The argument, on the other hand, is not debatable. In a landslide, the 49ers carry a much better receiving core. Deebo Samuel once again had over 1,000 yards when you combine rushing and receiving. He is truly a dual threat and an X-factor. In 2023 he also rushed for five touchdowns to go with his seven receiving touchdowns. That is a scary dynamic when you also have to think about McCaffrey in the red zone.
Then there is the best pure wide receiver San Francisco has in Brandon Aiyuk, who enjoyed a true breakout season in 2023. The former first-round pick accumulated over 1,300 yards and hauled in seven touchdowns of his own. This is likely who L’Jarius Sneed will travel with while a mix of corners and safeties cover Samuel.
Kansas City went almost the entire season without a true number-one receiver, until their breakout rookie wide receiver, Rashee Rice stepped up. Rice wrapped up his rookie season with 938 yards, despite sitting out week 18. It was week 12 though when he became what the Chiefs were longing for.
From that point on, Rice racked up 519 of those yards, averaging 86.5 yards per game through those final six. It was the Wild Card round against the Miami Dolphins where he showcased to the rest of the league that he is a number one receiver. In that game, he brought in eight balls for 130 yards and a touchdown.
Rice did not put up a dominant performance against the Buffalo Bills or Baltimore Ravens, but what he did do was make teams focus on him, which then in turn allowed star tight end Travis Kelce to go for 190 yards and 3 touchdowns across those two games.
Rice has been a revelation for the Chiefs, especially with his run-after-the-catch ability, but the problem is the Chiefs' second and third receivers at this point are Justin Watson and Marquez Valdez-Scantling. Both of those receivers have had their fair share of clutch moments, but when comparing them to Samuel or Aiyuk, it is not favorable.