Super Bowl LIV weekend is finally here. This one between the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs promises to be a good one. The Niners have been the best team in the NFC all season long. In the AFC, it’s been either the Baltimore Ravens or the Kansas City Chiefs through the season. So, this is the perfect Super Bowl in a lot of ways and should be a tight one. It will also be a high scoring one since both these teams have great offenses.
Kansas City probably has the best quarterback in the league in Patrick Mahomes. The Niners have a great running game and a coach in Kyle Shanahan who is a savant on offense. For all the greatness of Mahomes and his coach Andy Reid, the Niners actually averaged more points per game – 29.9 versus 28.2, in the regular season. Both teams have had an impressive run in the playoffs thus far. Niners dismantled both the Vikings and the Packers in these playoffs. The Chiefs have had some impressive wins including an improbable come back from an early 24-point deficit against the Texans. They were down 24 points in the first quarter and still had the lead by half-time! So, both these teams are coming into this one with utmost confidence and momentum.
Offense versus Defense
Niners are one of the premier franchises in the NFL because of their glorious history in the Super Bowl. Not only are this season’s successful Niners a flashback to yesteryears, so is their game. Their roster is built around defense and a running game just like the good old days. This is not how modern teams are built, but these Niners have successfully challenged the post-modern conventional wisdom in the NFL. The Chiefs on the other hand operate a great post-modern offense. They throw a lot and Patrick Mahome is absolutely electric both with his arm and his legs. Nobody throws better than him on the run either.
This sets up a fascinating matchup between the Chiefs offense and the Niners defense. This will be the strength on strength matchup that decides this Super Bowl. The other half of this matchup will be interesting too, but that would be the weaker halves, relatively speaking, for both teams. I do expect the Niners offense to get the better of Chiefs D. This is mostly because of the elite scheming by coach Shanahan, especially with the rushing attack. But, all eyes will be on Pat Mahomes and how the Niners D try to contain him.
Niners have good speed on defense, but it will require everything they got to slow down Mahomes and the other speedsters on the Chiefs like Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman. If they get some pressure on Mahomes and make some plays like they have been doing all season, Niners definitely have a shot. If they let Mahomes sling it all over the field like he can, they will be in trouble. It’s going to take some elite scheming too from the Niners defensive coaches to contain this offense. While the Niners defensive line is elite, they are a little weak in the secondary. The line has to get to Mahomes before his speedy friends on the edge turn on the jets against the Niners secondary. That right there might be the game.
Both fanbases are hungry and want this one bad. Niners have not won a Super Bowl in 25 years and Chiefs have not won a in 50 years! These are storied franchises trying to get back to the top. It’s hard to make it to the Super Bowl, especially in a league built around parity. Even for a superstar QB like Mahomes, repeat trips to this stage is not guaranteed. It’s quite common for the Super Bowl runner-up to miss the playoffs entirely the very next season. So, it’s hard to overstate the importance of cashing in on this opportunity when it presents itself. Both teams will be ready and should be able to score enough to keep us all entertained all evening. Let’s sit back, relax, and enjoy the game!
My pick, Niners over the Chiefs, 34-31.