By Allyn Tucker
Boston University News Service
In the ultimate show of football, the Kansas City Chiefs face the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII to see who will lift the Lombardi Trophy on the final night of the NFL season. The most popular event in America kicks off tonight, complete with two teams full of history and success.
Both teams reached the Super Bowl, a rematch of the game’s LIV edition, by winning their respective conference championship games. The Chiefs are atop the AFC once again after defeating the Baltimore Ravens 17-10 in their sixth straight conference championship, and the 49ers took down the feel-good team of the season, the Detroit Lions, 34-31 in the largest comeback in conference championship history.
The 49ers, who are favored slightly to lift the trophy, have a team full of game changers and have been consistently good all season. Their starting offense is a safe bet to be successful, with Brock Purdy at the wheel as quarterback and an impressive lineup including Geoge Kittle, Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk.
On defense, the 49ers will depend on defensive lineman Nick Bosa, who has recorded 10 sacks in 11 playoff games. Bosa’s matchup with quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who has only been sacked twice in this year’s playoffs with both coming against the Ravens, will likely be a deciding factor in the game’s outcome. The rest of the 49ers defensive line, who has been consistent yet predictable throughout the season, needs to improve their yards given up per game, as they currently rank sixth among the eight playoff teams that played in at least two games this postseason.
The Chiefs, on the other hand, have placed great responsibility on their young defense as they figured out their offensive struggles throughout the regular season. After dropping a pair of games in December, the team has been working to find offensive consistency. During the playoffs, however, the Chiefs are never to be counted out. Mahomes continues to connect well with tight end Travis Kelce, whose performance in the playoffs has been much improved compared to the season. Rookie wide receiver Rasheed Rice has also proved to be a player with a bright future in Kansas City.
Coming up against the offense who led the league in yards per carry on zone runs during the regular season, the Chiefs defense will focus heavily on the run game in the upcoming game. The defensive line is ranked 31st against the zone run over the course of the regular season, so that matchup is one to be looking out for.
If Kansas City pulls off their third Super Bowl win in the past six seasons, the same number that Mahomes has led the team, it is widely considered that they will solidify their legacy as an NFL dynasty.
Fans can catch Super Bowl LVIII, live in Las Vegas, on CBS or streaming on Paramount+, Fubo, Hulu + Live TV and NFL+. The game kicks off tonight at 6:30 p.m ET.