Super Bowl 54 Preview

On Sunday, the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs will face off for the Lombardi Trophy in Super Bowl LIV.  It will be played at Hard Rock Stadium, home to the Miami Dolphins. San Francisco recently appeared in Super Bowl XLVII and Kansas City hasn’t made it since Super Bowl IV.  This year, it was no easy task for either team to reach the promised land.  

The Chiefs earned the second seed, which came with a first round bye.  They hosted Houston in the Divisional Round. At one point in the second quarter, Kansas City was down 24-0 and it looked like they’d be receiving an early exit from the playoffs.  Patrick Mahomes never let his emotions get the best of him. He led the greatest comeback in Chiefs history. Kansas City ended up winning by a score of 51-31, due to a 321 yard and 5 touchdown performance from Mahomes.  In the following week, they beat Tennessee 35-24, but the defense was headlining the storylines this time around. Derrick Henry, who was arguably the league MVP in the second half of the season, was held to only 19 rushes for 69 yards per rush (3.6 yards per rush).  Because of this, the Titans were forced to stray away from their run heavy offense. It’s key to strip your opponent of your strength and that exactly what the Spagnuolo led defense did. 

San Francisco was the NFL’s feel good story of the season.  Last year, the 49ers finished with a record of 4-12. As a result, they were compensated with the second pick of the draft and selected a stud pass rusher out of Ohio State by the name of Nick Bosa.  With the addition of Bosa and the first full season with Jimmy Garoppolo at the helm, the 49ers went from a bottom 2 team to a top 2 team. They finished with a record of 13-3, to go along with the 1 seed and a first round bye.  San Francisco hosted the Vikings in the divisional round. The 49ers had a 14-10 lead going into halftime, but the defense really showed their grit and determination in the second half. Minnesota was held to a donut, as they were outscored 13-0 and ultimately lost the game 27-10.  During the NFC Championship against Green Bay, it was all about the running attack for the 49ers. In a game where Garoppolo only passed for a total of 77 yards, San Francisco’s running attack accounted for 285 yards. Raheem Mostert led the way with 29 rushes for 220 yards and 4 touchdowns, all of which are easily career highs for the fifth year tail back.

Kansas City is coming into Super Bowl 54 as the favorite (-1) and they are my pick to win.  Patrick Mahomes will simply be too much for the 49ers to stop, even if they are the league’s best defense.  The Chiefs also have a much more balanced offensive attack in terms of production than San Francisco, who have been extremely reliant on the ground.  Steve Spagnuolo will look to do the exact same thing he did with Derrick Henry and the Chiefs. If Kansas City wants to win this game, they will need to load the box, apply pressure, and force Jimmy Garoppolo to throw the ball downfield.  I will take the Chiefs over the 49ers by a score of 27-24 and the MVP will be Travis Kelce. Yes, I know that Mahomes is the odds on MVP favorite, but he heavily relies on Kelce as his number one option in these high pressure situations. Andy Reid will finally win his first Super Bowl and Patrick Mahomes will add to his early career accolades.     

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