Meridian High School Student Newspaper - The Lasso

The Lasso

Meridian High School Student Newspaper - The Lasso

The Lasso

Meridian High School Student Newspaper - The Lasso

The Lasso

Super Bowl LVIII rundown and predictions

The Lombardi Trophy is presented to the winner of each year’s Super Bowl. This trophy was presented to the San Francisco 49ers for defeating the Cincinnati Bengals 26-21 in Super Bowl XVI. (Photo by Jay Peeples)

The Super Bowl. The finale of every NFL season. This year, more so than other years, has proven to be a challenge for a number of teams. Few have overcome trials and tribulations, and those few teams are the last ones standing. The Kansas City Chiefs, reigning Super Bowl champions, will look to defend their crown against the challenging San Francisco 49ers. A rematch of Super Bowl LIV, the 49ers will be determined not to fall to Patrick Mahomes’s Chiefs and come out on top of this heavyweight bout. This game has all the ingredients of an instant classic. 

Let’s begin by looking back on the road these two teams took to wind up playing for the Lombardi Trophy. The San Francisco 49ers had a relatively smooth path through their season, apart from a three game losing streak midseason. They ultimately finished with a 13-4 record and the No.1 seed in the National Football Conference (NFC), were squeaked by the Packers in the divisional round, and overcame a 17 point deficit against the Detroit Lions in the NFC Championship.

The Kansas City Chiefs, on the other hand, have experienced many twists and turns on their way to the Super Bowl. Starting with their narrow loss to the Detroit Lions in the season-opening game 21-20, the loss was simply a precursor for the problems the Chiefs would need to overcome. Their pass catchers all regressed from last year, most notably, wide receiver Kadarius Toney. His costly drop gifted the Lions a pick-6 in a game decided by one point. They had an inconsistent regular season, with some excellent performances, some mediocre games, and some downright embarrassing games. The epitome of their offensive struggles came in Week 17. A 20-14 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders at home, in which the Raiders scored two defensive touchdowns and didn’t complete a single pass on offense after the first quarter. The Chiefs fell to 9-6 on the year, and had the whole league wondering where their juggernaut offense had disappeared to. The Chiefs limped into the playoffs at 11-6, a far cry from their expectations. 

A dominant 26-7 win over the Miami Dolphins in the freezing cold at Arrowhead Stadium raised their spirits. A ridiculously lucky 27-24 win over the Buffalo Bills, where the Bills kicker missed an easy field goal to tie the game, sent the Chiefs to the American Football Conference (AFC) Championship. The Chiefs then punched their ticket to the Super Bowl with a 17-10 win over the Baltimore Ravens, completing a miraculous return to the Super Bowl after a dismal end to their regular season.

How do these teams match up against each other?

Both teams’ defenses are elite. The Chiefs’s defense has allowed the 2nd fewest Yards Per Game (YPG), while the 49ers defense allows the eighth fewest. The Chiefs’s defense has the edge in pass defense. During the season, they were ranked fourth best while the 49ers were ranked 14th best. Contrastingly, the 49ers have a massive advantage in run defense, as they rank third best, while the Chiefs clock in at a lowly 17th. The teams are very close in average points allowed, the Chiefs allowing 17.3 Points Per Game (PPG), and the 49ers allowing 17.5 PPG. It’s tough to tell which teams’ defense will be more effective, but the best running back in the NFL, Christian McCaffery, will likely exploit the Chiefs’s defensive weakness in the run game. He very well could be the deciding factor in this game, as so much of San Francisco’s offense revolves around McCaffery. 

Another key offensive player the Chiefs will look to contain is 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel. His versatile playing style has been vital to the 49ers’s offensive scheme. While his stats are not mind-blowing, the 49ers saw little success while Samuel was inactive. The 49ers have not won a game without Samuel, going 0-4 while Samuel was out and 14-1 with Samuel playing.

While the 49ers have many players that the Chiefs will need to be aware of on both sides of the ball, the Chiefs are no slouches when it comes to star power either. A dangerous offense led by already legendary QB Patrick Mahomes, one of the best tight ends of all time, Travis Kelce, and a powerful running back in Isaiah Pacheco. Their defense, however, is not heavy on name value, but instead is loaded with depth and many young, promising players. Cornerbacks L’Jarius Sneed and Trent McDuffie will be very important for the Chiefs as they will be matching up against wide receivers Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel in almost every play.

The game will ultimately come down to which team runs the ball more effectively. Both teams have elite offensive lines as well as very good running backs. I expect the 49ers to have the edge in the run game. So that should mean the 49ers win the game, right? Not exactly. Unfortunately for many football fans, questionable and controversial referees have become somewhat of a difference maker for Kansas City, especially in the postseason. Some examples of games that could’ve had a drastically different outcome, had the referees been less biased towards the Chiefs are : 2022 AFC Conference Championship vs. Cincinnati Bengals, 2023 AFC Divisional Round vs. Buffalo Bills, 2023 AFC Championship vs. Baltimore Ravens, and of course, Super Bowl LVII vs. Philadelphia Eagles. Plenty of these games could have been won had the opposing team played better, however, if the referees had been more fair, the games would have been a lot closer, most likely resulting in the Chiefs losing the game. 

I expect the referees to play a big role in Super Bowl LVIII, and their role will win the Chiefs the game in a very tight contest. 

My prediction: Kansas City Chiefs score 30, San Francisco 49ers scoring 28. I also expect this to be an all-time classic that will be ruined by subpar officiating, much like the previous Super Bowl. Nonetheless, this win will make it clear that Kansas City Chiefs’s dynasty is well and truly upon us, and with superstar QB Patrick Mahomes and head coach Taylor Swift (apparently not the head coach, wonder why they show her on TV during the games so much?), will look to continue their dominant show of form that we’ve become all-too familiar with these past few years.    

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About the Contributor
Dino Simcox
Dino Simcox, Staff Writer
Dino sophomore on his first year writing for The Lasso. Dino loves playing football and watching superhero movies. He likes writing about topics that he is involved in and interest him, and always tries to keep things interesting because he loses focus very easily.