Our supercomputer has delivered us the best NFL picks, win probabilities, and player projections around all season. Now it’s going to guide us through its Super Bowl predictions, including which players will have the biggest statistical performances and which team has the best chance to win football’s biggest game.
The Kansas City Chiefs were only beginning their run of dominance four years ago when they last met the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV.
Trailing 21-10 in the fourth quarter at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, quarterback Patrick Mahomes led the Chiefs to 21 points over the final 6 minutes, 13 seconds on the way to a 31-20 victory, which ended a 50-year wait for the franchise and a two-decade wait for coach Andy Reid.
Kansas City has since been to two more Super Bowls, falling to Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31-9 in Super Bowl LV and outlasting the Philadelphia Eagles 38-35 to take the Lombardi Trophy in Super Bowl LVII last year.
Now they’re the underdogs despite trying to win their third title in five years, while the 49ers are back in the big game for a rematch of that Feb. 2, 2020 contest. They’re seeking their first championship since beating the San Diego Chargers 49-26 in Super Bowl XXIX.
Our supercomputer says the Niners are the best bets, giving them a 65.1% win probability at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas (6:30 p.m. EST, CBS).
But it’s not just team-level football picks that our machine can spin out. We also have the ability to bring you our player props for the game and some bold predictions along the way.
Will Mahomes win his third Super Bowl MVP or will he be outplayed by “Mr. Irrelevant” Brock Purdy? Will Kansas City’s Rashee Rice set the rookie record for receptions in an NFL postseason? Can Travis Kelce raise his record for most receiving yards in a Super Bowl by a tight end or will George Kittle break it?
Our supercomputer has answers.
Chiefs Player Projections
Patrick Mahomes: 24.8 completions in 36.7 attempts for 272.0 yards with 1.6 touchdowns and 0.7 interceptions
Our trusty machine has Mahomes going over his listed 262.5 over/under for passing yards and just over the 1.5 passing touchdowns, but it won’t be easy for Mahomes against a San Francisco defense that ranks sixth in the NFL in adjusted defensive rating and was sixth defensive EVE while allowing the fifth-fewest passing yards per attempt (6.36) during the regular season.
Though Mahomes has now thrown 203 postseason passes since his last interception in the 2021 AFC championship game, our supercomputer doesn’t see it a certainty the trend will continue. It projects him to close to an interception with 0.73, which is slightly more than it predicts for counterpart Brock Purdy (0.70).
It also gives him a 36.6% chance of posting a 300-yard game against the 49ers. Mahomes has thrown for 286, 270 and 182 yards in his three Super Bowl appearances.
Isiah Pacheco: 15.9 rushes for 79.3 yards with 0.8 touchdowns
It hasn’t been all about Mahomes. The Chiefs have shown a commitment to the ground game with Pacheco carrying the ball 24, 15 and 24 times in the three playoff games after never rushing more than 20 times a game in the regular season.
He’s made a tremendous impact down the stretch, rushing for 384 yards over his last four games – including a 130-yard effort against the Cincinnati Bengals and a 97-yard performance against the Buffalo Bills. He’s also scored a touchdown in each of the team’s three playoff games.
Kansas City is 12-2 when Pacheco gains at least 60 scrimmage yards, so it bodes well for the Chiefs that the machine has him going over sportsbooks’ 69.5 over/under for rushing yards with a 35.4% chance of put together a 100-yard performance.
Rashee Rice: 7.0 catches for 84.6 yards with 0.4 touchdowns
To say that Mahomes has leaned heavily on Kelce and Rice would be an understatement. Kelce has been targeted 27 times – only two more times than Rice. The only other Kansas City receiver to be targeted more than five times in the playoffs is Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who has had eight passes thrown to him.
Rice had eight receptions for 130 yards in the 26-7, wild-card win over the Miami Dolphins. He’s caught 12 more passes in the last two games, and with just two receptions in the Super Bowl, Rice will set a rookie record for receptions in a single postseason.
The over/under for his receiving yards is set at 67.5, which our supercomputer indicates is low. Rice has a 38.2% chance of finishing with 100 receiving yards – the highest of any player in the contest.
Travis Kelce: 6.1 receptions for 68.4 yards with 0.4 touchdowns
After averaging 6.2 receptions and 65.6 receiving yards per game with five touchdowns in the regular season, Kelce is averaging 7.7 receptions and 87.3 yards with three TDs in the playoffs.
He had 11 catches for 116 yards and a touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC championship game, but our supercomputer points to him trending back to his regular-season numbers and under the 6.5 receptions and 72.5 receiving yards posted by Vegas.
Still, it’s hard to ignore Kelce hasn’t gone under 70 receiving yards in any of his last 12 playoff games while totaling 104 catches for 1,178 yards with 13 TDs over that span. He admittedly has some pressure on him to bring home some hardware after Taylor Swift won album of the year at the 2024 Grammy Awards last weekend.
49ers Player Projections
Brock Purdy: 21.9 of 33.0 for 257.8 yards with 1.8 TDs and 0.7 INTs
Though Purdy has had his share of struggles in the postseason, he’s stepped up when it’s mattered most and helped coach Kyle Shanahan’s 49ers get back to the Super Bowl.
After posting an 80.5 well-thrown percentage and a 3.29 pickable pass percentage (both slightly better than league average) in the regular season, Purdy has the worst pickable pass percentage (6.06) of any postseason QB, and only Miami’s Tua Tagovailoa has a worst well-thrown rate (71.2).
How will Purdy do against a defense that ranked second in scoring defense (17.3 points per game), total defense (289.8 yards per game) and adjusted defensive rating (minus-5.27) heading into the postseason? We have him going over the 247.5 passing yards and 1.5 touchdowns set by oddsmakers.
Purdy made an impact with his legs in the NFC championship against the Detroit Lions with 48 yards on five carries, but our machine only tabs him for 10.4 yards on 2.8 rushes Sunday night.
Christian McCaffrey: 15.4 rushes for 71.2 yards with 0.9 touchdowns; 5.2 receptions for 37.3 yards with 0.3 touchdowns
While the Chiefs have been solid defensively, they have been vulnerable against the run. After ranking 18th during the regular season in run success rate allowed (36.8%), Kansas City has the worst run success rate allowed in the postseason (51.7%).
That’s not a good sign heading into a matchup with McCaffrey, who ranks second among players with 10 or more carries in the postseason at 5.1 yards per carry. The star running back also ranks fourth in missed and broken tackles per touch (.271).
However, our supercomputer indicates the oddsmakers have set the over/under mark for McCaffrey’s rushing yards high at 91.5.
Brandon Aiyuk: 4.2 receptions for 69.6 yards with 0.5 touchdowns
Deebo Samuel: 5.4 receptions for 63.7 yards with 0.4 touchdowns
Kansas City’s defense is allowing a rating of 67.3 on deep passes – sixth in the NFL – and has allowed the third-fewest completions of 20 yards or more. The Chiefs also ranked fourth in pass-play success rate (36.2) and eight in burn-allowed percentage (47.6) during the regular season.
But Purdy has a league-leading 142.0 passer rating on throws more than 20 yards downfield, including nine touchdowns and no interceptions. Additionally, Aiyuk ranks second in the NFL (including the playoffs) in big-play percentage (46.3).
This will be an interesting matchup, and our model has Aiyuk going over his 62.5 receiving yards, but Samuel under his 59.5 mark, set by the sportsbooks.
Check out all the numbers for the other San Francisco wideouts on our NFL projections page.
George Kittle: 3.9 receptions for 53.7 yards with 0.4 touchdowns
Kittle’s production has been wildly up and down this season, making the task of projecting his performance a difficult one – even for a magical supercomputer. He had 25 catches for 432 yards from Weeks 7-11, but totaled 12 receptions and 217 yards over his next four.
After finishing with four catches for 81 yards and a touchdown in the divisional round against the Green Bay Packers, Kittle was held to just two catches for 27 yards against the Detroit Lions in the NFC championship game.
It’s not out of the realm of possibility, however, to think Purdy might need a big play or two to Kittle against a stout Kansas City defense. Our Super Bowl projections have him going over the 48.5 receiving yards set by Vegas, but under the 4.5 projected receptions.