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The majority of our trio is backing the underdog, and the argument boils down to the fact thatas Sobleski points out”the Chiefs have the best player in the game, but the 49ers are the better overall team.”
“Basically,” he added, “San Fransisco must realize Patrick Mahomes will make plays. It’s inevitable. At the same time, San Francisco is best suited to limit those opportunities with the game’s deepest defensive front and the NFL’s best pass defense. The 49ers have an advantage since their defensive line is far more talented than Kansas City’s offensive interior. If San Francisco collapses the pocket while maintaining contain, Mahomes won’t be nearly as effective.”
And as Davenport explained, San Francisco’s stacked defense could be the difference.
“This is a tale of strength against strengthMahomes, Tyreek Hill and a loaded Kansas City offense against DeForest Buckner, Nick Bosa, Richard Sherman and a stacked San Francisco defense,” he said. “Mahomes and Co. will get theirshe’s just too dynamic to shut down completely. But more than once in the history of the Super Bowl we’ve seen the league’s best offense and best defense lock horns. Usually, the defense prevailssee Seahawks vs. Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII. They don’t say ‘defense wins championships’ for nothing. San Francisco will make the play on that side of the ball that wins the day.”
Gagnon begs to differ.
“Five of the last nine Super Bowl winners surrendered 24 or more points in the process of securing the Vince Lombardi Trophy,” he said. “These things are track meets more than ever, and nobody is better in that environment than the Chiefs, who have scored 86 points in their last seven quarters of playoff football. I know the 49ers defense is a new challenge, but Mahomes is playing a level above everybody in this game. And with two weeks to prepare for an opponent, Andy Reid is 22-5. I’m taking the team that has the better quarterback and the more experienced head coach in a close one.”
For those considering following Gagnon, it’s worth pointing out that he ran away with the picks title this season, and that those picking against the majority as lone wolves are 81-68-3 on the year.
But few would argue with the notion that the 49ers are deeper and more broadly talented. And while the Chiefs have won both of their playoff games by double-digit margins, they also fell behind by double digits in both outings. Against a San Francisco team that has generated five takeaways and nine sacks in two three-score, wire-to-wire postseason blowouts, Kansas City can’t afford another slow start.
But with that possibility, our guys are leaning in the 49ers’ direction.
Davenport: 49ers 33, Chiefs 31
Gagnon: Chiefs 27, 49ers 24
Sobleski: 49ers 31, Chiefs 28
Consensus: San Francisco (+1.5)
Score Prediction: 49ers 28, Chiefs 27
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