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ESPN: 49ers have best chance to win Super Bowl LIX

May 30, 2024 at 9:04 AM

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The San Francisco 49ers were the NFL's top team last season, according to ESPN's Football Power Index (FPI). However, the Kansas City Chiefs ultimately took home the Lombardi Trophy.

The FPI is ESPN's ratings and projection model for the NFL, factoring in win totals from ESPN BET, each team's schedule, roster strength, and other metrics. Entering this season, the FPI once again favors the Bay Area team, giving the 49ers a 16 percent chance to win Super Bowl LIX. The Chiefs come in second with a 12 percent chance.

"The San Francisco 49ers might have lost Super Bowl LVIII to the Kansas City Chiefs, but they enter 2024 as the best team in football and favorites to win Super Bowl LIX, according to ESPN's Football Power Index (FPI)," explained ESPN's Seth Walder. "The 49ers' edge in quality over the Baltimore Ravens and Chiefs is narrow, but because San Francisco plays in the weaker NFC, its championship chances (16%) are notably higher than any other club's."

The 49ers still boast one of the NFL's best rosters, bolstering their case in the FPI rankings. Brock Purdy is coming off an impressive second season, which saw the young quarterback throw for a single-season franchise record of 4,280 passing yards. He also benefits from one of the best supporting casts in football.

Best chance to win the Super Bowl
49ers 16%
Chiefs 12%
Lions 10%
Cowboys 9%
Ravens 8%
Eagles 8%
Bills 6%
Bengals 5%
Packers 5%
Texans 4%

"We can debate the true division of credit among quarterback Brock Purdy, coach Kyle Shanahan, and the 49ers' plethora of talented skill position players," Walder noted, "but it all adds up to a championship contender as long as running back Christian McCaffrey, wide receivers Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel, and tight end George Kittle remain healthy and productive. The defensive leaders -- end Nick Bosa, tackle Javon Hargrave, linebacker Fred Warner, and cornerback Charvarius Ward -- also return."

The fact that the NFC is viewed as the weaker conference also aids the 49ers. According to the FPI, the next NFC teams with the best Super Bowl chances are the Detroit Lions at 10 percent and the Dallas Cowboys at nine percent. Walder believes this leaves the 49ers with a relatively open path to the Super Bowl.

"San Francisco has a 25% chance to reach the Super Bowl and a 16% chance to win it -- both best in the league," he commented.

Could we be headed for a 49ers versus Chiefs Super Bowl rematch? FPI ranks that as the most likely possibility at 6 percent. A 49ers versus Ravens matchup comes in at four percent. Additionally, the statistical projections have the 49ers participating in the three most likely NFC Championship Game matchups, with a contest against the Detroit Lions with a nine percent chance, and against the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys at eight percent each.

Most Likely Super Bowl LIX Matchups
Chiefs vs. 49ers 6%
Ravens vs. 49ers 4%
Chiefs vs. Lions 4%
Chiefs vs. Eagles 4%
Chiefs vs. Cowboys 4%

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