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The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

OPINION: The 49ers defense will lead the team to Super Bowl victory

The+Chiefs+take+on+the+49ers+in+Las+Vegas+for+Super+Bowl+LVIII.
Adam Marotta
The Chiefs take on the 49ers in Las Vegas for Super Bowl LVIII.

This Sunday is Super Bowl LVIII between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers. This is a rematch of Super Bowl LIV in 2020 where the Chiefs won 31-20, scoring 21 unanswered points in the 4th quarter. 49ers coach, Kyle Shanahan, and company will get a chance at redemption this year.  

In past years, the Chiefs have won off the strength of their offense and the greatness of Patrick Mahomes, their quarterback. This year has been a different story, with the Chiefs offense ranked 15th in total points scored. Instead, it’s the defense that has shined, ranking second in total points allowed this season. The Chiefs also held the second-ranked Dolphins offense to seven points and the fourth-ranked Ravens offense to 10 points in this playoff run.

The only thing that seems to be working for the Chiefs offense is tight end Travis Kelce. He has had 70 or more receiving yards in every game this playoffs and had 116 receiving yards and a touchdown against Baltimore. Shutting him down will be the key for the 49ers defense.

The 49ers have been terrific on both sides of the ball this year, ranking third in points scored and third in points allowed. More specifically on the offensive side of the ball, their rushing attack ranks third in total yards and first in touchdowns scored. The Chiefs defense, while stellar this year, has struggled against the run, ranking 18th in total yards allowed on the ground

Given that the Chiefs have been shown to struggle against the run, I expect Christian McCaffrey to have a big game. The 49ers running back was a first-team All-Pro selection who led the league in rushing yards and scored 14 touchdowns. All this success led to McCaffery being an MVP candidate, and he has not slowed down in the playoffs. In the 49ers playoff run, he has scored at least two touchdowns in each game.

The Chiefs defense will have to find a way to slow him down. A big piece to slowing him down will be Chiefs defensive lineman, Chris Jones. Leading the Chiefs in tackles for loss and sacks, Jones was a first-team All-Pro selection and a force on the defensive end. While he spent the regular season in opposing offense’s backfields, in the postseason Jones has not recorded a tackle for loss and only has half a sack. Even though Jones’ impact has been felt without filling up the stat sheet, he will need to turn it up a notch and have some production in the Super Bowl if the Chiefs have any hope of stopping McCaffery and the 49ers. 

A massive surprise for the 49ers offense over the past two seasons has been Brock Purdy, their young quarterback. Purdy was the very last pick in the 2022 NFL draft, coming out of Iowa State. He massively over-performed expectations in his rookie year. He has led the 49ers to the conference championship both years he has been in the league and this will be his first Super Bowl appearance. 

Purdy has to take care of the ball and convert some long third downs for the 49ers to come out on top. Last week against Detroit, Purdy led a 17-point comeback while throwing for 267 yards and a touchdown. However, he did have a bad interception, which cannot happen against the Chiefs. The 49ers have to lean on the rush and cannot be playing from behind and put in a position where they have to make many pass attempts.

The Chiefs offense will have too many problems with the four-front defense the 49ers run as throwing the ball will not be as effective against it. Not to mention the 49ers have the perfect linebacker to shadow Kelce in Fred Warner. If you’re counting out Mahomes at this point though, you’re crazy. He will be able to keep the game close and if that is the case, I think the 49ers will be able to lean on McCaffery and run the ball. If they can do this, the 49ers will win the game and McCaffery will win the Super Bowl MVP.

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