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Super Bowl LIV Preview; Kansas City Chiefs vs San Francisco 49ers

Super Bowl LIV is going to be one for the ages.  This matchup will be between the AFC’s Kansas City Chiefs and the NFC’s San Francisco 49ers.  The Chiefs were the number two AFC seed heading into this year’s NFL Playoffs.  They had a bye in the Wild Card round and defeated the Houston Texans and the Tennessee Titans on their way to the Super Bowl.

As for the San Francisco 49ers, they were the number one seed on the NFC side.  They had a bye in the Wild Card round, defeated the Minnesota Vikings and then the Green Bay Packers en route to the Super Bowl.  This game will be the ultimate battle between the Niners’ elite defense and the Chiefs’ juggernaut offense.

The two main stars of this game are each team’s best player.  For the Chiefs, that’s Patrick Mahomes, former NFL MVP and one of the best young quarterbacks in the league.  Mahomes has the rare ability of both being a pocket passer and being able to make plays with his ingenuity and legs.

On the other side, Nick Bosa has burst onto the scene as one of the best defensive ends in the game.  Although he is a rookie and a former number two overall pick, Bosa is playing well beyond his years.  Bosa is so important to this defense because he is the ultimate gamebreaker on the defensive line.

Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs didn’t make it easy on themselves, but the combination of their tenacity when down and being able to host the AFC Championship Game played into their favor.  Luckily for them, the number one seed Baltimore Ravens were eliminated in the AFC Divisional Game by their AFC Championship opponent, the Tennessee Titans.

The Chiefs went down 24-0 to the Houston Texans at home in the Divisional Game.  They rallied all the way back, scoring 28 points in the second quarter and winning the game 51-31.  In the Championship Game, they came back from a 17-7 deficit against the Titans to win the game 35-24.

This team is led by their dynamic offense.  Some of the weapons on the offense include LeSean McCoy, Damien Williams, Tyreek Hill, Mecole Hardman and Sammy Watkins.  Patrick Mahomes had a subpar season for his standards but he was hurt for a few weeks and has looked excellent over the past few weeks.

On defense, their best player in Tyrann Mathieu.  The “Honey Badger” has rejuvenated his career with the Chiefs after becoming one of the best young cornerbacks with the Arizona Cardinals for years.

X-Factor

The X-Factor for the Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV will be Tyreek Hill.  The Chiefs’ inability to run the ball didn’t hinder them much because Patrick Mahomes made plays with his legs and found Hill multiple times for long touchdowns.

Hill will be used in almost all capacities.  He can take the ball out of the backfield in any kind of pistol formation or quick pitch, and is always a threat for a go-route.  The 49ers do not give up long plays but if Hill can get behind the stout Niners’s defense, it could be the difference.

The Chiefs will win if

The Chiefs will win Super Bowl LIV if they don’t fall behind the Niners early.  The story of their postseason so far has been the comeback victory.  They came back from 24 down against the Texans and ten down against the Titans.

They absolutely cannot afford to fall behind against the Niners.  The San Francisco defense is the best in the league and the main reason why they’re in the Super Bowl.  Patrick Mahomes will need to navigate the Chiefs down the field and use some of his razzle dazzle to make unorthodox plays.

San Francisco 49ers

The Niners made it to the Super Bowl using old-school tactics.  They play excellent defense and instill their will upon the opposing defenses they face.  Their offensive line is underrated and Raheem Mostert has had a season no one saw coming.  Coming off a 220 yard, four touchdown performance, Mostert will be relied upon to run the rock.

Jimmy Garoppolo hasn’t needed to do much at quarterback but he’s been efficient.  The Niners have some weapons but not nearly as many as the Chiefs.  They will rely upon Nick Bosa, Dee Ford and the rest of their swarming defense to hold the Chiefs down in this game.

X-Factor

The X-Factor for the 49ers is Dee Ford.  The former Kansas City Chief is finally in the Super Bowl after an unfortunate mishap in last year’s AFC Championship Game.  The Chiefs had the AFC Championship sealed last season when Ford went offsides on a third and five against the New England Patriots.  Tom Brady took that opportunity and led the Pats down the field to victory.

Ford will be relied upon because Nick Bosa will be double, maybe even triple teamed all night.  Bosa will rely on his partner on the other side of the line to pull stunts, make Patrick Mahomes uncomfortable and keep him in the pocket.  If Ford can accomplish that, the Niners will be in good shape.

The San Francisco 49ers will win if

The Niners will win Super Bowl LIV if Jimmy Garoppolo doesn’t turn the ball over.  The Chiefs aren’t known for their defense, but they’ll be honing in on the elite rushing attack of the Niners.  That means San Fran will need to have Garoppolo make at least a few big plays down the field to win this game.

He doesn’t need to be Aaron Rodgers, but he can’t throw interceptions or put the Niners’ defense in compromising positions.  Jimmy G is a bit of an unknown in this game as he hasn’t really shown what he can do thus far.  This will be the game to prove it, on the biggest stage in all of sports.

Prediction

Chiefs 31, 49ers 30

This game is going to be a tight one.  Vegas is usually spot on with their opening lines, and they won’t disappoint once again.  The Chiefs are built on their offense and there’s a reason why they haven’t really been slowed down this season.

The key will be if the Chiefs can stop Raheem Mostert.  I can’t see Garoppolo being able to push the ball down the field enough to give the Niners a chance to keep up with the Chiefs’ offense.  They are an elite team, but they play a very specific kind of game.  The Chiefs’ offense is too dynamic to stop and thus will win Super Bowl LIV with their offense.

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Chris Passarelli
Football Editor - Hockey Editor - New York Islanders Lead Writer - New York Lizards Lead Writer - UConn Football Lead Writer
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