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Super Bowl LVIII Preview

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The Kansas City Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes listens to a media member's question on the field during the Super Bowl Opening Night celebration at Allegiant Stadium on Feb. 5, 2024, in Las Vegas. (L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal/TNS)

By Jack Walker

The 58th edition of the NFL’s Super Bowl has finally arrived with the American Football Conference (AFC) Champion Kansas City Chiefs taking on the National Football Conference (NFC) Champions San Francisco 49ers. This will be the second time the two teams have played each other in the Super Bowl, with the previous matchup being Super Bowl LIV (54). 

Just like every other Super Bowl, there are plenty of storylines to be had. Can quarterback Patrick Mahomes win his third Super Bowl before age 30, putting him in a tie with fellow QBs Tom Brady and Troy Aikman as the only quarterbacks to do so? Can QB Brock Purdy become the first Mr. Irrelevant to win a Super Bowl MVP? Will Kyle Shanahan finally get the ring he’s been chasing since becoming head coach of the 49ers or will head coach Andy Reid add another Super Bowl to his hall of fame résumé? The list goes on and on. 

Here is a preview of both teams:

The San Francisco 49ers

When the 49ers beat the Dallas Cowboys 42-10 in early October to open the season 5-0, it felt like the NFC was theirs to lose. When the 49ers went into Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia on Dec. 3 and beat the Eagles 42-19, it felt like the Super Bowl was theirs to lose. The 49ers were supposed to be here and deserve to be here. Outside of a three-game skid in October and a disastrous Christmas game against the Ravens, the 49ers took care of business against every team they went up against. 

The 49ers as a team are not underdogs by any means, the same cannot be said for Purdy. Purdy was the 262nd overall pick in the 2022 draft, meaning he was the very last pick of the draft, or “Mr Irrelevant.” The odds are stacked against player making the roster if selected in the seventh round, but to lead your team to the Super Bowl in your second year? The odds were nearly impossible because it had never been done before, nor has anyone even come close since the NFL switched to the seven-round draft format 

The playoffs however have not been pretty for the 49ers, barely squeaking out wins against the Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions, but the roster is there for the team to go head-to-head with the Chiefs. The 49ers roster features seven players who made the All-Pro team, five of which were on the first team All-Pro.

Questions will arise around 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan if he can’t win this game. Shanahan by all means is a great offensive mind and a superb head coach. The problem surrounds his previous two appearances in the Super Bowl. Shanahan was the offensive coordinator for the 2016 Atlanta Falcons, which means he was the OC for the infamous “28-3” 2017 Super Bowl. As previously mentioned, the 49ers and Chiefs have been on this stage before, and Shanahan was the coach of the 2019 49ers team. In that Super Bowl, the 49ers held a 20-10 lead in the fourth quarter, but ultimately came up short, failing to win a game they were destined to win.

The 49ers ranked third in points, averaging 28.9 points per game, and second in points against, allowing 17.5 points per game. San Francisco has the keys to pull the game off, but it may come down to coaching, and the quarterback matchup.

The Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs are no strangers to the big game, because for the fourth time in five seasons, they will be playing for a chance to hoist the Lombardi Trophy. The Chiefs have the coaching experience and the roster experience to win the Super Bowl. But it wasn’t all that easy for the Chiefs to get to this spot.

For the first time in his already storied career, Mahomes had to go on the road in the playoffs, starting with the Buffalo Bills. Mahomes and company took care of business, but had their toughest of all games next on the schedule, Baltimore. Baltimore’s defense held Kansas City to only 17 points, but longtime defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s defense shut down the Ravens offense, holding Baltimore to 10 points, which tied the team’s season-low.

The Chiefs have been red-hot over their last five games but will be without first team All-Pro Guard Joe Thuney, which could cause trouble for the Chiefs’ interior offensive line. Another weakness for the Chiefs comes with their receivers. Tight end Travis Kelce is as rock-solid as they come, and rookie receiver Rashee Rice has proved to be a very reliable option for the Chiefs. But outside of those two, the list of receivers is not amazing. 

The Chiefs ranked 15th in points for, scoring 21.8 points per game, and ranked second in points against, allowing only 17.3 points per game. The Chiefs offense has struggled at times this season, but there is no quarterback better to have on the big stage than Mahomes.

The Game

Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas should host a great Super Bowl matchup. Both teams project to match up well, along with a great coaching battle with two of the brightest minds in the game. Mahomes has a chance to continue his path to becoming the greatest player to ever play the game. While Purdy has a chance to become one of the greatest underdogs ever. The game will have prominent names such as Reid, Shanahan, Mahomes, Purdy, Kelce, George Kittle, Chris Jones, Nick Bosa, Christian McCaffrey, Fred Warner, Trent Williams, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, L’Jarius Sneed, Trent McDuffie, etc. The talent in the Super Bowl this year goes on for a while. Jim Nantz will be on the call alongside his partner Tony Romo, Super Bowl LVIII is shaping up to be a good one.

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