There is only one game left in the NFL season but it is one to savour as the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers clash in the Super Bowl for the second time in five seasons.
The Chiefs won the previous game in Miami 31-20 in February 2020 - the first of two wins for head coach Andy Reid and quarterback Patrick Mahomes - and so the 49ers will be looking for revenge when the teams meet at Allegiant Stadium in Nevada on Sunday night (23:30).
- Kansas City to win Super Bowl
- Under 47.5 points
- Travis Kelce over 71.5 receiving yards
Defence Can Work For Chiefs
No team has won the Super Bowl in back-to-back seasons since the New England Patriots 19 years ago, but the Chiefs can confirm their status as the sport's latest dynasty by lifting the Vince Lombardi Trophy for the third time in the last five seasons.
That run began with their win over the 49ers but it is a different Chiefs team that will take the field on Sunday. While they previously depended on a prolific offence to score enough points to cover for the deficiencies of their defence, the Chiefs have undergone a change of character and now their bruising defence is leading the way.
The Chiefs have limited the Dolphins to just seven points and AFC top seeds the Ravens to 10 in the play-offs as defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo's reputation continues to grow.
The good news for the Chiefs is that they still have their core offensive weapons and QB Mahomes along with star tight end Travis Kelce, rookie wide receiver Rashee Rice and running back Isiah Pacheco can still get the job done.
The 49ers have not looked the force that they should have been in the play-offs so far after securing the top seeding in the NFC. They have been given major scares by both the Packers and the Lions in the play-offs and neither of those teams has a defence as strong as the Chiefs.
San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan is one of the most creative playcallers in the game and can deploy star running back Christian McCaffrey alongside wide receivers Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk and tight end George Kittle.
However, the 49ers' defence has looked more vulnerable in recent weeks and if that allows the Chiefs to put even a reasonable points total on the scoreboard, the Kansas City defence may be able to lead the team to another success.
Points Could Be Hard To Come By
Despite the amount of offensive talent these teams are blessed with, points may not be easy to score in the Super Bowl and taking under 47.5 points could be the smart move.
Last season's Super Bowl went well over the total points line as the Chiefs beat the Eagles 38-35 but the previous four - including the 2020 meeting between these teams - had all fallen short of pre-match expectations.
Five of the Chiefs' last six games have gone under the advertised total and they have limited three of their last four opponents to no more than 12 points.
The Chiefs ranked second and the 49ers eighth in defensive yards allowed per game in the regular season and every yard will be fiercely contested.
Kelce To Star On Big Stage
Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce is hard to keep out of the headlines due to his relationship with megastar Taylor Swift but he has been a key player for his team in the play-offs and should have another big game in the Super Bowl.
Kelce has rumbled for 71, 75 and 116 yards in the Chiefs' three play-off games, catching 23 of the 27 passes sent his way by Mahomes. While the 49ers will no doubt do everything they can to keep him subdued, that would also have been the intention of the Dolphins, Bills and Ravens when he posted those numbers.
The 34-year-old has a knack for getting open and should again be available when Mahomes needs him on Sunday.