By Andy Davies

Super Bowl LVIII is here, as the Kansas City Chiefs take on the San Francisco 49ers at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. 

In a rematch of Super Bowl 54, the Niners will want to get revenge on the Chiefs, who overcame a 20-10 fourth-quarter deficit against them to lift the Lombardi Trophy, whilst the Chiefs will want to become the first team to repeat since the New England Patriots of the early 2000s.

There are legitimate cases for both teams winning the Super Bowl, however, no one seems to be backing the 49ers. This is largely due to the magic of Patrick Mahomes.

Mahomes a top three QB of all time?

GLENDALE, ARIZONA - AUGUST 19: Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs yells during a game against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium on August 19, 2023 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Ric Tapia/Getty Images)

Mahomes has had six seasons as a starter in the NFL. He has made at least the AFC Championship in each of those, now reaching his fourth Super Bowl. With a 4-2 record in the Conference Championship game, his two losses have also come in overtime.

The Chiefs have actually struggled in their three Super Bowl games to date with Mahomes under centre. They were 20-10 down in the fourth quarter in Super Bowl LIV, were never really in Super Bowl LV and they only led Super Bowl LVII from the point in the fourth quarter where Harrison Butker converted the game-winning field goal.

Whatever lead the Chiefs have to catch up on, you always feel that Mahomes is going to get his team back into the game. This will send nightmare waves to Niners fans, who will not want history repeating itself on Sunday.

However, the 49ers have proved that they also have the comeback gene in them.

Feeling Purdy good

SANTA CLARA, CA - JANUARY 28: Brock Purdy #13 of the San Francisco 49ers rushes during the NFC Championship game against the Detroit Lions at Levi's Stadium on January 28, 2024 in Santa Clara, California. The 49ers defeated the Lions 34-31. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)

With Brock Purdy, unlike the last few seasons, 49ers fans now have someone at the quarterback position that they feel confident in when it comes to clutch moments, something they haven’t experienced since the Joe Montana and Steve Young era.

When the Niners made Super Bowl LIV, they breezed past the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers on their way to the big game in Miami. They even breezed into the fourth-quarter lead in the Super Bowl.

This year has been different from that 2019 season playoff run. One thing stayed the same, they had the number one seed. However, in this season’s postseason, they have been behind in both the Divisional Round and NFC Championship. Whether it was the late game winning fourth quarter drive or whether it was turning a 24-7 deficit into 24-24 in just a matter of minutes, Purdy has inspired some great performances and shown that he can deliver when it matters.

Purdy has had his critics, one that stems from the fact he was Mr. Irrelevant in the 2022 NFL Draft. It has been instilled in people’s minds that he is a game manager, with weapons such as Christian McCaffrey, George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, and Brandon Aiyuk to throw to. However, he is guiding the team to wins and that is all that matters at the end of the day.

After all, the likes of Joe Flacco and Eli Manning have won Super Bowls despite not being the best quarterbacks in the regular season. Some quarterbacks have the opposite effect, with Lamar Jackson, Tua Tagovailoa, and Dak Prescott all having yet to really do it when it matters in the postseason despite great regular-season numbers.

At the end of the day, the playoffs are almost a different sport to the regular season and what comes before, if you exclude seeding, often does not matter too much. As long as you’re healthy and you perform in the playoffs, that is the most important thing, no matter what your seeding is. Purdy has done this, with those aforementioned game-winning drives.

Both teams will have confidence in their quarterback come Sunday as they will feel no deficit is too much.

The people’s tight end vs. the greatest tight end

LAS VEGAS, NV - FEBRUARY 5: Travis Kelce #87 of the Kansas City Chiefs and George Kittle #85 of the San Francisco 49ers speaks with the media during Super Bowl LVIII Opening Night at Allegiant Stadium on February 5, 2024 in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Perry Knotts/Getty Images)

One narrative from Super Bowl LIV that remains four years later is the battle between Kittle and Travis Kelce. The latter is widely seen as the greatest of all time, if you combine statistics, rings, and big playoff moments whereas Kittle is one of the most popular players in the entire league.

Both are big parts of the offense. A tight end is often seen as the quarterback’s best friend and these two are prime examples. Kelce will be the most used of the two when it comes to receiving stats, but Kittle offers elite blocking for his position along with his ability to produce excellent catches. 

They are both integral cogs of their offense and they are sure to be heavily featured at Allegiant Stadium.

"Defense wins championships"

SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 20: Nick Bosa #97 of the San Francisco 49ers is congratulated by Charvarius Ward #7 after a defensive stop during the first quarter against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Divisional Playoffs at Levi's Stadium on January 20, 2024 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

College Football great Bear Bryant once said, “offenses sell tickets, defenses win championsips.”

Whilst the likes of Mahomes and Kelce are the stars on the Chiefs’ offense, their defense have been the stars of the show. Not only did they boast the 18th best run defense and fourth best pass defense in the NFL this season, but defensive tackle was tied at 17th for total sacks (10.5) and cornerback L’Jarius Sneed was tied for ninth in passes defended (14).

However, the Niners defense is even more scary. They have the 14th best pass defense but the third best defense, which will be key when it comes to stopping Chiefs running back Isiah Pacheco.

Defensive end Nick Bosa, arguably the best defensive player on display on Sunday, was also tied at 17th in the league for sacks (10.5), Fred Warner was tied for seven for interceptions (4), and not only was cornerback Charvarious Ward the league leader in passes defended (23) but was also tied for fourth in the league with five sacks.

Who wins on Sunday?

LAS VEGAS, NV - FEBRUARY 5: Brock Purdy #13 of the San Francisco 49ers and Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs speak with the media during Super Bowl LVIII Opening Night at Allegiant Stadium on February 5, 2024 in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Perry Knotts/Getty Images)

McCaffrey is going to be a key for the Niners, especially if Purdy struggles in the passing game, and should be the biggest favourite for Super Bowl MVP if they win. With the Chiefs’ run defense its biggest weakness, a McCaffrey on top of his game can really hurt this Chiefs offense, as can the excellence of Ward in the secondary. 

However, this is the Chiefs. This is the playoff Chiefs, playoff Mahomes, playoff Andy Reid and playoff Kelce. They know how to get it done.

There has been a trend in recent years. Super Bowl 48 was extremely one sided, Super Bowl 49 was iconic. A year later and Super Bowl 50 was mediocre but the next two were arguably the best two of the century so far. Super Bowl 53 was the lowest scoring one in history, Super Bowl 54 was exciting. Super Bowl 55 was dull, Super Bowl 56 and 57 were great games.

We are due a boring or one-sided affair on Sunday, and this will go in favour of the Chiefs.

Prediction: 24-10 Chiefs




Andy is a Sports Journalism masters graduate, and is an accredited NFL journalist. He has experience in the press box at the NFL London games and has interviewed NFL personalities such as Osi Umenyiora, Trevor Lawrence, Jeff Reinebold,  Doug Pederson and many more. Also the host of the Across the Pod podcast, Euro Tripz and the Fins Nation UK podcast, find him on twitter @andydaviessport