The San Francisco 49ers have punched their ticket to Super Bowl LVIII, a rematch against the Kansas City Chiefs. If you went to X at any point during the first half, you’d have seen at least one fan calling it a season.
A touchdown comeback against the Green Bay Packers and a 17-point comeback against the Detroit Lions are two different things. If you knew the 49ers would come back in the second half, well, you’re a better liar than I am.
The Kansas City Chiefs didn’t light up the Baltimore Ravens defense with oodles of points. 17 total, actually. But that was all that was needed from that script as the Ravens kept shooting themselves in the foot. Many thought the AFC Championship would be the game of the day, and the 49ers-Lions couldn’t follow it. If you ask me, the 49ers-Lions game was much more entertaining.
Oddsmakers have made the Super Bowl almost a pick ‘em. The 49ers opened up as 1.5-point favorites at Draft Kings Sportsbook with the game set at 47.5. So, at least as of Sunday evening, we’re looking at a projection of something like 24-23 49ers.
Shortly after the 1.5 points — it was actually 2.5 — the number went to 1 point within an hour. I wouldn’t be surprised if this started swinging the Chiefs’ direction more as the two weeks leading up to Super Bowl Sunday go on.
The Chiefs have a chance to be the first post-New England Patriots dynasty and win back-to-back Super Bowl titles, which hasn’t been done since the 2004 season. They are a much different team in 2023 than they have been in the season prior, and obviously even more different than their Super Bowl LIV encounter with the 49ers. The Chiefs won that game 31-20.
The 49ers were in the opposite position in Super Bowl LIV, where the Chiefs were favored by 1.5 points a few hours before kickoff at several betting sites. The number fluctuated slightly, but that was pretty much dependent on where the money was rolling in.
Being down 17 points to Jared Goff outdoors and down 17 points to Patrick Mahomes are two completely different situations. If the 49ers want a chance at this, they’ll need to either hold a lead—something they failed at last time they were in the Super Bowl—or we’ll see if Brock Purdy is capable of going strike-for-strike with Mahomes.
The latter is a feat asking a lot out of Brock Purdy, who, after the NFC Championship, should be regarded as a top-10 quarterback at least.
Heading into the Super Bowl, this is almost like a pick ‘em. Patrick Mahomes has had dirt shoveled on him all season by several due to his miscues with receivers and other bad luck befalling the Chiefs in the regular season. Despite that, he and the Chiefs’ defense managed to make Lamar Jackson look ordinary.
The Chiefs went on the road after beating the Miami Dolphins, and Mahomes hasn’t thrown a single interception the entire postseason. In the AFC Championship against the Baltimore Ravens, Mahomes went 30-39 (76.9 completion percentage), 241 yards and a touchdown. It seems somewhat pedestrian for the Chiefs, but the Ravens offense kept shooting itself in the foot with bad decisions by quarterback Lamar Jackson.
Mahomes’ completion percentage the entire postseason is roughly 67 percent, and four touchdowns total.
If you didn’t see the NFC Championship, no one would blame you for being skeptical of the 49ers in the Super Bowl. Now that we know the resiliency of this team and how Brock Purdy can play from behind, a Super Bowl win is a possibility, even if he were to fall behind by 10-ish points. But playing their C-game in the first half and coming back is a huge task for any team in this situation.