Super Bowl 58 is just a few days away. In a rematch of Super Bowl 54, do the teams stack up similarly to how they did a few seasons ago? The Kansas City Chiefs can become the first Super Bowl champions to repeat since the 2003-2004 New England Patriots. They've had to go the long way through the NFL playoffs to make their fourth Super Bowl game in five seasons.
The 49ers earned the No. 1 seed in the NFC and have taken down the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions en route to their second Super Bowl appearance since 2019. While the teams are the same, how much different are their rosters?
Super Bowl 58: Which team should be seen as the favorite?
I think the two most obvious differences is the QB situation for the San Francisco 49ers and the below-average Kansas City Chiefs pass-catchers. Back in 2019, the 49ers were able to field one of the best defenses and rushing attacks in the NFL, which kind of carried Jimmy Garopplo to the Super Bowl.
While Garoppolo was efficient, he was clearly very limited as a passer. Enter, Brock Purdy, who was an MVP candidate for most of 2023. It's clear that Purdy is a much better QB that Garoppolo ever was in SF. Purdy is a better passer and his legs are an underrated part of his game. I do think that could be a huge difference in the 49ers potentially winning.
If Purdy can make enough plays with his legs, the Niners could inch this one out. Their core of players who were there in 2019 are actually quite similar. Two big-time players who were not there in 2019 are Brandon Aiyuk and Christian McCaffrey, two elite weapons. Do the Chiefs have enough on defense to try and limit the core of Aiyuk, McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, and George Kittle?
On the other side, the Chiefs do have a bit of a problem with their pass catchers, however, Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid have been able to overcome those deficiencies. The Baltimore Ravens defense held the Chiefs to 17 points, and 0 in the second half. The Chiefs scored 14 points in the second half of their AFC Divisional matchup, and 10 points in their Wild Card matchup.
They're averaging eight second-half points thus far in the postseason. I do think them not having Tyreek Hill and having a physically declining Travis Kelce is a huge reason for that. As for the 49ers, they allowed 15 second-half points to the Packers in the Divisional Round and seven points to the Lions in the Championship Round. The Niners defense is allowing 11 points in the second half during their playoff run.
Anyway, I do think this game has the potential to really open up and be a shootout, but both teams' defenses are elite, and a lower-scoring game seems very possible. When you look at each roster, the 49ers have a clear advantage. They are fierce along the defensive line and have two riduculously talented backers in Dre Greenlaw and Fred Warner.
However, the Chiefs interior offensive line is the best in the NFL, so that could nullify the Niners tough defensive line. I don't think either team should be viewed as a favorite by more than five points or so. There's a reason why nearly every Super Bowl is an extremely close game. My brain tells me that the Chiefs are going to win. But everything else leads me to believe that the 49ers are going to win.