We are just over 48 hours away from Super Bowl LVIII. The Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers spent the week in Las Vegas in preparation to take home the Lombardi Trophy tomorrow night at Allegiant Stadium.
One question remains after five days of media availability: Who will win?
Pro Football Network’s staff of experts make their Super Bowl picks.
Pro Football Network’s Super Bowl LVIII Picks
Both teams are no strangers to recent postseason success. The defending champion Chiefs won two road games this year to make their fourth Super Bowl in the past five seasons. San Francisco proved its doubters wrong with two come-from-behind victories, including a 21-point deficit in the NFC Championship for their second chance at the Lombardi in five years.
As the No. 1 seed from the NFC, the 49ers are slight favorites, but Patrick Mahomes has seen this script before as the Chiefs were 1.5-point underdogs last year.
San Francisco 49ers vs. Kansas City Chiefs Odds
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49ers -121, Chiefs -105
Matt Cannata, Chief Executive Officer
Both teams are evenly matched, and both teams do really good things on offense and defense. However, Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has put on a masterclass in the playoffs on how to stop potent offenses, starting with the Dolphins, then the Bills, and then the Ravens.
The blueprint from the Chiefs’ game against the Dolphins is in place, and it will likely be used in a similar fashion against the 49ers because Miami and San Francisco run the same style of offense.
Because the Chiefs are familiar with defending that system (facing Miami twice this season and Green Bay once), I’m giving the edge to Kansas City.
Pick: Chiefs, 24-14
David Bearman, Chief Content Officer
Maybe people have learned their lesson by now: Do not bet against Patrick Mahomes in the playoffs. Even when counted out, the Chiefs and Mahomes do their thing and are in their fourth Super Bowl over the last five years, something only done by two other franchises in the Super Bowl era. Mahomes is now 10-1-1 ATS as an underdog, and he’s getting points again.
I am not betting against last year’s champs, especially now that they have another weapon — their defense. What Spagnuolo and the Chiefs’ defense did to a Ravens offense averaging 34 PPG, was tops in the NFL in rushing, and led by presumptive MVP Lamar Jackson, was nothing short of outstanding.
The Niners orchestrated two great comebacks against Green Bay in the Divisional Round and again vs. the Lions in the Conference Championship, but if that same San Francisco team we saw in the first half of both playoff games comes out in Las Vegas, the Chiefs will win easily.
Four years ago, I predicted a 31-20 Chiefs win over the Niners, and I am going back to the well with the exact same score.
Pick: Chiefs, 31-20
Mike Gambardella, NFL Deputy Editor
The 49ers have looked the part of an NFL favorite for most of the season, but can you really bet against Mahomes at this point? San Francisco has the more balanced roster through three phases, but Kansas City has looked like its old self over three postseason victories. Give me Mahomes and the Chiefs, and let the Dynasty discussion with Tom Brady and the Patriots begin!
Pick: Chiefs, 27-21
Brian Blewis, NFL Section Editor
For the fifth time in their last six playoff games, the Chiefs are underdogs in Super Bowl 58. If those games taught us anything, it is to never bet against Mahomes as an underdog, as the Chiefs won all of those contests straight up, including last year’s Super Bowl.
The 49ers were a very dominant team in 2023, but in the playoffs, it has been a completely different story. After winning 11 of 12 games by more than one score in the regular season, the 49ers have won their two playoff games by a combined six points.
While the 49ers have reached the Super Bowl after two comeback victories in a row, they can’t expect to replicate this same formula against the Chiefs. They were able to get away with it against the Packers and Lions, who were plagued by a combination of turnovers and bad play-calling, but that won’t be the case against Kansas City.
Not only will the 49ers be facing the NFL’s best quarterback, but they won’t have the luxury of going against two porous defenses like the Packers and Lions. All season long, the strength of this Chiefs team has been their defense, making this one of the more complete teams in the Mahomes era.
I’m predicting the Chiefs to win their second straight Super Bowl and third Lombardi Trophy in five years but in a very close game.
Pick: Chiefs, 24-21
Josiah Caswell, NFL Writer
The 49ers have one of the best defenses in the NFL and will most definitely want revenge on the Chiefs for their last Super Bowl appearance. Tight end George Kittle even said he’d come back with a vengeance during the 49ers loss to the Chiefs.
However, I think the Chiefs get it done, and Mahomes continues growing his legacy. The Chiefs offense this postseason has been one-of-one and has found constant success, regardless of the conditions or opponent. Even the star-studded Baltimore Ravens defense or sub-zero weather conditions against Miami weren’t enough to stop their offense.
On top of a high-level offense, the Chiefs’ defense looks like a brick wall. Whether it be the secondary or the pass rush, offenses have struggled to do almost anything against them. I think the 49ers will find some success, but not nearly enough to win the game.
Finally, in addition to all of the positives for the Chiefs, the 49ers have struggled this postseason. Both of their wins came in come-from-behind fashion against teams that aren’t on the same talent level as the 49ers. Simply, they’re just hanging on, and that won’t work against the best quarterback in the NFL, a Hall of Fame tight end, a legendary coach, and a top-three defense.
Pick: Chiefs, 31-24
Justin Hier, Copy Editor
These teams may have met in the Super Bowl four years ago, but don’t get it twisted — this is not the same matchup.
This Chiefs outfit is depleted on offense compared to the one that took down Jimmy Garoppolo and his 49ers to secure Mahomes’ first Lombardi Trophy. Though, to be fair, Mahomes has shown this postseason that he can get it done with just about anyone out there catching passes (rookie WR Rashee Rice’s development in that department has certainly helped).
Meanwhile, the 49ers are more potent on offense this time around. Call him a game manager, call him a product of the system, call him whatever you want — Brock Purdy is that dude, and the ceiling of San Francisco’s offense is far higher with him at the controls than it ever was with Jimmy G under center. Just look at this year’s NFC Championship Game win over the Detroit Lions for evidence.
Sure, Detroit’s repeated second-half mistakes and bouts of bad luck helped, but a Garoppolo-led 49ers outfit was never coming back from a 17-point deficit under the bright lights against a great team. Purdy has the moxie to claw his way back, something that you couldn’t say about his predecessor.
So am I picking the 49ers? No. I’m still rolling with Mahomes and Co. Emphasis on the Co., because it’s Spagnuolo’s defense that’s the difference-maker in my pick here. Spags’ unit is on a tear at just the right time, having stymied two of the league’s hottest teams in consecutive weeks this postseason (not to mention KC’s manhandling of the Miami Dolphins in the Wild Card Round). It should be close, but I’m going with Lombardi No. 3 for Mahomes and Andy Reid.
Pick: Chiefs, 27-23
Jason Katz, Fantasy and Betting Analyst
This game is sure to be to close and faces two very evenly matched teams. Yet, it’s been all Chiefs for the PFN staff … and I’m not about to change that.
Are the 49ers the better team? Yes. But so were the Ravens and the Bills. So far, the only teams able to defeat Mahomes in the playoffs were led by Tom Brady and Joe Burrow. At this point, I am going to just not bet against Mahomes unless I believe the quarterback is even remotely close to his level. Purdy is better than he gets credit for, but Brady or Burrow, he is not.
Pick: Chiefs, 23-20
Ben Rolfe, Deputy Editor of Fantasy and Sports Betting
When you look at the final score from last time around, you could be forgiven for thinking it was a one-sided affair. However, that was not the case, as the Chiefs scored 21 straight points to close out the game and flip a 20-10 deficit into a 31-20 victory. I expect a similarly tight tussle this time around between two teams that have a lot of talent on both sides of the ball.
You can never count the Chiefs out, but there is every chance this game comes down to who has the ball last, making the final score hard to predict. From a betting perspective, I would prefer the Chiefs getting the 1.5 or 2 points than the 49ers giving away those points, but it is not something I feel bullish about.
My belief is that this game finishes in the region of 21-20 to 27-24, and we are on the edge of our seats until the final moments. I am going to side with the Chiefs because I have picked against Mahomes and Andry Reid before, and it has not tended to go well.
Pick: Chiefs, 24-23
Jay Morrison, Cincinnati Bengals Beat Writer
I’ve never been less confident in how I think a Super Bowl is going to play out than I am with this one. Everything I know about the league and feel in my gut tells me the 49ers are the more complete team and should find a way to win the game, and it could be by a field goal or a rout.
But betting against Mahomes feels like a fool’s errand, especially when the biggest question I have about San Francisco is the quarterback. I’m not a Purdy shade thrower at all. I think he’s great and will only get better.
But he’s been underwhelming in stretches in the playoffs, and the 49ers can’t afford to fall behind the Chiefs the way they did against the Packers and Lions. And he is taking his first steps on this stage while Mahomes has lived here.
I think Deebo Samuel is in for a historic game, but the Mahomes magic takes over late to get this one to overtime, where Harrison Butker wins it with a field goal.
Pick: Chiefs, 31-28
Lorenzo Reyna, NFL Writer
My heart is saying the Chiefs will repeat and catapult themselves into the dynasty conversation. My mind and gut, though, is siding more with the 49ers. That’s a two-against-1 scenario I’m in.
But here’s why I feel comfortable with my pick: As great as the Chiefs’ defense has been, I’ve noticed they’ve struggled with zone-read runs, even between the tackles. The lack of big bodies in the middle is apparent there, as Spagnuolo prefers lighter, quicker defenders.
Guess what? San Francisco is among the best at gashing defenses with zone-type runs in the middle. Having Kittle as an extra blocker additionally pushes the trenches around.
But here’s the next reason why I’m convinced about my pick: The way the 49ers have built themselves for this moment. Let’s face it, the moves they have made post-Super Bowl 54 — trading for Christian McCaffrey and later Chase Young, signing Javon Hargrave, making sure Nick Bosa and Deebo Samuel were extended, even dumping Garoppolo — were all to topple the Chiefs atop the league.
Now they get the Chiefs. Should also add that this time, Charvarius Ward is on the opposite side of this SB rematch. That’s going to mean he’ll bring everything he knows about Mahomes and Travis Kelce, including how to attack their weaknesses.
If there was ever a perfect moment for the Niners to reclaim the Lombardi Trophy, this is the one … by snatching it from the cream of the current NFL crop and ending their long title dry spell.
Pick: 49ers, 27-24 (OT)
Adam H. Beasley, Senior NFL Reporter
Can a super team overcome the superest player in the world? We’re about to find out. Certainly, Mahomes can single-handedly ruin any prediction, but it just feels like Shanahan’s moment has finally arrived.
The team that can’t play from behind overcame two second-half deficits in as many games to win the NFC. And if the Niners prevail on Sunday, the best team all season will be the best team at the end of the season.
Pick: 49ers, 24-21
Tony Catalina, NFL/CFB Writer
In a year where many were ready to count the Chiefs out on several occasions, they find themselves once again in the big game. In the biggest moments, Mahomes and Kelce have been able to rise to the occasion, and that’s what they will need to do again this Sunday.
On paper, I see the 49ers as a more complete team from top to bottom, but what they don’t have is No. 15. I have a hard time picking against Mahomes and the boys as they find a way to win back-to-back Super Bowl titles and have the GOAT conversation begin to run rampant.
Pick: Chiefs, 27-23
Kyle Soppe, Fantasy and Betting Analyst
For me, this game comes down to sustaining drives and staying on the field. The 49ers ranked second in average distance of drive this season, and while the Chiefs’ defense is imposing, the variety of ways in which San Francisco can have success is second to none.
I’m looking for Kansas City to apply pressure per usual, and, down the stretch, I trust the four primary 49er ball carries to make a splash play. Jokes will be made about them leaving too much time on the clock after they score the go-ahead touchdown with under a minute left, but it won’t matter!
Pick: 49ers, 24-20
Cam Mellor, Executive Director College Football Network
It’s Taylor Swift’s world, and we’re just living in it.
Pick: Chiefs, 31-28
Zachary Knerr, NFL and Informational Writer
It seemed inevitable that the Ravens were going to cruise to the Super Bowl. However, the Mahomes magic fueled by Kansas City’s first top-10 defense during his tenure has the Chiefs in their fourth Super Bowl in five years.
While the 49ers have had an incredible season saved by two come-from-behind playoff victories, the Chiefs’ defense will make Purdy uncomfortable, giving Mahomes and the offense more opportunities to put this away.
Pick: Chiefs, 27-20
Kyle Yates, Fantasy Football Section Editor
The 49ers have the recipe for triumph in this matchup by doing what the Ravens refused to do in the AFC Conference Championship game: run the football. With Christian McCaffrey, San Francisco has the potential to take advantage of a plus matchup against the Chiefs’ run defense and dominate the time of possession on Sunday.
With that being said, Super Bowl and playoff experience are strong tiebreakers in these significant matchups, and Reid, Mahomes, and Kelce have been here in these big moments plenty of times before. As long as No. 15 is healthy for Kansas City, it’s difficult to go any other way with this pick.
Pick: Chiefs, 24-20
Dallas Robinson, NFL Writer
I’m done betting against Mahomes. While there are plenty of reasons to think the 49ers could beat the Chiefs on Sunday (they’re favored, after all), Mahomes always seems to find a way. If the score remains close into the fourth quarter, Mahomes’ experience in big games should help Kansas City remain calm under pressure.
Whether Mahomes will be the Chiefs’ driving force against San Francisco is an open question. Given how much the 49ers have struggled against the run during the postseason, Isiah Pacheco could be in for a massive day, especially if San Francisco’s tackling and defensive effort issues show up.
Meanwhile, Spagnuolo arguably remains the NFL’s best game-specific scheme designer. With Chris Jones, George Karlaftis, and the rest of KC’s defensive front attacking the weak right side of the 49ers’ offensive line and L’Jarius Sneed, Trent McDuffie, and others in coverage, the Chiefs might be able to slow down a San Francisco offensive attack that led the league in nearly every metric in 2023.
Pick: Chiefs, 23-21
Will Helms, College Football and Scouting Writer
I refuse to accept that Mahomes is actually an underdog and will approach this game with that in mind. That being said, it would not surprise me to see Reid and the Chiefs attempt to possess the ball longer and ride Pacheco, who has quietly become one of the more effective backs in the league.
Kansas City’s secret weapon this year has been Spagnuolo, who has stifled some of the best offenses in the league in recent weeks. I think the Chiefs grind this one out in a lower-scoring affair.
Pick: Chiefs, 27-23
Owain Jones, NFL and CFB Writer
Who do I trust to win on the big stage? The Chiefs.
Time after time, they continue to perform on the biggest of occasions, and they look hungrier than ever. So, it is difficult to go against Mahomes, Kelce, Reid, and the Spagnuolo defense.
The 49ers simply can’t start the game like they have done in the 2023 Playoffs. They can’t afford to give the Chiefs a lead because the door won’t open like it did in the NFC Championship Game against the Lions.
Pick: Chiefs, 31-17
Ian Cummings, NFL Draft Analyst
The Chiefs will cause trouble (trouble, trouble) for the 49ers and engineer a swift defeat.
Pick: Chiefs, 27-21
Dan Tomaro, NFL Writer
The Chiefs have defeated three teams with at least 11 wins in the postseason, including two on the road. The 49ers have needed late rallies to win the two playoff home games. The Packers helped with a missed field goal in the fourth quarter, and the Lions opted to go for a first down twice instead of a game-tying field goal attempt.
The big advantage for me is that Mahomes and the Chiefs have been on the big stage so many times. Another is how hard it is to beat a Reid team after his team has a week off. Great champions in any sport are hard to stop when a trophy gets handed out after the game.
Pick: Chiefs, 31-17
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