions secondary that is arguably the worst in all of football. The Lions defensive line may have a promising future, but for now are unable to generate consistent pressure despite a high blitz rate (31.3%, 5th most often), and are allowing 5.5 yards per carry on average on the ground. The Cowboys have an average at best line, but it will be more than enough in this matchup. The receivers should be open, Prescott should have time, and Zeke Elliot/Tony Pollard should have no issues finding running room.
Kansas City @ San Francisco (+3.0)
Power rankings: Kansas City 3, San Francisco 9
Spread thoughts: This line has moved toward the model. Kansas City is now just a 2 point favorite. As this has moved off of a key number, I wouldn't bet it if you haven't already.
Keys to the game: The Chiefs offense hasn't missed a beat without Tyreek Hill -- they're 2nd in DVOA (behind the Bills, who are really really good) and 1st in EPA/play. In all likelihood, Pat Mahomes will be battling it out with Josh Allen throughout the season for the regular season MVP award. In today's NFL, expectations to stop this offense shouldn't exist. If anyone can slow them down, the 49ers are one of the few teams that have a chance. The big question mark is if Nick Bosa (groin) will be able to return. Thus far he's been limited in practice, which typically means he'll be able to return. Bosa has had a monster season -- his 31 pressures are tied for most in the league despite being injured two weeks ago. If Bosa can go, the battle in the trenches will be a fun one to watch. If he can't, the Chiefs offensive line -- which is very solid -- should have the advantage. The 49ers also have one of the better secondaries in football and a pair of linebackers (Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw) who can cover well. They should be able to hold their own against the Chiefs receivers. Their also 1st in the league allowing yards to tight ends (22.7), which should help in the matchup against Travis Kelce.
The other side of the ball is a lot less exciting - the 49ers have a mediocre offense led by a mediocre quarterback. They could get a big boost along the offensive line if LT Trent Williams (ankle) can return. Williams, like Bosa, has been limited in practice all week and will likely get a questionable tag. That leaves the 49ers strong at the tackle positions, but they have issues along the interior. That should lead to DT Chris Jones getting plenty of pressure -- Jones is one of the better interior pass rushers in football, and the Chiefs have routinely lined him up against the opposing teams weakest links, even kicking him outside if necessary (it won't be here). Garoppolo has never done well with pressure, but the good news is the Chiefs offensive line outside of Jones has performed poorly. The advantage that the 49ers have is their receivers vs a banged up Chiefs secondary. The Chiefs have been a lot better against the run (13th in DVOA) then the pass (28th), and the 49ers offense has been a lot better throwing the ball (7th in DVOA) than running (26th). The latter stat is unusual for a Kyle Shanahan coached offense, which is perhaps why they felt the need to trade for Christian McCaffrey. I'll leave my thoughts on the trade for another day (I think it's dumb), but it should still be exciting to see what Shanahan is able to do with two hybrid players, as both McCaffrey and Deebo Samuel essentially function as both as a running back and receiver. We aren't yet sure if McCaffrey will be able to suit up for the 49ers on Sunday, so this could be something we don't see till later on.