Mahomes vs. Purdy in Las Vegas—who wins?

By on February 9, 2024

(Patrick Mahomes photo credit: Andrew Mather/Chiefs.com and Brock Purdy photo credit: TerrellLloyd/49ers)

By Aaron Jurkowitz | Outer Banks Voice

It’s that time of year for the biggest television event in America, the Super Bowl, this time between the 49ers and Chiefs. I have to start with the elephant in the room, pop superstar Taylor Swift, who is dating star Chiefs Tight End Travis Kelce. Taylor Swift will be at the game even though she has a performance in Tokyo on the day before the Superbowl.

An interesting tidbit is that on Feb. 2, 2020, the Chiefs and 49ers played against each other in the Superbowl. At that time Baltimore Ravens Quarterback Lamar Jackson won the MVP Award and Joe Biden and Donald Trump faced off in the presidential election. Fast forward to Feb. 10, 2024, and the Chiefs and 49ers are playing each other in the Superbowl, Lamar Jackson just won his second MVP award, and Trump vs Biden is happening again for the presidential election.

To paraphrase Dr. Doofenshmirtz: If I had a nickel for every time the Chiefs played the 49ers in the Superbowl, Lamar won MVP, and Trump and Biden faced off in a presidential election all at the same time, I’d have two nickels—which isn’t a lot, but it’s weird that it happened twice.

But now it’s time to get serious.

The 49ers

The 49ers have been contending for a championship dating back to the 2019 season when they lost a heartbreaker in the Superbowl to the Chiefs by blowing a 20-10 fourth-quarter lead. Since then, it feels like they have always been on the verge of a Superbowl, but just haven’t won it.

Head Coach Kyle Shanahan is potentially the most important football figure of the 2020s. His offensive system has spread through the league and includes Dolphins Head Coach Mike McDaniel and Bobby Slowik, the Texans Offensive Coordinator. Yet he still doesn’t have a ring. (Notably, Shanahan helped blow a 28-3 lead to the Patriots in the 2017 Superbowl as the Falcons offensive coordinator.)

But there is something different about the 49ers’ offense this time—Brock Purdy. While Purdy lacks eye-popping talent and is clearly a product of the weapons the Niners have and Shanahan’s system, he is better than their last Superbowl quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, and has some mobility when plays break down, unlike Garoppolo, who was a complete statue.

This Niners offense is loaded with star Tight End George Kittle, a wide receiver duo consisting of Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel, maybe the best offensive lineman in football Trent Williams, and of course, Christian McCaffrey (just named NFL Offensive Player of the Year)—by far the best running back in all of football.

The defense has had some ups and downs this year, but it is led by the best linebacker in football in Fred Warner and an elite edge rusher in Nick Bosa. They’ve had a rocky postseason so far, barely squeaking out a win against the seventh-seeded Packers in the divisional round and then coming back from a 24-7 halftime deficit against the Lions in the NFC Championship game.

No doubt, the Niners have the star power on both sides of the ball to beat anybody. The team and Shanahan desperately need to break through and win the Superbowl because you never know if they’ll get another chance like this again.

The Chiefs

Frankly, the 2023 Kansas City Chiefs are a weird team. Their usually high-scoring offense is led by the undisputed best player in football, quarterback Patrick Mahomes, one of the top five offensive minds in NFL history in Head Coach Andy Reid, and a consensus top five tight end in Travis Kelce. But earlier in the year, the lack of wide receivers was apparent. The offense seemed out of sync and things seemed especially bleak after a 20-14 loss to the Raiders on Christmas Day, when the Raiders defense scored two touchdowns.

But the one thing that is different about this year’s Chiefs team is their defense. Led by defensive guru Steve Spagnuolo, it is anchored by star defensive lineman Chris Jones and star cornerbacks Trent McDuffie and L’Jarius Sneed. For the first time in the Mahomes era, the Chiefs had to play a road playoff game. They ended up going 2-0 in those games. The defense certainly showed up, holding the explosive Dolphins offense to 7 points (granted it was -30 degrees with wind chill), making multiple key fourth quarter stops against the Bills and superstar quarterback Josh Allen, and holding now two-time MVP winner Lamar Jackson and the Ravens offense to only 10 points.

In addition, the offense—specifically the wide receivers and Travis Kelce—have stepped up big time in the postseason. This is Mahomes’ fourth trip to the Superbowl, having won two so far, and he’s still only 28 years old. It’s a longshot, but there is a chance he could give Tom Brady a run for his money for the quarterback GOAT title. In this Superbowl, the Chiefs are playing with house money. At times this season, very few expected them to make it to the Superbowl. But they’re here again, and no matter what happens, they turned their season around.

 

The Winner

No matter who wins, it will be an incredibly close game and I lean towards the Chiefs. The 49ers have been playing with fire all postseason with teams that are clearly not on their level. But if they play like that against Patrick Mahomes and this Chiefs defense, they’ll be in trouble. The 49ers’ defense has also looked shaky this postseason, which could be exploited by Mahomes and company. And the Chiefs do have the play caller and personnel on defense to give this 49ers offense trouble.

The main reason I’m picking the Chiefs is the Purdy vs. Mahomes matchup. Purdy has had some less than stellar moments this postseason, with some dropped interceptions. If the Chiefs convert on those, which the Packers and Lions didn’t, that could be the difference in this game.

Final score prediction — Chiefs 24, 49ers- 21

 



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