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Super Bowl 2024: Ranking every Chiefs and 49ers starter ahead of Las Vegas showdown for NFL crown


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This guy is special. Even when he was counted out earlier this year, he finds a way to get it done. He’s on his way to being the best ever. 2
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McCaffrey makes the offense go. His ability to run it and catch it is makes him such a tough matchup. He is almost guaranteed to score a touchdown every game. 3
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When he missed time this season, the offense wasn’t the same. He’s the best left tackle in the league who is on his way to the Hall of Fame. 4
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Kelce didn’t have a great season by his standards, but he has turned it on in the postseason. It will be interesting to see how the 49ers defend him. Dare they try and play him in man coverage? 5
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Jones is a game wrecker. He has to be accounted for in big situations since he can be so disruptive. He can line up inside and outside to create issues for an offensive line. He seems to raise his play in big games and big moments. 6
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He is a dynamic pass rusher who can get sacks in bunches. His play hasn’t been as good this season, but he can still ruin a game for an offense. 7
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Warner’s the best run-and-hit linebacker in the league. His speed will be key to containing Travis Kelce and helping keep Mahomes from scrambling for big plays. 8
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It’s not often Kittle’s the second-best tight end in a game, but he is in this one. Even so, he is the second-best tight end in the league, which isn’t bad. 9
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McDuffie has emerged as a star corner this season, whether playing outside or in the slot. He’s a good tackler, which is important against the 49ers passing game. 10
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Aiyuk has been a big-play threat in their offense this season, making him their top receiver. Deebo Samuel gets the headlines, but Aiyuk is the top outside threat. 11
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He can do so many things for their offense, bringing a physical style to it. He will line up all over the place, making him a real challenge for a defense. 12
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Humphrey’s play dipped some early in the season, but he bounced back with a better second half. He equally as good as a run blocker and in pass protection, making him one of the league’s best centers. 13
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Purdy’s story of being the last pick in the draft to Super Bowl starter is amazing. And anybody who thinks he’s just a game manager is way off base. But this will be a big challenge for him against Steve Spagnuolo. 14
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Sneed’s ability to match up in coverage gives the Chiefs a lot of versatility on the back end. He can match the other team’s top receiver, which could see him on Brandon Aiyuk. 15
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Ward had his best season, one that earned him a lot of praise. He’s the best cover player on the roster for the 49ers, one of the few defensive players who has been good in the postseason. 16
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Pacheco is the key to the Chiefs running attack. His violent style should be able to have success against a 49ers run defense that has struggled the second half of the season and in the playoffs. 17
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Like teammate Fred Warner, he has the speed to chase down a lot of plays and excel in coverage. Running at him is probably the best strategy. 18
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Karlaftis has made a big improvement in his second season, giving the Chiefs a nice second option up front to go with Chris Jones. His pass rush will be key in this game. 19
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He is a good interior pass rusher, but he can have issues in the run game. He has struggled the past two weeks against the run. 20
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Smith’s a physical mauler in the run game, who should be key to getting push inside against a vulnerable 49ers front. He is good in pass protection, but that’s not his strong suit. 21
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This rookie has emerged as the best Chiefs receiver, coming on strong in the second half. He has the game-breaking ability that has to be accounted for on every passing play. 22
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Lenoir’s one of the most-improved players this season for the 49ers defense. But he struggled against the Lions. 23
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In his second season, he has made big strides as a coverage player, giving the Chiefs three quality corners. He’s been really good the past two weeks. 24
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Hargrave’s a good interior pass rusher, but his run defense has always been the problem with his game. He gets moved in the run game, which could be a focus for the Chiefs. 25
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Bolton missed a lot of time this year with a wrist injury, but he’s back playing and is a big part of their defense. His play dropped off this season some, but he came up big in last year’s Super Bowl with a scoop-and-score fumble return. 26
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Young has four sacks since coming over in Week 10, but none in the playoffs. His run defense has been suspect as well. He’s more name than game right now. 27
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Tranquill started for Willie Gay against the Ravens and had a heck of a game. He has the ability to cover a lot of ground. 28
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Reid is a big hitter who is better in the run game than in pass coverage. He’s played some of his best football the past three postseason games. He’s a chess piece Steve Spagnuolo loves to move around. 29
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As the weak-side linebacker, he doesn’t play a ton of snaps. But when he does, he’s a solid run player who won’t kill them in pass coverage. 30
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Danna has developed into a quality edge player. He holds his own in the run game and can generate pressure both inside and outside. 31
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Brendel has developed into a solid starter in the middle of their line. The best part of his game is his run blocking, which is a must in their scheme 32
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The 49ers are one of the few teams that use a fullback, and they are lucky to have one of the best. He doesn’t carry the ball much, but he is a capable receiver and a good blocker. 33
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In his first season with the Chiefs, he’s had an up-and-down season. He’s had a lot of penalties and he’s struggles in the run game 34
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This veteran safety gives the back end some stability. His tackling at times can be a problem, which can be key against a 49ers team that gets a lot of yards after the catch. 35
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McKivitz has started every game this season at right tackle. He has had moments where he’s struggled in pass protection, but he fits their mold of athletic linemen. 36
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This nine-year veteran battled through some injuries this year and had some rough moments. He was solid in pass protection against the Ravens, which is his strong suit. He isn’t great in the run game. 37
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Gipson is a smart veteran safety, but he has missed a lot of tackles lately and he isn’t as fast as he used to be. He can be a problem in coverage at times. 38
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This sometimes starter averages 17 yards per catch on his 29 receptions, which shows his big-play ability. He has also had some drop issues this season. 39
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This rookie is starting because Talanoa Hufanga is out with an injury. He has struggled the past two weeks in coverage, so look for the Patrick Mahomes to attack him. 40
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Banks is a big-bodied guard who is better as a run blocker than he is in pass protection. He has to be better than he’s been the past two games. 41
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Allegretti started for Joe Thuney in the AFC Championship game and held up. He isn’t Thuney, but he’s a fighter who can do a solid job if he is asked to start again. 42
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Feliciano is a tough, physical veteran who took over as the starter at right guard late in the season. He sometimes has issues in pass protection. 43
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As the weak-side linebacker, he doesn’t play a ton of snaps. When he is on the field, he is just OK in terms of both run defense and coverage. 44
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Thomas had some impressive games this season, but he’s had coverage issues down the stretch and in the playoffs. He needs to be better against Patrick Mahomes. 45
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Valdes-Scantling has had a case of the drops this season, but he has redeemed himself some in the postseason. He had some big catches the past two weeks and his speed is threatening to a defense. 46
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Mike Pennel


Kansas City Chiefs DT

Pennel is the wide body in the middle of their line. He has been an injury replacement for Derrick Nnadi in the middle of their line.





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