But as of this writing, the betting line hasn’t moved much at all, indicating the general public remains somewhat split on the matter of which team will actually win the game; the point spread is still just one point.
We’ll release our Arrowhead Pride predictions on Sunday. Spoiler alert: I’m picking the Chiefs by two touchdowns. And it is because of the way Patrick Mahomes has looked since returning from his injury.
The version of Mahomes with the early-season ankle injury — and later a knee injury — seemed timid, afraid to step up in the pocket and scared to use his legs to gain ground. But since the loss to the Titans, what we have seen each week is someone who has regained his MVP flair and swagger.
Over the Chiefs’ eight-game winning streak (including the playoffs), Mahomes is completing over 65% of his passes, has thrown for more than 2,000 yards, 16 touchdowns and four interceptions. His passer rating over the eight games is 102.5. He has also rushed 41 times for 242 yards and three touchdowns.
That statistical output, combined with Mahomes’ outright refusal to lose — even when the Chiefs are down by three scores after a quarter of play — give me the belief that he will find a way to beat the 49ers on Sunday. In his career, Mahomes has never lost a game by more than one score.
And then there was a quote from Andy Reid on Thursday that stuck with me. Reid has talked about Mahomes every week since August of 2018. This one quote encapsulated it all.
“He’s a great kid, first of all,” said Reid. “So you give the guy a kid that grew up in the locker room, so you’ve got a feel for that. He understands the leadership role he’s been put in by position and how important that is, and he’s got that innate ability to lead. So you give him a little guideline on that, and he takes it and goes.
“I’m not sure he doesn’t have a photographic memory because you give something to him one time, and he takes it and runs with it and doesn’t forget. We throw a lot of verbiage at him for these plays that we run every week and he’s able to make the other ones evaporate and put the new ones in without any flaws, so he’s special that way.
“And he’s got great vision on the field, so he can see, which becomes important for quarterbacks, in particular, the way he does things. He utilizes all his receivers, and I always tell the guys, I said, ‘There’s never a dead route. There’s no clearing routes.’ Everybody’s alive because of his vision. He’ll shoot you and you better be ready. I like the way he goes about his business and he still has plenty room to grow, which is exciting.”
We can evaluate all the matchups — ranging from Travis Kelce and George Kittle to Frank Clark, Dee Ford and offsides.
The Chiefs have Mahomes. That is why after Sunday, they will be world champions.