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Can the 49ers dethrone the Chiefs next season?

May 21, 2024 at 9:20 AM

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NFL Media columnist Jeffri Chadiha recently assessed the potential championship contenders for the upcoming season, ranking teams based on their likelihood to challenge the reigning Kansas City Chiefs and halt their quest for a historic third consecutive Super Bowl victory.

At the top of Chadiha's list are the San Francisco 49ers, last season's Super Bowl runner-up. Four quarters wasn't enough in February's NFL title game to knock off Kyle Shanahan's squad, but quarterback Patrick Mahomes managed to clinch victory in overtime.

"The Chiefs have won two of their most recent Super Bowls at the expense of the 49ers -- the two teams also met in Super Bowl LIV -- but there should be added motivation for San Francisco to claim a championship this coming season," Chadiha wrote.

RELATED Charvarius Ward boldly declares 49ers' place among NFL elite

The columnist highlighted that the 49ers own the second-best odds to win Super Bowl LIX in New Orleans next year and once again boast one of the most talented rosters in the NFL.

"Quarterback Brock Purdy should be even better after blossoming into an MVP candidate in his second NFL season," Chadiha continued. "A loaded defense will be waiting to see when star linebacker Dre Greenlaw recovers from a torn Achilles in the Super Bowl, but the return of safety Talanoa Hufanga (torn ACL) will help the cause on the back end."

Offseason rumors swirled around the 49ers' wide receiver situation, with many wondering if Brandon Aiyuk or Deebo Samuel might be traded before or during the draft. Both remain on the roster, which will likely remain the case through the 2024 season as San Francisco looks to secure Aiyuk with a long-term extension. San Francisco further improved the talented position group by selecting Ricky Pearsall with the No. 31 overall pick.

Cornerback Charvarius Ward recently expressed his confidence in his team, expressing that the 49ers are among the NFL's elite.

"I think we're the best team in NFL outside of the Super Bowl champions," Ward declared on Monday. "I don't think nobody really messing with us right now. I feel like we clearly got the most talented team in the league.

"It's just when you go up against the Michael Jordan of the NFL, which is Patrick Mahomes, that's a tough matchup. But I don't think anybody really can beat us outside of Patrick Mahomes bringing his A-game like he did in the Super Bowl."

Chadiha emphasized the 49ers' consistent competitiveness, with two Super Bowl appearances and four NFC Championship Game appearances since 2019.

"What also shouldn't be overlooked is that the 49ers had fourth-quarter leads in both of those Super Bowl defeats to the Chiefs," Chadiha added. "San Francisco has been painfully close to claiming a Lombardi Trophy under head coach Kyle Shanahan. With Purdy still playing on his rookie deal, this could be the Niners' last great chance to realize that dream with this current group."
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