In beating Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, the 49ers are looking to defy the odds
By Insidethe49|Published On: February 8th, 2024 at 5:42 PM|
The 49ers could break a common NFL trend if they can pull off the victory over the Chiefs.
Super Bowl Sunday is nearing as the San Francisco 49ers are set to face off against the Kansas City Chiefs in three days, looking to bring home the franchise’s sixth Lombardi Trophy after missing out against the same adversary four years ago.
It won’t be easy, however, as the 49ers will go up against elite quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who is appearing in his fourth Super Bowl, while looking to win his third ring in just six seasons as a starter in the NFL.
Now, the 49ers are favorites on the books, as DraftKings Sportsbook has them as two-point favorites, while lines have varied between 1.5 and 2.5 points in favor of San Francisco.
While the 49ers are “favorites” to win, they’re still looking to defy the odds against a common trend in the NFL: the best quarterbacks win.
Throughout his career, Mahomes has consistently found a way to win, even coming back from extreme deficits in order to do so, which has led him to a career record of 74-22 and a playoff record of 14-3.
However, this season feels different, as the Chiefs are arguably as weak of a team as they’ve been in the Mahomes tenure, while the 49ers are a proven adversary with talent all across the board.
Will this year finally be the time that San Francisco can overcome the final obstacle in their path to becoming Super Bowl champions?
Looking at the two rosters, the 49ers have an advantage with their running game, as they possess one of the league’s best rushing attacks with Christian McCaffrey, who primarily operates as a zone-runner, while the Chiefs have struggled in that area.
christian mccaffrey EPA/rush by run type: •zone: 0.15 (1st) •gap: -0.16 (26th) •duo: -0.13 (29th)
christian mccaffrey run type frequency: •zone: 64.3% •gap: 19.1% •duo: 15.0%
chiefs EPA/rush allowed by run type: •zone: -0.09 (18th) •gap: 0.10 (32nd) •duo: -0.16 (7th)…
Additionally, San Francisco’s offense has been explosive because of the number of elite weapons at their disposal, which Kyle Shanahan will look to exploit with various matchups.
Defensively, the 49ers’ defensive line has an advantage on the edges, as Nick Bosa and Chase Young will face off against Donovan Smith and Jawaan Taylor, with the latter leading the NFL in penalties with 23 this season.
Of course, all of the discourse comes back to Mahomes, who has been the league’s best game manager in 2023, effectively leading the Chiefs to 13 total wins this season, despite the offense scoring over 30 points just three times and scoring 20 or less on eight different occasions.
Intriguingly, the Chiefs have held their opponents to 20 points or less in 13 of their 14 wins this season, while playing in 13 one-score games.
On the other hand, San Francisco has scored 30 points or more in 10 of their games this season, while playing in just six one-score games.
With the receiving core that they have, this Chiefs team doesn’t feel equipped to come back from leads like teams in the past, as they went 2-4 this season when trailing at halftime.
Now, Mahomes is capable of creating his own magic, but it leads back to the question: can the 49ers defy the trend of better quarterbacks winning with a strong team win for their sixth Super Bowl?