The culmination of another great NFL season is upon us. The biggest stage. The brightest lights. The pomp and circumstance of Super Bowl week still have a few steps left. All of that, along with the intermingling of sadness that football games that matter are over for six months, will bring us to the Kansas City Chiefs taking on the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII.
Sunday’s matchup gives the world a chance to see one of the best teams from the regular season (San Francisco) versus the best quarterback in the league still in his prime (Patrick Mahomes). The storylines are deep in the game including can Kansas City continue to be carried by their defense, can Kyle Shanahan get the big win and whether we will see the next step in the relationship between Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift.
All playoffs long, we have brought you predictions based on the analytical data available through DVOA. DVOA breaks down the quality of play compared to the league average while adjusting for the strength of the opponents being played. It is one of a couple of catch-all analytics measures that help us understand the beautiful game of football better.
DVOA hasn’t been perfect in predicting games this offseason with the top overall team, the Baltimore Ravens, falling to the Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game. DVOA would never pretend to be perfect in predictions due to all the different variables (weather, referees, injuries, coaching decisions, etc) able to impact the outcome of a one-game sample.
While Mahomes’ greatness is known, Kansas City’s offense has struggled at times this season. RB Isaiah Pacheco joined Mahomes and Kelce as the only constants during the 2023 season.
The Niners followed the Ravens as the second-best team by DVOA’s standards. San Francisco had a three-game losing streak prior to their bye week in early November. The Niners’ offense had trouble putting points on the board in Weeks 6 through 8, scoring just 17 in each of those three games. They came out with a vengeance after their bye week scoring 27 or more points in their next six games including two games over 42 points.
In five of those six wins, San Francisco’s defense held their opponents under 20 points.
With the eyes of the world upon them, Super Bowl LVIII has a simple storyline: Great team vs great QB. As football fans know, it is never as simple as that. As we look at the DVOA metric, we know that the presence of Mahomes also makes predicting the big game more complicated than just these numbers:
San Francisco 49ers vs Kansas City Chiefs
Overall DVOA: San Francisco 2nd vs Kansas City 5th
Offensive DVOA: San Francisco 1st vs Kansas City 8th
Defensive DVOA: San Francisco 4th vs Kansas City 7th
Edge: 49ers – In every aspect, the Niners have been better than the Chiefs this year according to DVOA. Based on the data, it makes sense that San Francisco is favored in Sunday’s Super Bowl matchup. At this point, expecting Kansas City to win is based on their history of success, Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes. Every other sign points to a 49ers victory in this year’s big game.
DVOA is another fun piece of data to help you make betting decisions, discuss the playoffs with your family and coworkers or while arguing with people on social media.
Do you agree with DVOA’s prediction or think Mahomes will get another ring? Jump down to the comment section and share your thoughts on who wins on Sunday!