The Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs need no introduction. Since Patrick Mahomes made his first NFL start, the Chiefs are 73-22 in the regular season and 14-3 in the playoffs. Kansas City has been to six straight AFC Championship games, winning four of those games along with two Super Bowls.
Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce are among the greatest of all time at their respective positions with each passing week, and in case you haven’t seen, Kelce is dating the world’s biggest pop star.
It is easy to point to the many reasons why Kansas City will win Sunday. The Chiefs have been to the Big Game in the past, even beating the 49ers in Super Bowl 54. Mahomes is by far the best in the sport, regardless of position, and his defense has played phenomenally in the playoffs, holding Lamar Jackson to just 10 points in the AFC Championship game.
There is more to look at than just Kansas City’s personnel and some of the data points that favor it over San Fransico in preparation for Super Bowl Sunday. With the rise of advanced stats in recent years, data that takes a deeper dive into why the Chiefs are successful is more available.
After Mahomes posted his highest interception and second-lowest passing yard totals of his career during the regular season, the two-time MVP has stepped up his game to new levels in this year’s postseason. Expected points added, or EPA, gives insight into how many points a quarterback adds to his team per dropback. Mahomes ranked 10th in the statistic with a regular season .07 EPA per dropback. In the playoffs, that number has quadrupled to a staggering .28 EPA per dropback.
The improvement of Mahomes’ stats comes at the right time for the Chiefs, who have made their fourth Super Bowl of the Mahomes era despite having the worst regular season record since Mahomes took over. Additionally, they have had to go on the road to Buffalo and Baltimore in the last two weeks to make it back to the biggest stage. The Divisional game in Buffalo was the first non-Super Bowl playoff game on the road that Mahomes has played in his career.
49ers quarterback Brock Purdy finished the regular season leading all quarterbacks in various statistics such as passer rating, EPA per dropback and total quarterback EPA. However, since the postseason has begun, Purdy’s EPA per dropback has been cut drastically, going from .26 EPA per dropback in the regular season to just .12 EPA per dropback.
It has been shown time and time again that quarterback play wins Super Bowls, and Purdy’s play as of late has not been elite, especially when compared to Mahomes’ goliath numbers on the other sideline.
For the defensive side of the ball, both teams are neck and neck in many categories, but Kansas City has the edge. Kansas City led the league in sacks this season and finished second in points allowed and second in yards allowed. In the playoffs so far, the Chiefs have allowed 11 fewer points than the 49ers even though they played an extra game. The Chiefs' defense is red hot right now, coming off an all-time performance against the Ravens in the AFC Championship game. Kansas City forced three turnovers, four sacks and held Baltimore to just 3-11 on third down.
The 49ers on the other hand are coming off an NFC Championship game that saw the Lions outgain the 49ers while putting up 31 points on them as well.
Super Bowl 58 is going to be a great match-up, but the two teams are coming into the game playing different types of football. Kansas City has been the better team since the postseason started, and I expect the trends to continue with Kansas City winning its third Super Bowl in five years.
Score Prediction: Kansas City 27, San Francisco 17
Charlie Fadel is a freshman studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to share your thoughts? Let Charlie know by emailing or tweeting him at @CharlieFadel or email@example.com.