As the 2003 NFL season winds to a close, there is just one order of business left to settle: seeing which team will win Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas.

Will it be the Patrick Mahomes-led Kansas City Chiefs, who are in search of a third championship in five years?

Or will be the San Francisco 49ers, who are out to avenge their loss in Super Bowl LIV to these very Chiefs?

As we get ready for the big game, FOX Sports’ staff of football writers delivers their predictions on who will be left holding the Lombardi Trophy on Sunday night at Allegiant Stadium.

FOX Sports NFL expert picks

Ben Arthur: Chiefs 27, 49ers 24

The Niners have the more complete team, and it wouldn’t surprise me if their offense was able to move the ball effectively against an elite Chiefs defense. But I just can’t count out Patrick Mahomes rising to the occasion on the biggest stage. He had the worst season of his career, but he has reminded the world of his greatness in Kansas City’s run to the Super Bowl (even amid a quiet second half in the AFC Championship Game against Baltimore). If Travis Kelce and Rashee Rice play well enough offensively, it’s hard to envision Mahomes letting this opportunity for a third ring slip away.

Greg Auman: 49ers 31, Chiefs 27

Kansas City’s defense played so well in Baltimore, but San Francisco has too many offensive weapons. Don’t ask Brock Purdy to do too much, lean on Christian McCaffrey and George Kittle, trust the turnover advantage. The 49ers defense forced 11 more takeaways than Kansas City in the regular season, and the Chiefs offense turned it over 10 times more than the 49ers — the difference in turnover margin is 21 in San Francisco’s favor, and not even Patrick Mahomes can overcome that.

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Henry McKenna: Chiefs 28, 49ers 27 

I can’t help myself but pick Patrick Mahomes in a tight game. Kansas City hasn’t played in many blowouts this year. Their defense keeps the score close and Mahomes closes out the game with a score at the right moment. As much as the 49ers are the most complete team in football, they don’t have the best quarterback in football. Argue all you want about whether Brock Purdy is a game manager or a dominant QB or below average. All I know is that he’s not Mahomes. And that’ll be the difference-maker in this Super Bowl.

Geoff Schwartz: Chiefs 24, 49ers 20

Patrick Mahomes or Brock Purdy. It’s simple for me: I’m taking the better quarterback with a coach who has shown himself capable of winning these big games. The Chiefs are playing better football, having beaten the Bills and Ravens on the road, while the 49ers struggled at home to win both of their games on the path to Vegas. 

Ralph Vacchiano: 49ers 20, Chiefs 16

In any other year, picking Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs would be easy. But this hasn’t been like any other year for Mahomes. These Chiefs have been led by Steve Spanuolo’s defense. And while it’s certainly possible that will be enough in Super Bowl LVIII, this 49ers team is probably the most complete team they’ve faced all season. They are loaded with offensive weapons, including the NFL’s most dangerous running back in Christian McCaffrey. And regardless of what anyone thinks of quarterback Brock Purdy, he played most of this season like an MVP. There’s enough in Kyle Shanahan’s offense to push the Spags defense to its limit. And this time, the Chiefs won’t get any late heroics from Mahomes.

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Carmen Vitali: 49ers 28, Chiefs 23 

I’ve talked a lot about never betting against Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes in the playoffs, but if not now for the San Francisco 49ers, then when? The in-game adjustments Kyle Shanahan made in the second half against the Detroit Lions in the NFC Championship Game were seriously impressive, and I’m betting that the Niners defense can manage a takeaway or two to swing the game in San Francisco’s favor, even if it doesn’t start that way. Maybe. 

Eric D. Williams: Chiefs 34, 49ers 27

I picked Kansas City to repeat as Super Bowl champs to start the year, so I will stick with that call. San Francisco has fallen behind the past two games in the playoffs, and I don’t see them scratching back into it against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs if that happens again on Sunday. Kansas City will have a game plan for slowing down San Francisco offensively. Andy Reid and Mahomes will be too much to deal with for the 49ers defense. 

Martin Rogers: Chiefs 24, 49ers 21

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FOX Sports CFB expert picks

Michael Cohen: Chiefs over 49ers

Laken Litman: Chiefs over 49ers

RJ Young: 49ers over Chiefs

These predictions were made by:

AFC South reporter Ben Arthur (@benyarthur)
NFC South reporter Greg Auman (@gregauman)
AFC East reporter Henry McKenna (@McKennAnalysis)
Columnist Martin Rogers (@MRogersFOX)
NFL and betting analyst Geoff Schwartz (@GeoffSchwartz)
NFC West reporter Eric D. Williams (@eric_d_williams)
NFC East reporter Ralph Vacchiano (@RalphVacchiano)
NFC North reporter Carmen Vitali (@CarmieV)
College football writer Michael Cohen (@Michael_Cohen13)
College football writer Laken Litman (@LakenLitman)
College football writer RJ Young (@RJ_Young)

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