On Sunday at 6:30 p.m. ET, the Kansas City Chiefs face the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. Here’s why Kansas City will win its third championship in five years.
Patrick Mahomes is chasing Tom Brady — and motivated
At 28, Mahomes already has 14 playoff wins, tied for third all-time behind Brady and Hall of Famer Joe Montana, per CBS Sports. However, he insists he’s not focused on comparisons between himself and Brady — a seven-time Super Bowl champion.
“I mean, I’m not even close to halfway, so I haven’t put a lot of thought into it,” the two-time MVP said Monday, via The Athletic’s Vic Tafur. “And then if you ask me that question in 15 years, and I’ll see if I can get close to seven. But seven seems like a long ways away still.”
While Mahomes is far from threatening Brady’s record, the two-time Super Bowl champion will join rare company if the Chiefs beat the Niners. Only four quarterbacks have three or more rings (Brady, Montana, Terry Bradshaw and Troy Aikman).
Tight end Travis Kelce is back
During the regular season, the star tight end failed to reach 1,000 receiving yards for the first time in eight seasons. He’s rebounded in the playoffs, though, as he has the second-most receiving yards (262) and is tied for the most receiving TDs (three).
Kansas City can become the seventh team to win back-to-back Super Bowls. Kelce acknowledged this gives him more motivation.
On Monday, he told the media, “I want to win this Super Bowl more than I’ve ever wanted a Super Bowl in my life.”
In Super Bowl LVII against the Eagles, he led the team in receiving with 81 yards and a TD on six receptions. Expect him to turn in another excellent performance.
Chris Jones will exploit 49ers offensive line
Still, the All-Pro defensive tackle could exploit San Francisco’s shaky pass protection. Per Pro Football Focus, 49ers QB Brock Purdy has been pressured on 39 percent of his dropbacks, well above the league average. Jones, meanwhile, has the fourth-most pressures (85) in the league.
Don’t be surprised if Jones is one of the biggest difference-makers for the Chiefs and rattles the 24-year-old.
Unexpected hero: WR Rashee Rice
The rookie out of SMU has emerged as one of Kansas City’s top playmakers. According to CBS Sports, the 55th pick of the 2023 NFL Draft has 223 receiving yards in the postseason, the fourth-most by a rookie in playoff history.
On Wednesday, Mahomes indicated Rice is on the verge of stardom, saying, “He can continue to get better and be one of the top receivers in the league.”
Per StatMuse, Mahomes has thrown for 4,802 yards (282.5 YPG) and 39 touchdowns in 17 postseason games. Expect Kansas City to air it out, meaning Rice could have a massive impact.
PREDICTION: Chiefs 27, 49ers 24