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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

The Northern Star Sports Staff predicts ‘The Big Game’ winner

John Lochner | AP Photo
San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey warms up for practice on Wednesday ahead of Super Bowl LVIII. McCaffrey is set to start in the 49ers backfield on Sunday. (John Lochner | AP Photo)

It’s the Super Bowl matchup no one was hoping for. Two teams that have already established dominance in the NFL and two teams that have already faced each other in the biggest sporting event in the United States.

Everyone was hoping Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens would save us from a Taylor Swift and Brittany Mahomes Bowl. No one wanted to see their faces in sports media ever again.

Everyone wanted to see the  Detroit Lions play in their first Super Bowl ever just two years after finishing with a 3-13-1 record.

Unfortunately, it’s the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs. The Northern Star Sports Staff is ecstatic to predict the outcome of Super Bowl LVIII.


Score prediction: 38-28, San Francisco

MVP: Christian McCaffrey

The Mahomes hype is valid, but I’m extremely tired of it. We need a new narrative.

The Chiefs undoubtedly have a dynasty-capable roster led by an elite quarterback, but the 49ers’ superteam-esque lineup might be too much for Kansas City to handle.

One of the Chiefs’ few weaknesses of the 2023-2024 season has been their run defense. Kansas City is tied for 17th place with the Los Angeles Chargers in rushing yards allowed per game. With a running back like Christian McCaffrey, this weakness is one the 49ers should easily exploit.

I predict McCaffrey will have at least two rushing touchdowns on Sunday. If he doesn’t, this 49ers squad might not have a chance.

If not McCaffrey, look to Deebo Samuel to lead both the air and ground attack. Brandon Aiyuk, George Kittle and maybe even Kyle Juszczyk could all find the endzone in Super Bowl LVIII. Point is, this roster is stacked. The Chiefs will have their work cut out for them if they want to win their second straight Lombardi Trophy.


Score prediction: 27-23, San Francisco

MVP: Brock Purdy

Despite early game struggles so far in the postseason, the 49ers remain the most deeply talented team in football. Unlike past failed attempts, San Fran now has a QB who has proven he can come in clutch when needed.

San Francisco was my pick to win it all back in August, and they are still my pick today.

This season, the Chiefs, plagued by dropped passes and Matt Nagy’s influence, have finished outside of the top 10 in scoring for the first time in the Mahomes era.

The Chiefs with Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes are a goliath, but, despite making it all the way here once again, they have more weaknesses now than ever before. If the league can’t contain KC this season, may God have mercy on us all.



Score prediction: 23-17, Kansas City

MVP: Patrick Mahomes

Although the 49ers bolster the most talented roster in football, the Chiefs have something the 49ers don’t: Patrick Mahomes. In a rematch of Super Bowl LIV in 2020, the Chiefs will once again come out victorious over the 49ers.

To go along with the greatest postseason duo ever of Mahomes and Travis Kelce on the offensive side of the ball, the Chiefs also have their best defense of the Mahomes era. 

Cornerback L’Jarius Sneed and defensive tackle Chris Jones will be the key contributors to shutting down San Francisco’s high powered offense. On offense, running back Isiah Pacheco and wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling have emerged as great playoff performers for Kansas City and will help take some of the pressure off Mahomes and Kelce.

The combination of the two future Hhall of Famersfamers on offense and the stout defense will be enough for the Chiefs to win their third super bowl of the last five years.


Score Prediction: 26-20, San Francisco

MVP: Christian McCaffrey

The time is nigh for Super Bowl LVIII. The second act of Chiefs-Niners for the NFL crown. KC in red. San Fran in white. Reads like another Chiefs victory, right?

Against my better judgment, I’m inclined to disagree.

I can’t deny the prowess of the high-flying Chiefs offense. Nor can I dispute the talent of Kansas City’s stout defense. What I can do is highlight the general superiority of the 49ers’ roster.

Yes, the defending champs have No. 15 under center and No. 87 to throw to. That can never be overlooked. But the Niners boast one of the best, if not the best, offensive arsenals in the league, comprising four All-Pros. Not to mention an elite-caliber defense led by yet another All-Pro, despite the unit’s postseason struggles.

Throw in the lingering sting of losing in the big game four years ago, and San Francisco undoubtedly has the bigger chip on its shoulder heading into Sunday.

Don’t be surprised to see the Niners use their lust for vengeance to smack Kansas City in the mouth the second time around.


Score Prediction: 24-20, Kansas City

MVP: Patrick Mahomes 

The 49ers may possess a talent advantage on paper, with the potential to outmatch Kansas City position-by-position, but the defending champs have the keys to the kingdom: Patrick Mahomes.

Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs are the contemporary equivalents of Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. The up-and-coming dynasty seemingly cannot go away, even in their darkest moments. 

On the flip side, I simply cannot trust Brock Purdy against this stout Chiefs defense. Their corners play with intensity, fly to the football and have shut down some of the game’s most prolific wide-outs. Everyone knows what trusty veteran defense tackle Chris Jones is capable of and second-year defensive end George Karlaftis ain’t no slouch either. 

While Mr. Irrelevant Brock Purdy has risen to national prominence and deserves more credit than is awarded, his playoff run has left much to be desired. Yes, he’s responsible for two game-winning drives, including an improbable 17-point comeback against the Detroit Lions on Jan. 28, but a mistake-ridden start won’t fly against this Chiefs team. 

Harnessing the power of Taylor Swift and the Swifities, I expect the Chiefs to depart Allegiant Stadium with its third championship in five years. 


Score Prediction: 27-17 Kansas City 

MVP: Patrick Mahomes

There’s a reason that Patrick Mahomes has had so much success thus far in his career, and doesn’t seem to be slowing down. He’s been able to work his way out of tough spots, and make clutch plays.

87 and 15. Travis Kelce and Patrick Mahomes. A pair that has only gotten better, breaking the record for most postseason touchdown connections by a single duo. Kelce has also made some insane catches during the postseason, especially during the AFC Championship, and is ranked first in the NFL for postseason receptions. No matter how prominent San Francisco’s offense is, they don’t have a Kelce and Mahomes caliber duo. 

Another key offensive weapon, Isiah Pacheco has been a great running back option for the Chiefs this season with three rushing touchdowns in the postseason. 

Yes, San Francisco does have a strong offense. Brock Purdy, George Kittle, Christian McCaffrey and more pose a real threat to the Kansas City defensive line. However, Kansas City has the best defense that they’ve seen in the Mahomes era. They have the power to shut down San Francisco’s offense. 

Kansas City has the skill all around to defeat San Francisco again, just like in 2020. 


Score prediction: 24-22 Kansas City

MVP: Travis Kelce

The Kansas City Chiefs have not had their best season by any means, yet they still find themselves at the big game. And, at times, seemingly lackluster offense has found its stride in the playoffs and has looked a lot better in recent games. 

Travis Kelce had what many consider a down year, failing to achieve over 1,000 receiving yards for the first time since his rookie season. Kelce has also had problems with drops this season but has stepped it up in the playoffs. Kelce has turned back to the Travis Kelce of previous years and will continue his impressive performance in the Superbowl, catching two touchdowns.

The 49ers have been the complete opposite of the Chiefs, dominating the regular season and seeming a little more sluggish in the playoffs. If the 49ers continue to perform the same way they have in their previous two playoff games, they will not be able to keep up with the Chiefs. 

San Francisco, the consensus number one team during the regular season, with players like Christian McCaffrey and Deebo Samuel, have a loaded roster. It is just hard to picture a team that was beat by a P.J. Walker led Browns team winning a Superbowl. 


Score prediction: 31-28, San Francisco

MVP: Christian McCaffrey

I believe the San Francisco 49ers will overtake the Kansas City Chiefs, winning the Super Bowl 31-28. I believe quarterback Patrick Mahomes and tight end Travis Kelce will not be enough to outplay the star-studded 49er roster. 

The game will come down to the wire, but I think that San Francisco kicker Jake Moody will kick a walk- off field goal. 

Although Mahomes is one of the best quarterbacks of all time, I do not trust his receiving core to carry the load. Outside of Kelce – who is aging – wide receiver Rashee Rice is the Chiefs’ best target. Rice is solid, but wide receivers Kadarius Toney and Marquez Valdesz-Scantling are not to be trusted.

Furthermore, the Chiefs offense looked vulnerable in the second half of the AFC Championship. Kansas City failed to put up a point following half time. 

The 49ers have stars at every position, notably including quarterback Brock Purdyl, wide receiver Brandon Aiyiuk, running back Christian McCaffrey and defensive end Nick Bosa. In the 2023-2024 season, the 49ers ranked sixth in passing yards, third in rushing yards and fifth in rushing yards allowed. 


Do you think you know what the final score will be of Super Bowl LVIII? Share your predictions on who will hoist the Lombardi Trophy below.

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