The stage is set for Super Bowl 54 in Miami, Florida. Wunderkind Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs will take on the San Francisco 49ers and their tough defense.
This is the third time the Chiefs will play for the Super Bowl, but the first time since Super Bowl IV in 1970. The San Francisco 49ers will be participating in their seventh Super Bowl and history is on their side–having won five. If the Niners are able to win they will move into a tie with the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots for most Super Bowl victories.
The championship games and the divisional round, have featured some relatively boring games. They haven’t been super competitive and the stars haven’t played particularly well, at least not on the offensive side of the ball. After last year’s snooze fest of a Super Bowl, mixed with the fact that one of the most talented superstars in the game is under center for the Chiefs in Patrick Mahomes, let’s hope we get a significantly better product than we did last year.
Here are some of the key points of execution for each team to take home the Vince Lombardi Super Bowl trophy.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs have fallen into a bad habit this playoff of falling into early deficits and relying on their high powered offense to get them out of that deficit. It has worked thus far as they have overcome 24-0 deficit in the divisional round against the Houston Texans and they overcame a 10 point deficit twice against the Tennessee Titans in the championship game. The Chiefs offense is certainly potent and can go off for huge plays, but you don’t want to be facing multiple touchdown deficits against a defense as talented as the San Francisco 49ers.
One of the knocks on Andy Reid in the past has been his management of the clock in close, late-game scenarios. This scary good offense hasn’t been put in too many late-game scenarios, but for Big Red to come away with his first Super Bowl championship he will likely have to shake some of those late-game blunders and execute flawlessly down the stretch.
This Kansas City Chiefs defense has been the biggest question mark of the last two years. It’s honestly pretty simple for them. Over the last two seasons, the Chiefs are 23-1 when they hold their opponent under 28 points and 4-8 when their opponent scores more than 28. Four touchdowns is a lot of points to surrender in an NFL game and for that to be your threshold to win a game gives you a lot of leeway, especially against an average Niners offense.
San Francisco 49ers
The Niners have ridden the stoutness of their defense to this Super Bowl. Ranked in the top five in pretty much every major statistical category, there’s no question as to the reason the Niners won 13 games this year and will be advancing to the Super Bowl in Miami. As mentioned above they are facing an incredibly potent Chiefs offense than can explode at the drop of a dime, if the Niners stand any chance, they will need their defense to show up and show out.
Jimmy Garoppolo will have to make plays. Somehow, in the NFC Championship game the Niners got away with throwing the ball just EIGHT times, IN THE ENTIRE GAME! That’s not a mistake or typo, he threw the ball just eight times in the whole game. That’s because the Packers showed no interest or will to stop running back Raheem Mostert and the Niners run game. While the Chiefs defense is not world-beaters, I don’t think it would be reasonable to expect 285 yards rushing from the Niners and company again. Jimmy G will have a chance to make plays and he will have to make some if they want to win.