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Preview, Predictions, & Odds for Super Bowl LVIII - The Kansas City Chiefs vs. The San Francisco 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs are now officially headed to Super Bowl LVIII, which is scheduled to kick off at 5:30 p. m. CT on Sunday, February 11th, 2024 from Allegiant Stadium in the electric and beautiful Las Vegas, Nevada.
With just 2 - weeks until the big dance, I am taking an early analytical and emotional look at what you can expect in this upcoming powerhouse match - up featuring the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers. The NFL Nation reporters in Nick Wagoner and Adam Teicher look closer at each of the 2 - teams.
Seth Walder manages to crunch the numbers in order to give you some key stats to know, Matt Bowen, dives into the game plan with a key matchup and Eric Moody pulls out an X factor. Aaron Schatz is around to answer any big questions circulating around the last NFL game of the 2023 - 2024 season, while Jason Reid will explore the quarterback match - up. Finally, I have an early gut - reaction and predictions for Super Bowl LVIII.
Super Bowl LVIII: San Francisco 49ers vs. Kansas City Chiefs
When: Sunday, February 11, 6:30 p. m. ET on CBS
Where: Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas, Nevada
Opening line: San Francisco 49ers - 2.5 (O / U 47.5 - points)
FPI prediction: San Francisco 49ers - 59 % (by an average of 3.1 - points)
Few teams have become more synonymous with the Super Bowl than the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers. The Kansas City Chiefs are headed to their 6th - Super Bowl all - time, which includes making it to a remarkable 4 out of the last 5 Super Bowls. If that is not a dynasty, I do not know what is? For the San Francisco 49ers, they are making an 8th - Super Bowl appearance all - time, but they have a chance to win their 1st - Super Bowl Championship title since way back in 1994.
This rematch of Super Bowl LIV following the 2019 - 2020 NFL season, won by the
Kansas City Chiefs, offers an opportunity to claim immortality for all involved. More specifically, it gives the Kansas City Chiefs the chance to continue a long - term run that has been rarely witnessed in the NFL. Winning back - to - back Super Bowls has proven to be incredibly hard, but the Kansas City Chiefs can accomplish the feat for the 1st - time since the 2003 - 2004 New England Patriots did so close to 2 - decades ago.
The quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs, Patrick Mahomes, now becomes the youngest quarterback to start his 4th - Super Bowl appearance, while the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs in Andy Reid prepares for his 5th - Super Bowl contest, trailing only Bill Belichick who had been there 9 - times as well as Don Shula who has made it to the Super Bowl 6 - times throughout his illustrious head coaching career in the National Football League.
For the San Francisco Niners, this is an opportunity to finally break through after advancing to the NFL Championship Game 7 - times since the year of 2011 without a single Super Bowl victory. As great as these franchises have been, the reality is it has been 29 - seasons since the San Francisco 49ers last won an NFL championship title, with Steve Young winning MVP in Super Bowl XXIX. Brock Purdy is no Steve Young, but winning his 1st - NFL Super Bowl would be a huge first step for the young San Francisco 49ers quarterback.
The San Francisco 49ers
2023 - 2024 NFL Regular Season Record: 12 - 5 | NFC Playoff Seed: Number 1
Reason for their hope includes an experienced star powered roster. No team in the NFL has a bigger galaxy of stars than the Forty - Niners. They had a league - high 9 - players selected to the NFL Pro Bowl, 12 more were chosen as alternates and 7 - players who earned first or second - team NFL All - Pro honors.
What's more, the San Francisco 49ers have plenty of players as well as coaches who have participated in deep NFL postseason runs, including 8 - players who played meaningful snaps in Super Bowl LIV. When they are rolling, the San Francisco 49ers look every bit the part of a juggernaut, winning their 12 - regular - season - NFL - games by an average of 19 - points, which was good for the 2nd - best in the National Football League.
Reason for concern consists of their recent history. The San Francisco 49ers do not exactly have fond memories of playing the Kansas City Chiefs on the biggest stage possible. The San Francisco 49ers lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in their last Super Bowl appearance just 4 - years - ago.
While the San Francisco 49ers have not played the Kansas City Chiefs since back on October 23rd, 2022, in which they lost by 3 - touchdowns that day, and the San Francisco 49ers have not defeated the Kansas City Chiefs in a football game with Mahomes at quarterback. None of that should prevent the San Francisco 49ers from turning the tables this year, but there is something to be said for the idea that the Kansas City Chiefs are simply a bad match - up for San Francisco 49ers.
The Kansas City Chiefs
2023 - 2024 NFL Regular Season Record: 11 - 6 | AFC Playoff Seed: Number 3
Reason for hope revolves around the fact that they have Mahomes at QB, and he plays at his best in the NFL postseason. over his last 6 - NFL playoff games, Mahomes has completed 70 % of his pass attempts with a yards - per - attempt average of 7.0 as well as 11 - touchdowns without throwing an interception. The rest of the Kansas City Chiefs’ offense has shown signs of life recently. They are making more big plays and had a season - high 8 - plays of more than 20 - yards in their NFL Divisional Round playoff win over the Buffalo Bills.
A reason for concern can be applied to their somewhat sloppy offensive play at times. The Kansas City Chiefs during the 2023 - 2024 NFL regular season led the league in dropped passes, were 2nd in offensive penalties and tied for 7th - place in total turnovers. They have won in the playoffs despite their sloppy play.
Inside the red zone alone in the NFL Wild - Card postseason win this year over the Miami Dolphins, they dropped a pass, botched a shotgun snap, and had a penalty that wiped out a touchdown on 3 - separate offensive drives, leading them to have to resort to kicking field goals. Mecole Hardman Jr.'s goal - line fumble in the NFL Divisional Round of the playoffs enabled the Buffalo Bills to stay close throughout that match - up. How much longer can the Kansas City Chiefs continue to beat quality teams playing this brand of NFL ball?
Stats to Know About
The San Francisco Niners plethora of big - time playmakers is a major reason why their team is not only in the Super Bowl, but is why they have boasted the best offense throughout the 2023 - 2024 NFL season. ESPN's wide receiver tracking metrics can easily demonstrate their offensive domination, as each of their top targets lead their position in at least 1 - category.
Brandon Aiyuk leads all wide receivers in catch scores with 96 and overall scores with 98, Deebo Samuel leads all receivers in YAC score at 83, George Kittle leads all tight ends in overall scores with 84, and Christian McCaffrey leads all running backs in catch scores with 99. Maybe a defense can take away one of them, but it is close to impossible to stop all of them.
Mahomes had the absolute worst statistical NFL regular season of his overall amazing pro football career in 2023, ranking 19th in QBR on all passing plays. So how did the Kansas City Chiefs make it to the Super Bowl this season? Well, throwing is only part of the way that Patrick affects the offense. In 2023 while playing with the worst wide receiving corps in the National Football League in terms of RTM's catch score, it is the other types of plays where Mahomes has excelled. Mahomes has avoided sacks (2nd - lowest sack rate behind Josh Allen) and scrambled incredibly well (2nd - most scramble EPA, again behind Allen). Of course, a high - end Kansas City Chiefs defense has made all of the difference as well.
Inside the Match - Up
Kansas City Chiefs LB Nick Bolton vs. 49ers RB Christian McCaffrey
The run game is a foundational aspect of the San Francisco 49ers’ head coach Kyle Shanahan's offense, so I'm focusing on Nick Bolton's ability to limit McCaffrey on early - down situations. Bolton is quick to key on as well as diagnose the opponent’s play, and he has the speed to scrape to the edges. That is a critical element against a San Francisco 49ers unit that will use various formations and motions in order to gain number advantages to the play side. McCaffrey averaged 5.4 - yards per carry this season with 44 - rushes of 10 or more yards. CMC makes this offense operate at full speed.
X Factor: Isiah Pacheco, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
Pacheco has quickly become the undisputed leader of the Kansas City Chiefs' offensive backfield, and his workload definitely reflects it. Over the course of 6 - career NFL postseason games, Isiah has averaged 18.7 - touches per game and 90.5 - total yards. There is a perception that the San Francisco 49ers’ defense is among the best in the National Football League, but in their path to Super Bowl LVIII, they have given up a whole lot of rushing yards to running backs such as Aaron Jones, David Montgomery, and Jahmyr Gibbs. Pacheco is the 2nd - Kansas City Chiefs player with a rushing touchdown over the course of his 4th - straight NFL playoff game. His streak could continue against the San Francisco 49ers behind a Kansas City Chiefs offensive line that has been nothing but superb so far during this incredible 2024 NFL postseason.
Answering Big Questions
What's the biggest difference with Steve Wilks as San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator?
The biggest difference for the San Francisco 49ers’ defense for this NFL season has been a larger struggle with stopping the run. The San Francisco 49ers ranked 15th in run defense DVOA throughout the 2023 - 2024 NFL regular season after ranking 2nd and 1st in the past 2 - NFL seasons.
The most pressing issue for the San Francisco 49ers has been stopping runs that get downfield rather than stopping runs right up front in the trenches. The San Francisco 49ers run stop rate is the same as it was the last NFL season with a rate of 32 %. Back in 2022 the San Francisco 49ers were the best defense in the National Football League, preventing 2nd - level runs (5 - 10 yards) as well as open - field runs of 11 - yards or more. During the current NFL season, the San Francisco 49ers rank 7th and 21st in those categories, respectively.
Last year, the one place that the San Francisco 49ers had a problem against the run was in short yardage plays. The San Francisco 49ers allowed an astonishing 71 % conversion rate on these runs (3rd - down, 4th - down, or goal line situations with 1 - 2 yards left to go). Throughout this NFL season, the San Francisco 49ers allowed a 79 % conversion rate on these runs.
Did Travis Kelce take a step back from his usual Football Hall of Fame play during the 2023 - 2024 NFL regular season?
The simple answer is yes, oh absolutely. Kelce has not taken 20 - steps back into the land of the, "average tight end." He is still presently one of the best in the business of pro ball, even if he could not match his previous unbelievable performances on the gridiron.
Throughout this current NFL season, a new version of the receiving DYAR metric was based on routes rather than targets. It does a much better job of valuing the ability of wide receivers to get open as well as attract targets on a steady basis. Kelce led the National Football League in 2022 with 642 - yards above replacement. No other tight end was even above 450. During this season, Kelce led the NFL once again, but only with a total of 399 DYAR. Kittle was right behind him at 395.
The wide receiver tracking metrics tell a similar story of a lesser, but still strong, 2023 - 2024 NFL season. Last season, Travis was 2nd - behind Kittle with a 75 - RTM score. This season, Kelce dropped to 7th with a 58 - RTM score. His open score and YAC score dropped just a little, and Kelce’s catch score dropped drastically.
I have always had to anticipate some significant decline from Kelce this season. The man is 34 - years - old for God sakes! Travis just set the NFL record for receiving yards by a tight end at the age of 34 or higher with 984. Tony Gonzalez was the only other tight end to have at least 850 - yards at this age, and Gonzalez managed to accomplish that a total of 3 - times.
However, so far during the 2023 - 2024 NFL playoffs, Kelce has caught 16 of his 17 - targets which has been good for 191 - yards as well as 3 - touchdowns. That is certainly much better than his performance during the past NFL regular season.
Super Bowl Quarterback Match - Up
Brock Purdy vs. Patrick Mahomes
Selected by the San Francisco 49ers with the last overall NFL draft selection of the 2022 NFL Draft, Purdy was that draft class’s, “Mr. Irrelevant.” Although Purdy has been anything but irrelevant to the San Francisco 49ers. Brock Purdy has been extremely efficient and at times quite spectacular while directing the San Francisco 49ers’ offensive unit.
Over the course of his just 26 - career starts which includes the NFL playoffs, Purdy has compiled an overall a record of 21 - 5. That is a sparkling winning percentage of .808. By making incredibly wise decisions with the football, Purdy quickly earned the trust of his head coach in Shanahan as well as the San Francisco 49ers’ many talented play - makers on the offensive side of the football.
With the San Francisco 49ers trailing the Detroit Lions by a total of 17 - points at halftime last Sunday during the 2024 NFC Championship Game, Brock stayed cool as he led the San Francisco 49ers’ very impressive comeback win that puts the San Francisco 49ers right back in the Super Bowl for the 2nd - time over the past 5 - NFL seasons.
Already an all - time National Football League great, Mahomes will be now attempting to become only the 5th - quarterback in the history of the NFL to have at least 3 - Super Bowl championship titles, following Tom Brady with 6, Joe Montana with 4, Terry Bradshaw also with four, and Troy Aikman with three. Mahomes, Brady, Peyton Manning, and Montana are the only quarterbacks to have at least 2 - NFL Super Bowl championship titles and 2 - Associated Press MVP Awards. For the 6th - straight NFL season with Mahomes as their starting signal - caller, the Kansas City Chiefs reached the AFC Championship Game. The only streak longer than that is the New England Patriots' unbelievable run of 8 Championship Games in a row from year of 2011 to the year of 2018.
The Kansas City Chiefs are the 9th - NFL franchise over the course of the past 20 - NFL seasons to pull off upsets in the divisional round and conference championship playoff games. 6 of the previous 8 went on to eventually win the Super Bowl. Overall, the Kansas City Chiefs are 12 and 8 against the spread this season, while the San Francisco 49ers are 9 and 10. Since the year of 2001, underdogs are 11 and 11 outright as well as 15 and 7 ATS in the Super Bowl.
Gut Reaction Predictions
Aaron Schatz who is a widely respected NFL analyst is picking the Kansas City Chiefs. Their defense is currently playing very well, while the San Francisco 49ers defensive squad has been in decline over the last several weeks. Both running backs should have nice games, but only the Kansas City Chiefs have Patrick Mahomes and only the San Francisco 49ers have Christian McCaffrey.
Dan Graziano who is an NFL national reporter is also picking the Kansas City Chiefs. Every time he does not pick them, they seem to make him feel really stupid. The Kansas City Chiefs keep finding ways to win when it matters most.
An NFL analyst, Dan Orlovsky, is taking the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVIII. Mahomes always gives them an edge, and their defense has been playing simply excellent as of late.
Field Yates, also an NFL analyst, is taking the Kansas City Chiefs. The Detroit Lions did a solid job of protecting Jared Goff in the NFC Championship Game, which I expect the Kansas City Chiefs to be able to replicate against the San Francisco 49ers. Even if the Kansas City Chiefs are unable to, Mahomes is undiscouraged by pressure up front, and he will lead the Kansas City Chiefs to their 3rd - Super Bowl championship over the course of the last 5 - years.
Jordan Reid who is an NFL draft analyst says the Kansas City Chiefs will win this year’s Super Bowl. The San Francisco 49ers are looking to avenge their devastating defeat to the Kansas City Chiefs from Super Bowl LIV, but he thinks that the Kansas City Chiefs will once again be too much for the San Francisco 49ers as they go on to win back - to - back NFL Super Bowl championship titles.
Lindsey Thiry, an NFL national reporter, is picking the Kansas City Chiefs as well. You simply can't pick against Mr. Mahomes at quarterback.
Marcus Spears, an NFL analyst is saying the Kansas City Chiefs. Again, Mahomes is their starting quarterback ...
Matt Miller, an NFL draft analyst, is picking the Kansas City Chiefs. He likes some of the situational match - ups for the San Francisco 49ers, but the NFL playoffs are about the team with the best quarterback and head coach duo -- and that is the Kansas City Chiefs this NFL season.
Seth Walder, an NFL analytics writer likes the San Francisco 49ers to win Super Bowl LVIII. The San Francisco Niner's biggest play - makers will be too overwhelming for the Kansas City Chiefs to handle. There is a reason that the San Francisco 49ers were the best offensive NFL unit all year long -- and they will be once again on Super Bowl Sunday this February.
Seth Wickersham, an NFL writer, also likes the San Francisco 49ers in this year’s NFL finale. Shanahan's scars are finally healed, and he is ready to win the big - game finally.
Stephania Bell, an NFL injury analyst, is also picking the San Francisco 49ers. Shanahan will use the lessons that he has learned from giving up a lead as well as the confidence gained in last Sunday night’s game in which they came back from behind in order to pull out an amazing big - time win when it mattered most.
“49ers - Chiefs: Super Bowl LVIII predictions, picks, odds”, espn.com, January 28, 2024.TheTheThe