Superbowl LVIII: Analysis, Predictions, and Intangibles

In a few days, the NFL season culminates. The bright Las Vegas lights loom. The Las Vegas Raiders didn’t sniff the playoffs this year, but they have a gorgeous stadium, and guests from around the country and the world should enjoy their time there.

The Chiefs, the AFC Champions, will defend their Superbowl crown against the NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers. Let’s take a moment and examine this matchup.

How the 49ers Got Here

A two-year lawsuit limitations statute exists in most states, and the Detroit Lions and their fans may want to think about that. They have a limited amount of time to bring legal action against Dan Campbell for his questionable actions during the NFC title game this past weekend.

Dan Campbell and his upstart Lions team had a 17-point lead over the home team, the 49ers, at one point. They seemed to have all the momentum, and then, suddenly, everything turned on a dime. The 49ers started moving the ball and scoring on consecutive drives, and the Lions suddenly started looking mighty uncomfortable.

On two occasions, Dan Campbell elected to go for it on fourth down in situations that didn’t call for that. In one of these drives, he passed up going for a 48-yard field goal. At that distance, there’s no guarantee the team would have come away with points, but if the Lions had cashed in, that would have given them a three-score lead once again. It also would have stopped the 49er’s momentum, at least temporarily.

Alas, Dan Campbell and the Lions went for it on fourth down twice, and the home team denied them twice. The 49ers went on to win a game that a half-hour earlier it seemed inevitable they would lose. The 17-point comeback will linger in the Detroit fanbase’s collective mind during the offseason and for years. The Lions have still never made it to the Superbowl.

How the Chiefs Got Here

As for Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs, they’re the defending Superbowl champions, and they looked like it as they smothered the number one-seeded Ravens in their own building this past Sunday. The Ravens looked dominant for much of the year, especially on defense, but they seemed out of sync from the beginning against Kansas City.

To be fair, Mahomes and company do that in the playoffs in most instances. They have now appeared in six consecutive AFC title games. The last and only other team that did it? The Tom Brady-led Patriots during their dynasty years.

Baltimore scored only ten points in the AFC title game, with Lamar Jackson throwing the ball into triple coverage and turning it over during one of the game’s closing drives. He slammed his helmet down in frustration on the sidelines after doing so. It was a moment Baltimore’s fan base will also probably remember for some time to come. They came tantalizingly close, but the Chiefs in playoff mode proved unstoppable.

Who Wins Superbowl LVIII?

Some Taylor Swift fans feel her presence will propel the team toward a second consecutive Superbowl win. That would mean three rings for Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelse, Taylor’s current boyfriend.

Taylor’s presence shouldn’t make much difference, but the Chiefs should prevail, nonetheless. This matchup happened a few years ago, and Mahomes and company won their first Superbowl, and Kansas City’s first in 50 years. Now, they’re much more of a known commodity, and they’re fully capable of repeating as champions.

Travis Kelce caught a touchdown in the AFC title game and racked up over 100 yards, and a repeat performance seems likely. Jared Goff and the Lions shredded the 49er’s secondary in the NFC title game’s first half before San Francisco bore down and started getting stops. This shouldn’t be a high-scoring game, but the Chiefs and their surgical aerial assault should win the day.

A 49er’s victory certainly isn’t impossible, but it seems more likely that a late-game Brock Purdy interception seals this one. Purdy has some great weapons in Christian McCaffrey, Brandon Aiyuk, and Deebo Samuel, but Steve Spagnuolo and the Kansas City defense can make a lot of quarterbacks look pedestrian.

Purdy might have a slightly more impressive cast around him, but trusting the team with Patrick Mahomes under center makes much more sense. He’s been here before, and he’s still only in his twenties. Look for the State Farm spokesman to walk away with his third ring, probably not the last of his career.