Opinion: What you need to know about Super Bowl LVIII - San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs 

OPINION: On Monday (NZ time), the AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs (11-6) will take on the NFC champion San Francisco 49ers (12-5) in Super Bowl LVIII at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Navada - a rematch of Super Bowl LIV.  

With the biggest day on the American sports calendar on the horizon, let's examine the strengths and weaknesses of each side and predicts who will lift the iconic Vince Lombardi Trophy. 

Why Kansas City Chiefs will win the Super Bowl 

One year ago, I wrote the Kansas City Chiefs would defeat the Philidelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII thanks to the abilities of one man - Patrick Mahomes. That prediction turned out to be correct as Mahomes went on to attain his second Super Bowl and Super Bowl MVP award.  

In 2024, I expect a slightly different equation for the Chiefs: Mahomes will require more help than any other Super Bowl he's played in. However, thankfully for Chiefs fans (even those simply on the Taylor Swift bandwagon), that help can be provided from what is one of the best defenses in the NFL.  

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Photo credit: Getty Images

Lead by All-Pros Chris Jones and Trent McDuffie, the Chiefs elite defence is one of the most surprising storylines of the 2024 season. During the 17-game regular season they allowed the second fewest points per game at 17.3, while racking up the second most sacks at 57 - a scary combination for any NFL offence.  

Their ability to shut down elite playmakers has also only gotten better during their unexpected post-season run. They held the high-powered Maimi Dolphins offence to just seven points during the Wild Card Round, limited explosive Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen to a mere 4.8 yards per pass attempt in the Divisional Round, all before dismantling the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship, holding the league's best offence to just 10 points. 

And guess what - Patrick Mahomes is still Patrick Mahomes. The two-time MVP may be experiencing a down year by his standards, but he's still shown multiple times, especially in the postseason, why he is the most accomplished quarterback of his generation.  

Why San Francisco 49ers will win the Super Bowl 

The San Francisco 49ers are stacked with some of the biggest names in the sport on both sides of the ball.  

On defense, linebackers Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw have combined with defensive ends Nick Bosa and Chase Young to wreak havoc for opposing quarterbacks all season. They've only allowed 0.2 more points a game than the Chiefs - ranking them third among the leagues' 32 teams, while forcing the seventh most turnovers with 28.  

Oh, and that offence I mentioned? The names get even bigger there.  

San Francisco running back Christian McCaffrey.
San Francisco running back Christian McCaffrey. Photo credit: Getty Images

Let's start with the league's best running back, Christain McCaffery. The first team All Pro led the league in rushing yards with 1,459 and was tied for the most total touchdowns on the year at 21. No matter what defense schemes were thrown at him the dual-threat RB was almost impossible to contain. McCaffery was so good that he was the only non-QB nominated for the Most Valuable Player award.  

Then there's the 49ers highly talented pass catches. Wide receivers Deebo Samuel and breakout star Brandon Aiyuk unite with tight end George Kittle to create a three headed monster that combined for 3,254 yards and 25 total touchdowns during the regular season.  Double team one of them and the other two will likely tear your defence apart.  

And who can forget 'Mr. Irrelevant' turned MVP finalist Brock Purdy. The last pick from the 2022 NFL draft has become one of the most consistent quarterbacks in the game, proven by his league-high 116.9 regular season passer rating. The second-year player has provided the perfect balance to head-coach Kyle Shanahan's offense – solidified by the pair's incredible 80 percent win rate.   

The Chiefs' cause for concern 

As touched on earlier, Patrick Mahomes hasn't been at his best this season. The six-year NFL veteran threw for 13 less regular season touchdowns and two more interceptions than he did a year ago. And even during his side's run to the Super Bowl his production has remained modest. He's only thrown for four touchdowns in three games and has yet to surpass the 300-yard passing mark this post season. 

The Chiefs' defence celebrates a stop.
The Chiefs' defence celebrates a stop. Photo credit: Getty Images

He's also often been let down by his pass catchers. The Chiefs lead the league in dropped passes with 44 across the first 17 games of the season - many of which came in key moments. This combination creates a worrying recipe for head coach Andy Reid as a Mahomes' interception or a key dropped pass could be all that stands between the Chiefs and their third Superbowl in five years. 

The 49ers' cause for concern 

On Christmas day, the San Francisco 49ers were blown out at home 33-19 by Baltimore Ravens - that same Baltimore Ravens that struggled to score more than 10 points against the Chiefs just two weeks ago.  

Despite possessing some of the biggest names on the field, there are still weaknesses to be exploited within both the 49ers offence and defence. Purdy was forced into four interceptions during that Ravens loss and has shown he can make crucial mistakes when put under pressure. 

Unlike the Chiefs, the 49ers also haven't looked comfortable in either of their post season games so far. They were a missed field goal away being forced into overtime against the seventh seed Green Bay Packers, while just two weeks ago they trailed the Detroit Lions 24-7 at halftime before staging an incredible comeback. Against a team that is no stranger to closing out Super Bowls - the 49ers will need to be near perfect to get across the line. 



I just can't bring myself to bet against Patrick Mahomes. Even at his worst, the Chiefs' linchpin is levels above most other players. And as we saw a year ago when he broke the hearts of Philadelphia Eagles' fans around the world, he's even more dangerous when he's an underdog. 

But by no means will this game be a whitewash. The 49ers have more than enough talent to execute vengeance for their Super Bowl LIV loss at the hands of the Chiefs five years ago.

 However, I believe Mahomes, his good mate Travis Kelce and that elite defence have too much championship experience and will officially solidify themselves as the next great NFL dynasty.

Kansas City Chiefs: 24, San Francisco 49ers: 21  

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