The Duel

Super Bowl History Favors 49ers' Defense Over Chiefs' Offense

Max Staley
Nick Bosa flexes against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship.
Nick Bosa flexes against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship. / Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
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It's been discussed ad nauseam, but in recent seasons the NFL has shifted toward a more pass-heavy approach. Naturally, one would assume that this shift would favor the more dynamic offense in the playoffs, but that hasn't been the case – at least not in the Super Bowl.

Super Bowl History

Over the past 17 Super Bowls, the team that has finished higher in Football Outsiders' offensive DVOA metrics has gone 4-13. In fact, teams with the higher ranked offense by DVOA have lost nine straight Super Bowls.

With the Kansas City Chiefs checking at No. 3 in offensive DVOA, and the 49ers sitting at No. 7, this trend certainly seems to favor San Francisco.

Interestingly, the team with the higher-ranked defense by DVOA has fared much better. The higher-ranked defense by DVOA is 11-6 over the past 17 Super Bowls, and the superior defense by DVOA has also won four consecutive Super Bowls.

Kansas City is the 14th-ranked defense per DVOA, and San Francisco is all the way up at No. 2. Given how important defense has been for the better part of two decades, this could potentially give the 49ers a significant advantage here.

And while Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs' offense looks just about unstoppable right now, it's certainly worth noting that top-five ranked offenses are 1-5 when facing a top-five defense.

Chiefs Super Bowl History

This is the Chiefs' third all-time Super Bowl appearance. The Chiefs have a 1-1 record in such games, with their most recent appearance resulting in a 23-7 victory over the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV.

49ers Super Bowl History

This is the 49ers' seventh all-time Super Bowl appearance. San Francisco is 5-1 in such contests, with its most recent appearance resulting in a 34-31 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII.


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Max Staley is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Max Staley also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mstaley1212. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.

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