As the season comes to a merciful end . . .
The NFL Degenerate is writing this from a secure location this week, safe from bill collectors, divorce lawyers and Vinnie from the corner deli who took my advice and bet the Packers +7½ two weeks ago.
SAN FRANCISCO +1½ vs. Kansas City
Is it a cliché to say this game has “could go either way” written all over it? These are the two teams most people expected to be here, and how you bet this one is going to depend on how you weigh a whole slew of factors, including: Do you give more weight to Kansas City’s more explosive offense, or to San Francisco’s arguably better defense? Do you value Andy Reid’s coaching experience over Kyle Shanahan’s, or Pat Mahomes’ big-game experience over Jimmy Garoppolo’s? Do you favor the Niners’ rushing attack that ground up Green Bay or do you lean to a Chiefs ‘D’ that shut down Derrick Henry?
These teams took divergent roads here: Niners gave up nearly 30 ppg in their last five regular season games after blowing out the Packers in Week 12 but tightened things up and gave up a total of 30 in 2 playoff games. Chiefs, meanwhile, allowed just 12 ppg in next 6 after losing to Tennessee on Nov. 10, but in playoffs have been strafed for 55 points.
Chiefs’ comebacks against Houston and Tennessee have gotten a lot of attention, but Niners can dig out of holes, too: in their last 7 regular season games they trailed Arizona, New Orleans and the Rams in the fourth quarter and won all three then held off a last-minute Seattle drive to win in Week 17. San Francisco also has outscored Kansas City this season even counting KC’s 86 points in the playoffs. As much as I like Mahomes and don’t want to be counting against him with the ball in his hands and the clock running down, I believe Niners have the all-around edge and will come out on top.