Weather support the San Francisco 49ers at Super Bowl LVII

Can rookie QB Brock Purdy lead the 49ers to a Super Bowl title? Image: Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers have a long way to go if they want to win their first Super Bowl since 1995. Not necessarily because they’re going to face a lot of tough competition – the NFC is on the weak side this year – but because they’ve managed to win four games in a row with Mr. Irrelevant from 2022 in the middle. Before the playoffs, however, that didn’t hold back the 49ers. They’ve won 10 straight games, five of which have come with Purdy as the team’s signal caller. He has yet to record a single game with fewer than two passing touchdowns and has a 119 passer rating since taking on the injured Jimmy Garoppolo. It was a great story, and bettors seem inclined to think it’s more.

How are the chances?

According to OddsChecker US, since the end of week 18 of the regular season, the 49ers have seen a staggering 17.7 percent of bets placed on them to win the Super Bowl. What’s even crazier is that more often than not, these kinds of numbers indicate great odds for an underrated roster, but the 49ers don’t have that problem. They have the third best odds (+500), behind only the Kansas City Chiefs (+350) and the Buffalo Bills (+400). In fact, the team with the second most bets to win the Lombardi Trophy, the Cincinnati Bengals, has less chance of winning it all (+850). Normally I would think bettors would flock to the team that not only would pay out more if they won it all, but were also just one win away from making it last year.

Could weak NFC weather lead to the 49ers?

Is the NFC really so bad that bettors are willing to pay less for the trust that comes with supporting the NFC’s hottest team? It seems so, and they have reason to trust SF’s odds. This year, the 49ers have allowed their opponents to score just 16.3 points per game while having 33.5 points per game with Purdy as quarterback. Over a full 17-game season, that equates to 277 points allowed and 570 points earned. There’s only one team in the Super Bowl era that concedes fewer total points but scores more: the 2007 New England Patriots, who won 16-0 in the regular season.

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Big numbers don’t always get you a Super Bowl win

However, as I’m sure you all know, this team didn’t win the Super Bowl. Of the seven teams that scored 500 or more points but conceded fewer than 300 in a season, five represented their conference in the Super Bowl (the 1998 Vikings and 2019 Ravens did not). Only two actually won it all – the 1999 Rams and the 1994 49ers. By that logic, the odds of the 49ers making it to the Super Bowl should be pretty high, so why is there still a sense of unease about that they win everything?

Betting on Brock?

Purdy is the obvious answer. Despite playing phenomenally well, he’s still a seventh-round rookie. Another factor could be the 49ers’ lack of difficult opponents since Purdy joined the group. Although Purdy faced two playoff teams, he only faced one with a winning record – the Seattle Seahawks. I’ll admit, even as a 49ers fan, that scares me a bit too. With such an inexperienced man at center, it’s hard to come back when the 49ers fall behind early. Since Purdy took over the starting gig, the 49ers have only had one game in which the team was forced to throw the ball more times than it ran — Week 17 against the Las Vegas Raiders. This was a game the 49ers should have dominated. I mean, for heaven’s sake, the Raiders didn’t even play Derek Carr in that game, but when push came to shove, Purdy struggled to pull out the win. Who knows? If Tashaun Gipson hadn’t made that game-winning interception in overtime, the 49ers might not have ended the season on a ten-game winning streak.

Can the 49ers play from behind?

Yes, Purdy eventually made the 10-point comeback, but he should never have been in that position. What happens when the 49ers fall behind against an offense like Philadelphia’s or Buffalo’s that doesn’t give in to pressure and can score consistently against even the best defenses in the NFL? I’m worried about that.

The best of the bunch?

Given the problems every other team in the NFC faces, I wouldn’t be surprised if the 49ers represented their conference in the Super Bowl, but if they were up against the Chiefs, Bills, or Bengals, I’d have a hard time believing they’d win. They’ve already lost to the Chiefs by 21 points this season, and although the 49ers switched to quarterback a few weeks later and might not have been on form at the time, 21 points is still a lot. Yes, Tom Brady and the Bucs beat the New Orleans Saints in the 2020 playoffs after losing 38-3 in the regular season, but Purdy isn’t Brady, despite her low draft status.

The talent is there – but can they pull it all together?

The 49ers have the talent to win anything. That is undeniable. However, the quarterback position is and has long been the most important position in football, and quarterbacks making their first postseason career start tend to struggle.

How rookie QBs have fared over the past few years

Since the NFL changed its playoff format in 2002, teams with quarterbacks starting postseason for the first time have played 24-46, including a miserable 1-4 performance last season (Carr, Hurts, Jones, Murray, Burrow). To be fair, the only QB to win, Joe Burrow, made it to the Super Bowl and was just a Ja’Marr Chase series away from winning that game. I expect the 49ers to beat the Seahawks like they’ve already done twice this year. With that said, the 49ers might have a phenomenal chance after all.