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Chiefs and 49ers – Super Bowl Preview

Chiefs and 49ers – Who you got?

We’re finally here. With just a few days until Super Bowl LVIII, it’s time for our last game preview of the 2023/24 NFL season. In the last few weeks, we’ve watched the Chiefs and 49ers battle their way to the biggest game of the year against some very stiff competition. Kansas City beat the Dolphins, Bills and Ravens, while San Francisco took down the Packers and Lions. For these two organizations and coaches, it’ll be a rematch of the 2020 Super Bowl, in which Kansas City won the team’s second championship by defeating the 49ers 31-20. Will history repeat itself this year, or will Kyle Shanahan finally get his hands on the Lombardi Trophy?

Keys for the Chiefs

Unlike other years, this edition of the Kansas City Chiefs doesn’t begin and end with the play of Patrick Mahomes. Sure, he’s still the best quarterback on the planet, but this year’s team has been much more dependent on its defence. In three postseason games against three of the NFL’s best offences this season, the unit allowed multiple touchdowns only once while holding Miami to 7 and Baltimore to 10 points total. It’s not like they’re coming on at the right time. Steve Spagnuolo’s defence ranked second in the league in both yards and points against in 2023, and their play in the postseason shouldn’t be surprising to anyone who’s watched them play.  

Of course, even with the defence doing their thing, Patrick Mahomes has still been balling in the playoffs, too. The box scores haven’t been as incredible as some we’ve seen in the past, but this older and more mature version of Mahomes has been just what Kansas City needs. He’s yet to turn the ball over in the playoffs, has a 70% completion percentage, and has made some big plays with his legs when necessary. It’s also no surprise that his connection with Travis Kelce is once again looking as dangerous as ever. Kelce has made 23 grabs in the three playoff games thus far, including an 11-catch effort in the AFC Championship game against Baltimore. If Kelce and Rashee Rice are both factors in the passing game on Sunday, there’s a good chance that the Chiefs will be on top when the final whistle blows.

Keys for the 49ers

On the other sideline, we’ve got Kyle Shanahan and the San Francisco 49ers. There are star players everywhere you look on this team, specifically on the offensive side of the ball. Christian McCaffrey leads the way in the run game. Still, even his rushing numbers wouldn’t be the same without the creativity of Shanahan and the blocking ability of Trent Williams, George Kittle and others. Quarterback Brock Purdy has looked a little shaky at times in the postseason this year, but in the most significant moments of the NFC Championship game, he shined. It’s hard to put everything on one guy, but his ability to lead this offence into the endzone on Sunday and not settle for field goals might make the difference in Super Bowl 58. Kansas City’s defence is excellent, and if there’s one guy you don’t want to keep around in a game, it’s Patrick Mahomes.

Speaking of Patrick Mahomes, that’s obviously who this defence will be most concerned about as they prepare for the game. Isiah Pacheco and the role of the ground attack shouldn’t be understated, but the way teams are succeeding against the 49ers is through the air. Charvarious Ward is a very good cornerback for the 49ers, but I expect to see Mahomes attack their other players through the air. Regarding the defensive line, a standout performance from Nick Bosa could make a world of difference. He was terrific in the second half against Detroit, and if there’s one thing that makes life tough for any quarterback, it’s constant and immediate pressure. When Tampa Bay dominated the Chiefs in the Super Bowl three years ago, Mahomes probably faced more pressure than any other game in his career. 

Chiefs and 49ers: The Pick

Sunday’s Super Bowl Matchup between the Chiefs and the 49ers should be a great one. Of course, every matchup at the end of the year is expected to be a tightly contested affair, but history has shown that it doesn’t always work out that way. 

San Francisco has been a favourite since the beginning of the year. They’ve been great on both sides of the ball and have shown that even without their best stuff for 60 minutes, they’re still the best team the NFC has to offer. The Chiefs, on the other hand, had a rollercoaster of a campaign in the highly competitive AFC. Questions surrounded their receivers for much of the year, and just three weeks before their first playoff game, they fell to the lowly Las Vegas Raiders. However, they’re still here for the fourth time in five years, closing in on one of the best five-year runs in NFL history. 

With the experience of their Hall of Fame coach and star players, I will have to take the Chiefs to repeat as Super Bowl Champions. On paper, there may not be a better team than San Francisco, but Kansas City wins games. Both the Chiefs and 49ers have multiple players that have been to this stage before, but Brock Purdy’s experience versus that of Patrick Mahomes could be a massive factor on Sunday. It’s a coin flip for me, and I think the quarterback situation is just enough to sway me to Kansas City. 

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