The Collegian sports writing staff comes together to weigh in on which team will win the most-watched event in America and why.
Although both teams have incredible, explosive offenses, talented head coaches and young Quarterbacks who are the next generation of Brady and Brees — The Kansas City Chiefs look just too hot and too resilient to cave in this one.
For one, the Chiefs are high off of the momentum of two incredible victories, in which they came back from down 24 and 10 points, respectively. When things got rough, Patrick Mahomes got rougher, and so did Tight End Travis Kelce, and the entire Chiefs defensive unit. In both games, the winner was effectively decided the second Kansas City had the lead, and the opposing team could no longer milk the clock.
But more than that, this also seems like a team of destiny, a team with spirit and intangibles on their side. This year is the 50th anniversary of the Chiefs’ last Super Bowl appearance and only win, and it also feels like a redemption year after last year’s heartbreak. It should also be mentioned that the Chiefs are unlikely to get off to a slow start like they did in their last two games, because they have two weeks to watch game film, adjust their plan, and correct mistakes. Leave it up to Andy Reid to make his team better with extended break periods (He’s 17-3 over his career after regular season bye weeks).
While the San Francisco 49ers are no pushover team, having just humiliated the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship game, they are also not as resilient as the Chiefs in close games, having lost tight matchups against weak teams like the Falcons and Cardinals this year.
All things considered, the Chiefs are going to be hyped up and hard to contain. Expect this one to be a high scoring game, whether or not it gets ugly.
A.C.’s prediction: Kansas City 42 – San Francisco 28
The 49ers have one of the stoutest defenses in the NFL, boasting what is probably the best pass rush the Chiefs have faced all season. KC’s O-line will have to contend with Nick Bosa, Deforest Buckner, Arik Armstead and former Chief Dee Ford. While that will be no easy task, the Chiefs have this guy named Patrick Mahomes. Under Mahomes, in his 35-game tenure (including the playoffs) at quarterback, the Chiefs have never truly been out of a game, leading the Chiefs to a 27-8 record. All eight losses were by 7 points or less. Therefore, the Chiefs have not lost decisively since the 2017-18 season.
Marred by an inept defense last season, free agent additions Tyrann Mathieu and Frank Clark have cauterized a formerly hemorrhaging defensive unit, putting themselves near the top-10 in overall defense this season when they were 31st (second-worst) the year before. Kansas City has scored at least 23 points in 36 of their last 37 games. The outlier came at Week 5 this year against the Colts, a 19-13 home loss where Mahomes was clearly hampered by a nagging ankle injury.
San Francisco will have no answers for Mahomes. The Chiefs force defenses into a tough situation with all the weapons Mahomes has at his disposal. Richard Sherman and company will need to double-team Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill. Time after time this season, this has been virtually impossible for opposing secondaries. While doubling Hill can take away his threat of verticality, it typically leaves Kelce and Sammy Watkins open in the middle of the field. The Chiefs receiving corps is simply too good for everyone else, if San Francisco shuts down one receiver, another will feast.
While Jimmy Garoppolo should be fresh after only attempting 8 passes against the Packers in the NFC Championship, the Chiefs defense will play well enough to get three or four stops over the course of the game. This is all the help Mahomes will need. KC’s elite offensive unit will put themselves into the conversation of best offense to ever win a Super Bowl.
Brett’s prediction: Kansas City 38 – San Francisco 30
I’m not an NFL expert. But I do know a good team when I see one, and the Chiefs are simply unstoppable. Patrick Mahomes is just too good, and the Kansas City is destined to win.
Growing up a Broncos fan, I always had a bitter dislike for the Chiefs so touting them today is not something I really enjoy. Nevertheless, Mahomes is a talent that I wish had gone to the Browns or Broncos. It has been a long time since I have been so excited about seeing how good a young quarterback can be.
There is something to be said for Deforest Buckner. I love a Super Bowl where it’s an incredible offense versus a stalwart defense. An unstoppable force versus an immovable object and all that. But what’s more is the 49er’s key player happens to be a direct counter to the Chief’s key player. It would already be interesting if both key players were quarterbacks, or one was a running back, or they were both defensive players. But quarterback leading his team against a defensive tackle leading his? It sounds like a battle from a fantasy novel, and I am here for it.
But at the end of the day, even after Buckner stops a dozen Chief’s rushing plays, sacks Mahomes a couple times and maybe even recovers a fumble. The sheer amount of scoring Kansas City will do on top of all those foiled score attempts will win them this game. If Buckner chokes, and fails to stop any of them, we would see a 56 point KC. But money money is he will be on his game.
Brennen’s prediction: Kansas City 35 – San Francisco 21
As a Missouri native, it is hard to have an unbiased opinion toward the biggest Chiefs’ game of my lifetime. That being said, it is in my most objective opinion to say that Kansas City is perfectly capable of making a mockery of the 49ers. My faith has always been in the offense, led by the godlike abilities of Patrick Mahomes, but after witnessing seven touchdowns in a row in the divisional round (followed by a field goal for a cherry on top), I do not believe that any team in the world could score enough in a single game to outdo my anticipated efforts from the Chiefs’ offense.
To the contrary, the Chiefs have been a struggle on the defensive end, and the 49ers could easily be the team to exploit that fully. San Francisco has a top-ranked rushing offense, and Jimmy Garappolo is no slouch in the passing game either. The Kansas City defense has, in accordance with years past, not been the most formidable, and their rushing defense has been one of the weakest points: good news for a top rushing offense. However, Derrick Henry looked to be the biggest threat available for the Chiefs, and they were able to overcome.
My overall guess is that the 49ers offense will be able to score, but that the Chiefs will, as always, be able to score more.
Zach’s Prediction: Kansas City 45 – San Francisco 38
Here’s the thing; I love KC not the city, the team but we’ll get there. However, San Francisco is just too cool to lose. The team can get lost but Kansas City’s Midwestern charm won’t stand up against the culture of San Fran. If there’s one thing the Bay Area does well it’s that they surround their awful fan culture (see Warriors’ fans) with an otherwise great city. I mean every Super Bowl in the past 20 years has been one by the team from the better city (ignore 2018).
Chris’ Prediction: KC -a lame flyover San Fran-cool, but an untenable housing crisis.