49ers factor prominently in Super Bowl finalist odds
The San Francisco 49ers were a quarter away from a Super Bowl title last season, but the Kansas City Chiefs surged late to win. In 2020, the Niners are expected to fight their way back to the NFL’s biggest stage and feature prominently in the Super Bowl LV finalist odds.
The 49ers are listed in the first two choices on the oddsboard, at +2000 odds to play the Chiefs in a rematch or meet Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens.
Kansas City’s explosive offense shouldn’t miss a beat in 2020. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes has Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, Travis Kelce, and Damien Williams back at his disposal. The Ravens focused on defense in free agency and should look all the more lethal in the AFC North.
#Chiefs offense should be together a while longer:— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) September 6, 2019
Damien Williams signed through 2020, Watkins signed through 2020, Kelce signed through 2020, Reiter signed through 2020, Fisher signed through 2021, Schwartz signed through 2021, Duvernay-Tardif signed through 2022. https://t.co/IZXIZ6tblt
As for San Francisco’s defense, the unit lost defensive tackle DeForest Buckner in a trade with the Indianapolis Colts, but that move allowed the team to retain defensive lineman Arik Armstead and safety Jimmie Ward.
The offense maintains its stable of running backs (Raheem Mostert, Matt Breida, and Tevin Coleman), which ranked second in rushing yards (144.1 per game) last season. Veteran receiver Emmanuel Sanders (502 yards, three touchdowns) signed with the New Orleans Saints in the offseason, but the Niners own a pair of first-round picks to snag a skilled, young receiver in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Sanders' new team, New Orleans, is listed at +2500 to challenge the Chiefs in Super Bowl LV, and the Saints are +2800 to confront the Ravens in the title game. Quarterback Drew Brees, 41, hopes to reach the championship game one more time before he retires. He’ll drop back behind an offensive line fully intact from last season. He’ll also enjoy another year with Michael Thomas — the league’s leading receiver (1,725 yards) in 2019 — plus running back Alvin Kamara and tight end Jared Cook.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+3300) and new quarterback Tom Brady are next in line out of the NFC, as a potential opponent of the Chiefs or Ravens in Super Bowl LV. With Rob Gronkowski coming out of retirement to play with his former teammate, this team is one to watch. Out of the NFC East, the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys also have +3300 odds to face Kansas City.
A team you may be surprised to see listed at such high odds is the New England Patriots. Without Brady at the helm, New England isn’t expected to do much in 2020. The Patriots are the third AFC team to appear on the Super Bowl finalist oddsboard, at +5000 odds to play the 49ers.
Most likely Super Bowl scenario
The Ravens dominated the league in 2019 and lost just twice in the regular season, to the Chiefs and Cleveland Browns. Kansas City finished 12-4, but all four losses occurred while Mahomes was either sidelined or playing at less than 100% because of injuries.
The Niners and Saints tied for the best record in the NFC (13-3). Those two should once again rule the conference, but the slight advantage goes to the Saints in Brees’ closing chapter. New Orleans has had a string of bad luck in the playoffs — particularly in the 2018 NFC Championship Game against the Rams — but they’re due a break in 2020.
It’s tough not to pull for Jackson and his electrifying Ravens offense in the AFC. Baltimore should see the postseason once again, but no team can score quicker than the Chiefs. Look for Kansas City to coast back to the Super Bowl and set up an epic quarterback showdown between Mahomes and Brees.