Brandon Aiyuk might be 49ers' biggest X-factor vs. Chiefs

He might not be the most famous wide receiver on the 49ers. But Brandon Aiyuk could make himself a household name against the Chiefs in Super Bowl 58.
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11)
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11) / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

Sunday, Feb. 11. 124. 49ers -1.5. 12-5. CBS. 6:30 p.m. ET. 42. 49ers-Chiefs opening. 11-6

The way the Chiefs play defense could mean 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk goes off in Super Bowl 58.

Deebo Samuel is the unquestioned most notable wide receiver on the San Francisco 49ers roster.

While he's been discussed aplenty in the leadup to Super Bowl 58 against the Kansas City Chiefs, Samuel might not be the No. 1 weapon at Niners quarterback Brock Purdy's disposal.

No, it's likely that fellow wideout Brandon Aiyuk winds up filling that role.

There are two factors that work in Aiyuk's favor, and both should be on display when San Francisco and KC square off against each other in the Super Bowl.

49ers WR Brandon Aiyuk could have MVP-like Super Bowl vs. Chiefs

Kansas City boasts a top-three defense. That'll be tough for Purdy, Aiyuk and the 49ers offense, especially through the air. Another one of KC's top strengths is its secondary.

One of defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo's strategies is to blitz frequently and often, which is made possible by having an elite-level defensive backfield. Kansas City blitzes on nearly a third of their defensive plays, 32.9 percent, which was seventh most in the league during the regular season.

Purdy is an X-factor at beating this, as Next Gen Stats pointed out:

But that's where Aiyuk also adds an element that works in San Francisco's favor.

A caveat of blitzing a lot is that defenses have to play more man coverage. With extra rushers, there are more one-on-one coverages.

Aiyuk is the 49ers' best man-coverage beater, bar none. During the regular season, he notched a career-best and team-high 1,342 receiving yards but wasn't named to the Pro Bowl because he lacked the name recognition of Samuel.

Considering the Chiefs' defensive style, Aiyuk has a golden opportunity to change that when the Super Bowl kicks off on Feb. 11.

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