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Monday April 15th

Super Bowl LVIII preview: Chiefs vs. 49ers

<p><em>Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes looks to win his third Super Bowl (Photo courtesy of All-Pro Reels / </em><a href="" target="_blank"><em>Flickr</em></a><em>).</em></p>

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes looks to win his third Super Bowl (Photo courtesy of All-Pro Reels / Flickr).

By Brenden Kelley

The AFC champion and defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs will take on the NFC champion San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas to conclude the 2023-24 NFL season. A rematch of Super Bowl LIV, the defending champions look to be the first team to win back-to-back Super Bowls since the 2004 and 2005 New England Patriots. The 49ers, on the other hand, look to win their first Super Bowl since 1994. The story of how these two teams came to face off for the second time in five years shows how quickly the NFL landscape can change.

How the 49ers got here

The San Francisco 49ers are looking to prevent a repeat of Super Bowl LIV, which saw the Kansas City Chiefs beat San Francisco in a late game comeback to secure their first Super Bowl title in 50 years. In the five seasons since the loss, the 49ers retooled their offense.

The 49ers 2022 season saw the emergence of rookie quarterback Brock Purdy. Purdy was the 2022 NFL Draft’s “Mr Irrelevant,” a nickname given to the last overall pick of the draft, who soared into the spotlight leading the 49ers to the NFC Championship before he was injured in the first quarter in a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. 

They brought in another major addition in 2022 when the 49ers traded for the versatile Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey, who led all running backs in rushing yards in 2023 with 1,459 yards and another 564 receiving. McCaffery’s 21 total touchdowns on the season were tied for first in the NFL and helped propel the 49ers to the NFC’s top seed.

In the divisional round of the playoffs, the 49ers were able to overcome a resurgent Green Bay Packers led by first year starting quarterback Jordan Love. An impressive late game drive by the 49ers saw Purdy completing six passes on seven attempts to help set up a game winning touchdown by Christian McCaffrey.

The NFC Championship saw the 49ers down at halftime to the Detroit Lions 24-7. Poor decision making by the Lions in the second half, along with a circus catch by 49ers receiver Brandon Aiyuk halfway through the third quarter, lit a spark for the 49ers. This helped the 49ers score 27 points in the second half to propel San Francisco to a 34-31 victory over Detroit to bring themselves to their second Super Bowl appearance in five years.

How the Chiefs got here

The Chiefs look to be treading on holy ground as they seek to be the eighth team in NFL history to win back to back Super Bowls after beating Philadelphia in Super Bowl LVII last year. If the Chiefs accomplish this feat, they would be the first team to do so in almost two decades.

Despite making the Super Bowl for the second straight season, the Chiefs had a down year compared to their 2022 season. Unable to shake off poor offensive performances late in the season, the Chiefs posted an 11-6 record after entering the bye week with a 7-2 record.

Led by the superstar duo of quarterback Patrick Mahomes and tight end Travis Kelce, the Chiefs were able to easily overcome the Miami Dolphins in a wild-card matchup that saw temperatures reach record lows in a 26-7 victory.

The divisional round matchup saw the Chiefs face conference rivals in the Buffalo Bills in a thriller that saw Kelce catch two touchdown passes. Despite heroics by Bills quarterback Josh Allen, a heartbreaking missed field goal in the last two minutes of regulation propelled the Chiefs to their sixth straight AFC Championship game.

The Chiefs know all too well what it takes to win the AFC Championship and finished business easily against a strong Baltimore Ravens team led by likely NFL MVP Lamar Jackson. Despite not scoring a single point after halftime, the Chiefs defense was able to suffocate the dynamic playstyle of Jackson in route to a 17-10 victory over the AFC’s number one seed.

Key Matchups

Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce vs 49ers linebacker Fred Warner and safeties Ji’Ayir Brown and Tashaun Gipson

Chiefs cornerback L’Jarius Sneed vs 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk

Chiefs offensive line vs 49ers defensive line

Chiefs head coach Andy Reid vs 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan


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