Super Bowl preview

February 8, 2024

By Isaac Bourne, Sports Editor

With the Super Bowl coming in just a few days and big-name celebrities taking up all the headlines for the event, it might be hard to tell who actually has the upper hand going into the illustrious Sunday on Feb. 11. Luckily, The Signal has you covered with Super Bowl predictions and analysis of the teams leading up to the big day.

San Francisco 49ers

With all the buzz about the Chiefs, many fans have thought of this 49er squad as the underdogs going into the game, but with one of the most stacked rosters in the NFL, they are far from what many would call an underdog

Headlining this team is star running back Christian McCaffrey, who sits at first in the league in rushing yards by a wide margin with 1,459 yards gained on the ground this season. The first-team all-pro selection has been electric in his first full season with the team and has heavily benefited from an offense that emphasizes the rushing attack.

In the receiving game, the Kansas City defense will have its hands full with the dual-headed spear of Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel. Aiyuk has been one of the premier receivers in the NFL this year, finishing seventh in the league in receiving yards, whereas Samuel’s unique ability to affect the game on the ground and in the air has bewildered defenses all season, giving Chiefs coach Andy Reid much to fret about heading into Sunday.

Defensively, no team is more elite on that side of the ball than the 49ers led by defensive ends Nick Bosa and Chase Young along with linebackers Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw. This lethal defensive unit has allowed just 298 points to opposing offenses this season, and with the Chiefs being an offense-heavy team, it just adds another advantage to this 49er squad.

Lastly stands the leader of the San Francisco offense, Brock Purdy. Last season, the former Mr. Irrelevant (last pick in the NFL draft) was thrust into a starting role in his rookie year with the 49ers after losing their first and second string quarterbacks. Now, a season removed from his 2023 NFC championship run that ended with his injury, a healthy Purdy looks to finish the job he started last year. Purdy’s passing ability has fit perfectly into head coach Kyle Shanahan’s scheme, and while many call him a “system QB,” the second-year quarterback looks to silence critics with a sophomore season Super Bowl.

Kansas City Chiefs

Paul Rudd has been a big factor in this team’s success this season, and many are hoping that he will make an appearance at the big game. 

With that out of the way, the Kansas City Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes have a chance to cement themselves into history alongside other successful NFL dynasties with a win Sunday night. Mahomes, who is 28 years old, will be playing in his fourth Super Bowl in just his sixth season as a full-time starter for the Chiefs. What makes that even more impressive is his 14-3 career playoff record as a starter, placing him third all-time in playoff wins before he even turns 30. Another win this year just adds to what is objectively the most impressive career resumé since Tom Brady.

As for the rest of the team, Mahomes is not going into this game without any help. The headlining star behind the quarterback has been his main connection, Travis Kelce. Kelce, who is touted by many as one of the greatest receiving tight ends in NFL history, goes into this game after an impressive playoffs to this point. The 34-year-old posted 116 receiving yards in the Chiefs’ win over the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship game, being a main reason why his team came out on top in that contest.

On defense, Kansas City boasts the second-best defense in the entire league, allowing just 289.8 yards per game to opposing offenses this season. All-pro defensive tackle Chris Jones takes his place on the front line as he has in every Chiefs Super Bowl this decade, while all-pro cornerback Trent McDuffie and L’Jarius Sneed head up one of the most underrated secondaries in the league. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has transformed what used to be a liability for the Chiefs in past years to a bonafide weapon that the 49ers offense will need to come prepared for in Super Bowl 58.

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