The Kansas City Chiefs are in an envious position right now: They're 2-0, facing an 0-2 team at home.
Things don't get much better than that two weeks into the NFL season.
However, the Chiefs are the underdog. They're expected to lose by three points despite the homefield advantage Arrowhead Stadium brings.
That's because the San Francisco 49ers are at or nearing a must-win situation. Starting out 1-2 is much different than starting out 0-3 and the 49ers know that. They were expected to win the NFC West so the hunger for a division title certainly hasn't disappeared.
"We know that they are a good team, we don’t take them lightly by any means," Chiefs QB Matt Cassel said on Wednesday. "They have had some close games and you can see by the Monday Night Football game that they are a good football team and they play good defense. They were right on the cusp of beating the world champions. I know that they are going to come in here hungry, this team is expecting it and we are going to be ready for the challenge."
The 49ers lost 25-22 to the defending world champion New Orleans Saints on Monday night. Perhaps the most impressive feat of that evening was QB Alex Smith leading the 49ers on a game-tying drive with less than two minutes remaining in the game.
For his part, Cassel seems to recognize that the difference between 2-0 and 0-2 isn't much, as the Chiefs-49ers game would suggest.
"I have said it before, it is tough to win games in the NFL. No matter how you do it, we are 2-0 right now and we are happy about being there and this team is gaining confidence. We are happy to be 2-0 rather than 0-2 or 1-2 or 1-1. But we know that we have a lot of improvement and that is something that this team doesn’t take lightly and we are willing to make the sacrifice to get better."
The Chiefs are really one interception and one return away from being 0-2 and I think they know that. The ball has been bouncing their way and, while they won't apologize for being 2-0, I think they know it's a fine line.
One way to increase the gap from winning and losing: Better play from the quarterback.
The pressure is on Matt Cassel.