LAS VEGAS — Somewhere, in the back of your mind these past two weeks, you may have wondered if that singer was really going to pick up four playoff games in a row with Patrick Mahomes.
Well … first, I want to mention that being funny, whether on purpose or not, is not easy or fun. Second, it’s easy to leave makeup, red noses, and wigs on sometimes.
That said, I’m only picking the Miami Dolphins as the underdogs over the Kansas City Chiefs, but yes, the Buffalo Bills and Baltimore Ravens were to win – they should have. Those two teams were at home and if one of five things happened, the Bills would win; And if the Ravens had given the ball to their running backs more than six times, they would have won.
And I probably would have picked Mahomes again, but I was at the NFC Championship game two weeks ago. Watching Chase Young go through the motions. A look at the San Francisco 49ers secondary from two great angles. This 49ers defense is worse than you think. Even their linebackers aren’t playing like they used to.
Las Vegas Raiders fans will think I’m kidding, but the 49ers really miss Clelin Ferrell, an injured former first-rounder who can set the edge. Young can’t or won’t — since they took Young away from the Chiefs, the 49ers rank 23rd in rushing EPA and 29th in rushing per game — and Eric Armstead is doing his best but battling a nagging foot injury and knee injury.
Then Chiefs coach Andy Reid went 27-5 for his career after weeks (regular season and playoffs) and 7-2 after trading up in the draft to acquire Chiefs Mahomes. (The Chiefs scored four times on their first possession in those games.)
What makes the Andy Reid-Patrick Mahomes partnership as unique as any other great coach-QB pairing?
It’s amazing if the Chiefs screw up their receiver position so badly this season and win another Super Bowl in a down year.
last week: 0-2 on the spread, 0-1 on the best bet.
Postseason Record: 5-7 on the spread, 2-3 on the best bet.
Regular season record: 135-130-7 on the spread, 48-41-1 on the best bet.
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The Chiefs are a disciplined team with a good offensive script to start games, and then step up and improve their defense with the confidence of youth. In the AFC Championship Game, Mahomes averaged 3.4 yards per completion and averaged 3.6 yards per completion.
The Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions both jumped out to early leads in their playoff game against the 49ers, but … it kind of choked up. The 49ers were crushed by the Packers, and focused on stopping the run, they were beaten again by the Lions. Aaron Jones averaged a better-than-expected 2.71 rushing yards per attempt in the divisional round and David Montgomery averaged 1.29 RYOE/attempt in the conference championship. So what is Isiah Pacheco going to do?
Pacheco only faced 12 percent of the box this season because teams were worried about Mahomes. But if the 49ers try to press him, he’s the hardest rusher in the NFL since Marshawn Lynch, and he led the NFL in yards per carry during the regular season and the playoffs, averaging 4.7 YPC heading into the Super Bowl.
And then there’s Travis Kelce, who led all tight ends with 833 yards in the postseason since 2016, leading all players with 562 receiving yards over the middle of the field in the regular season.
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If I were the 49ers, I’d be just as worried about him cheating as a receiving threat. The Chiefs are lining up on the outside as they deploy two and three tight end sets. And the 49ers know nothing about this. The 49ers have faced three tight ends on all nine pass attempts this season and have given up five carries for 81 yards and a touchdown.
So the Chiefs are going to score some points. Can the 49ers keep up the momentum?
They will try to attack the running game like the Ravens with NFL Offensive Player of the Year Christian McCaffrey. The Chiefs defense allowed the third-most yards since meeting in 2023 (3.4), while McCaffrey faced a stacked box on 36 percent of his carries while leading him in rushing yards (1,459) and RYOE (+349) — also tops in the league.
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The Chiefs play a lot of man coverage and blitz Brock Purdy, and I think the offensive line is nothing special outside of left tackle Trent Williams. The focus is on young cornerbacks Trent McDuffie and L’Jarius Snead — Sneed has allowed zero touchdowns as a tight end this season — and they should stand out.
Ultimately, the Chiefs’ defense will be better when backed by an offense similar to the 49ers. The Chiefs have used shifts and motion to create a league-leading 70.6 percent success on red zone rushes. (The 49ers used the shift/movement on 76.3 percent of their red zone rushes, fifth in the NFL.)
Did I mention that linebacker Nick Bolton is 500-1 to be MVP?
I guess I’ll have to bet with Mahomes again on something.
I have 30-20, bosses.
The choice: bosses
Noah Gray Anytime Touchdown: +900
The Chiefs’ backup tight end has five catches on eight targets over the past two weeks.
Christian McCaffrey under 90.5 rushing yards: -110
The rest is on the planet, and I can see McCaffrey and Debo Samuel holding more short passes on stacked boxes.
Isiah Pacheco 66.5 rushing yards: -130
Jones had 108 yards against the 49ers and Montgomery had 93, plus Pacheco in four consecutive games.
Deebo Samuel over 15.5 rushing yards: -115
He ran for 53 yards against the Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV.
Harrison Butker Over 1.5 field goals scored: -125
A non-explosive offense against the home game and overpowered defense.
– Submitted by Jason Starrett of TruMedia Research.
(Top photo of Chris Jones and Patrick Mahomes: Rob Carr / Getty Images)