News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Chiefs will break 49ers’ glass slipper, 32-28

The San Francisco 49ers team is Cinderella. Escorted by Lady Luck, they will attend the dazzling Big Dance on February 2. Intelligently working in their off-season, toiling on hands and knees through their grueling season, and by cleaning sub-standard systems, they made vast improvements in their home.

Their turnaround is sweet. With a very successful regular season record of 13-3, over their dismal prior (4-12), mostly absent quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. Their current path to marked success started on December 9, 2018 — winning 75 percent of the games since then.

At Super Bowl LIV, however, they will lose their slipper — as well as the game.

Having to live through last year’s 13-5 overtime Conference Championship loss to the Patriots, the Kansas City Chiefs look for redemption. Their 50-year drought for entry into the Super Bowl Championship now ends. The time in between is almost two generations. The Chiefs have played 776 regular season games since their 1970 Super Bowl VI victory.

The Chiefs’ 2018 NFL Most Valuable Player, quarterback Patrick Mahomes, is one of the most exciting, reliable players in the National Football League. Mahomes is always a huge, unpredictable offensive threat — showing creative, diverse pass and run options. Like the past 1970 Chiefs QB Len Dawson/End Otis Taylor arsenal, the Mahomes/Tight End Travis Kelce is a tremendous, consistent offensive weapon.

In 2018, Mahomes posted blistering quarterback performance numbers. While having a really good season this year — slipping in part potentially to being out for two games to injuries — his leadership and confidence have increased greatly. His intensity is contagious.

This season’s Chiefs are reliant on pass plays (59 percent). The 49ers pass 47 percent of the time. The 49ers rely strongly on their running game.

The 49ers have three strong runners in the backfield: Tevin Coleman, Raheem Mostert, and Matt Breida. Each has over 600 yards for the season — totaling over 1,900. On the other hand, the pass-reliant Chiefs’ top 3 rushers have 1,400, with Mahomes having 465 (33 percent).

Mahomes’ 2019-2010 performance is superior to the 49ers’ quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, both passing and running.

Garoppolo has constantly improved over the past year. The 49ers ground game is strong (#2 in the NFL) and the preferred offensive weapon. In the strong rushing performance in this year’s conference championship game against the Packers, Garoppolo threw eight of the 50 plays — the fewest passes in a playoff game since 1973.

The Chiefs will key on this and limit the 49ers ground game.

An extensive, comparative analysis was performed for each team. Recent 49ers teams are dramatically better than 49er teams before 2018. The prediction analysis concentrated on the 2019-2020 season —although using key data over the past three seasons, too.

Here are each team’s 2019-2020 seasons. A blue diamond is a win, with a red circle a loss. The big blue diamonds are from each playoff game.

The 49ers and Chiefs have averaged 30 scored points per game over their 18 games played this season. The Chiefs are more consistent, per the calculated standard deviation.

In the Chiefs’ games (left), they have won eight consecutive games, including two high-scoring playoff games. Their last five games have an upward trend.

In their playoff games, they scored a total of 88 points, averaging 44 points per game. In two out of eight playoff quarters they were sluggish and scoreless. This will not happen in the Super Bowl.

The 49ers have won six of their last eight games, of course winning the last two playoff games. There, they posted 64 total points, averaging 32 points per game.

The Chiefs have had seven consecutive winning seasons under Coach Reid, averaging 11 wins per regular season. This proven consistency will be a major factor in the Super Bowl. This 49ers’ current season is the first winning season since 2013.

Using historical 2017 - 2019 seasons, the Chiefs’ calculated winning probability at all point levels from 0 to 32 points. After 32 points, the 49ers have the winning edge.

With the prediction of Chiefs 32, 49ers 28, this model shows the Chiefs eking out a Super Bowl victory.

Both of these dynasty teams will appear in many future NFL playoffs.

While the 49ers’ glass slipper may be broken, they are now a legitimate powerhouse and will not be caring about slippers. Besides, where would you be able to find a size 18 EEE wide glass slipper?

As for the Chiefs’ trek to gain redemption: fulfilled!

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