Chiefs or 49ers?

Weighing in on Super Bowl LVIII

The Kansas City Chiefs.

The San Francisco 49ers.

These two teams meet in a Super Bowl rematch from 2020 this Sunday in Super Bowl LVIII.

Who’s going to be holding the Lombardi? Will it be two-time league MVP Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs?

Or will it be the 24-year-old Iowa State University grad Brock Purdy leading his 49ers to victory?

As excitement towards the big game builds, here are some predictions brought to you by The Journal’s sports staff.

TRAVIS ROSENAU: Before the NFL playoffs began, I told Ari I thought the winner of the Super Bowl would be the Baltimore Ravens or any team that knocked them off in the playoffs. Not that shocking of a choice by any means, but it’s a pick.

Ari, sharp as ever, looked at me and said, “So all you need then is for Baltimore to make the Super Bowl.”

I didn’t get it at first, but then I laughed and realized he was right. I quickly told him that I meant Baltimore or the AFC team that defeated them in the playoffs.

Well, Baltimore lost, but I will stand by my word and go with the AFC team that took them down, that team being the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Chiefs are now days from away taking on the San Francisco 49ers, who defeated the ever-aggressive, Dan Campbell-coached Detroit Lions.

Alas, there are only so many times you can roll the dice in the NFL and get away with it.

Now the 49ers are set to take on the Chiefs in a rematch of 2020’s Super Bowl.

Other than standing my initial word, here are a few reasons Kansas City is my pick to win the Super Bowl.

1. Experience.

I’m not pretending San Francisco is new to the playoffs or even the Super Bowl. Despite a lull from 2014-2018, the 49ers have made it to the postseason four times in the last five years and played Kansas City in the Super Bowl in 2020.

But the Chiefs will now be playing in their fourth Super Bowl in the last five years. It’s also their ninth consecutive year of making the playoffs.

There’s something to be said for that kind of consistency. Kansas City did finish the regular season 11-6 and got upset twice, losing to non-playoff teams in Denver and Las Vegas. But this is the NFL and every dog has its day.

Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, however, are a whole different machine in the playoffs. Plus, they beat the best remaining team in the AFC to get to this point.

2. Defense.

As much fanfare as Mahomes and Travis Kelce draw, the Chiefs’ defense has been one of the top defenses in the league. They finished the regular season as the No. 2 total defense in the league, allowing 289.8 yards per game behind the Cleveland Browns’ 270.2.

More importantly, the Chiefs finished the season second defensively in points per game allowed with 17.3, behind Baltimore (16.5). In all fairness, the 49ers’ defense finished right behind the Chiefs with 17.5 ppg allowed, but they’re also coming off of a nail-biting playoff win over an underdog Detroit team that ultimately, in my opinion, lost because of too much risk taking.

And again, the Chiefs are fresh off a win over the Ravens, one of the most complete teams in the NFL this season.

In that win, the Chiefs got three takeaways and forced Lamar Jackson into throwing 37 times, completing just 20 of those attempts for a season-low 54.1%. Jackson did have a nice run of 21 yards, but he was otherwise held in check on the ground and finished with 54 yards rushing on eight scampers.

3. Travis Kelce.

Even at 34 years of age, the 6-5, 250-pound tight end has still been a massive difference-maker for the Chiefs this season, especially in the postseason. In three playoffs games, he’s picked up 23 catches for 262 yards and three TDs. During that time he also became the NFL’s all-time leader in postseason catches, passing Jerry Rice for the top spot.

Kelce now sits at 156 receptions ahead of Rice’s 151 postseason grabs.

Another tight end, one who quickly rose to prominence in his rookie season in Sam LaPorta, finished the Lions’ playoff loss to the 49ers with nine catches for 97 yards. While LaPorta and Kelce aren’t carbon copies of each other, they have had similar success this past season.

Kelce finished the season with 93 catches for 984 yards and five TDs in 15 games, while LaPorta had 86 catches or 889 yards and 10 TDs in 17 games.

Stats and numbers aside, Kelce hasn’t taken a step back this season and will be a difference-maker whether he gets a TD or not on Sunday.


Kansas City — Mahomes throws for 267 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Kelce finishes with eight receptions for 107 yards and a touchdown. Isiah Pachecho finishes with 18 carries for 65 yards and a TD. The Chiefs’ defense sacks Brock Purdy four times and recovers a fumble.

San Francisco — Brock Purdy throws for 230 yards, one touchdown and one interception while picking up 40 yards on the ground. Deebo Samuel has six receptions for 95 yards and a touchdown. Christian McCaffrey finishes with 22 carries for 85 yards and a touchdown while catching four passes for 30 yards. Deommodore Lenoir picks off Mahomes in the first half.


After a 10-10 halftime score, Kansas City puts together a strong second half to win the Super Bowl 24-17.


Taylor Swift will be in attendance and will be shown on camera at least seven times during the game.

ARI SELVEY: I am a fan of the Chiefs.

This is becoming a more and more unpopular of an opinion as fandoms across America join together to root against the budding dynasty that Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid are putting together in Kansas City, but there’s something about seeing the creation of a legacy that is appealing. To me, watching one of the greatest quarterbacks, perhaps the most talented player to play the position in the history of the game, work to solidify himself in history, is entertainment in its highest form.

Despite my fandom, I will not be picking them to win the Super Bowl. I believe that Kyle Shanahan’s San Francisco 49ers will get revenge in a repeat of Super Bowl LIV.

Patrick Mahomes is 2-1 in the Super Bowls he has played in. In the Super Bowl he lost, Mahomes was constantly battered and bruised by Tampa Bay’s pass rush, while Tom Brady methodically led his offense up and down the field against Kansas City’s shoddy defense. While the Chiefs have since shored up on both weaknesses that led to that loss, many reflections of that game could be applied to this year’s title game.

The 49ers have one of the most stacked rosters in the NFL on both sides of the ball, boasting plenty of talent on offense and defense. Nick Bosa is one of the best edge threats in football, and though he had a down year this season, his 10.5 sacks betray his game-wrecking ability. As a team, the 49ers totaled 48 sacks in the regular season, good for seventh in the league. Starting offensive guard Joe Thuney is questionable to appear for the Chiefs, and if he misses the big game, things may become even more dire for Kansas City’s pass protection.

In addition to their strength rushing the passer, San Francisco also excels in defending the run. While the Chiefs have traditionally run their offense through Mahomes, Kansas City has been very reliant on Isaiah Pacheco and the run game this season. Pacheco currently has the most rushing yards in the playoffs this season with 254. The 49ers defense, meanwhile, had the third-best rushing defense in the regular season, allowing less than 90 yards per contest.

While San Francisco has a menacing defense, their offense may be even more impressive. Ever since trading for the best running back in football in Christian McCaffery last season, the 49ers have had plenty of weapons to operate with. McCaffery led the NFL in rushing yards this season with 1,449, and though the Chiefs have a strong overall defense, their rush defense has been middle of the pack, allowing the 14th most rush yards per game this season. McCaffery has continued his dominance in the playoffs, leading the league in postseason rushing touchdowns with four despite the team receiving a bye in the wild-card round.

Even if you aren’t a believer in the talent of Brock Purdy, he was still able to do enough to be third in MVP odds this season after placing fifth in passing yards with 4,280. Purdy has been more than capable of leading the team in big moments, coming back from down 17 against the Detroit Lions in the NFC Championship game to win. With Purdy, McCaffery and wide receiver Deebo Samuel all healthy, the 49ers have been dominant, going 21-1, including the playoffs. All three options will be available for them in the Super Bowl, along with star receiver Brandon Ayiuk and tight end George Kittle, both strong contributors in their own right.

While the talent of players like Mahomes, Travis Kelce and Chris Jones are also undeniable, I think that the 49ers’ strengths align well with the Chiefs’ weaknesses. It will be a close game, my prediction being 23-15, but I believe the 49ers will come out on top for their NFL record-tying sixth Super Bowl win.


The Gatorade color will be orange. Ayiuk will score the first touchdown of the game. The coin will flip to tails. Purdy will be Super Bowl MVP, though it should have been McCaffery. One defensive touchdown will be scored. Taylor Swift will be shown by CBS six times before the final whistle.


JIM BASTIAN: San Francisco 34, Kansas City 31 because 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy and my wife both graduated from Iowa State University.

JEFF MEDER: My prediction is that the team that scores the most points will win. Ha! Ha! Seriously, I think that Kansas City will win 27-24. The halftime score will be a 10-10 tie.

BLAINE OLSON: I think it will be 28-24, 49ers. The 49ers lead at halftime 14-10.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper?

Starting at $4.38/week.

Subscribe Today