Super Bowl Preview: San Francisco 49ers Must Continue Doing What They Do Best

Super Bowl Preview: San Francisco 49ers Must Continue Doing What They Do Best

by January 31, 2020 0 comments

The 54th Super Bowl will be played at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Fla., this coming Sunday, Feb. 2 at 6:30 p.m. EST. The NFL’s biggest game of the season will feature the Kansas City Chiefs as the home team and the San Francisco 49ers as the away team.

These two teams have faced each other 13 times, with the 49ers holding a slight edge at 7-6. However, the Chiefs have emerged victorious in three of the last four meetings. This game will be the first time the two teams meet in playoff history while also marking the Chiefs’ first Super Bowl appearance in half of a century.

From an all-time perspective, the 49ers have a 32-20 playoff win percentage, good for a 62 percent success rate. Meanwhile, the Chiefs are 12-19 and struggling to the tune of a winning rate of 39 percent.

A quick look at position comparisons proves that the 49ers should be favored entering this game, despite what the betting odds say.

At quarterback, Patrick Mahomes has a higher rating, fewer interceptions, and more passing yards. Jimmy Garoppolo has more competitions on fewer attempts, as well as one more touchdown. The two quarterbacks’ stats are quite similar, but the edge goes to Mahomes and the Chiefs.

At running back, the 49ers have the three-headed monster of Tevin Coleman, Matt Breida, and Raheem Mostert, the latter of which leads the team with 772 yards and eight scores after bursting onto the scene late in the year. For the Chiefs, Damien Williams leads the way with 498 yards and a handful of scores while Le’Sean McCoy and Darrel Williams have also seen time. The 49ers’ running ability has the extreme edge here.

The receiving game is quite fascinating as a tight end holds the top spot on both teams’ receiving lists. Travis Kelce’s 1,229 yards and five scores on 97 catches beats out George Kittle’s 1,053 yards and five scores on 85 catches, but the latter has seen more success in the blocking game than the former. For Kansas City, Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins have been Mahomes’s next-favorite targets. Emmanuel Sanders, Deebo Samuel, and Kendrick Bourne hold those honors for the Niners. In the end, it is fair to say the receiving games are just about equal.

The teams’ offensive lines are roughly equal with dominance in some spots and question marks in others, but the Chiefs’ unit has a larger veteran presence, so they get the edge here.

Defense doesn’t need to be discussed too much because we all know the 49ers dominate this category. Whether it be Nick Bosa using his insane strength to stuff a run or get to the quarterback or Richard Sherman thinking a step ahead of the quarterback to secure an interception, the Niners are superior. San Francisco also features Dee Ford, the star defensive end acquired from the Chiefs. Arik Armstead, Kwon Alexander, DeForest Buckner, Ahkello Witherspoon, Jaquiski Tartt, and Jimmie Ward round out a terrifying defensive unit. For the Chiefs, the defense of Chris Jones, Frank Clark, Bashaud Breeland, and Tyrann Mathieu, among others, is a thrilling prospect, but their ability to stop the run is nearly absent, thus forcing extra problems when the secondary is forced to monitor both the ground and air games.

While the Niners are heavily favored, they aren’t a lock to win. Here is what they need to accomplish in order to be named world champions.

Keys to the Game for San Francisco

  • Use pre-snap motion to open up holes on the ground
    While Kansas City’s run defense is subpar, they can still play solid football and stop the run if they know when to expect it. San Francisco must utilize pre-snap motions to catch the defense off guard and create opportunities for running backs.
  • Create a fair balance of offensive plays
    The 49ers beat the Packers because of their dominance on the ground. While Kansas City has a poor run defense, they can still make big plays when it matters. Thus, the 49ers must create a pre-game plan for how they will split their rushes and stick to it.
  • Tackle Travis Kelce immediately
    The 49ers know how impactful a tight end can be when they pump out yards after the catch. They could finally get a taste of their own medicine as they face Travis Kelce. It’s hard to keep the ball out of Kelce’s hands, so the 49ers need to at least make sure they bring the star tight end to the ground as soon as they can so he doesn’t elude numerous tackles and create big plays.
  • Get to Patrick Mahomes early
    Something that has helped the Chiefs’ offense greatly this season has been their ability to use Patrick Mahomes’s mobility at the right times, not overusing him but also reminding opponents that his legs do exist. While it could be challenging, if the Niners’ burly defensive linemen can get to Patrick Mahomes early, this could set the tone and eliminate the threat of Mahomes escaping the pocket and breaking off a big run too often.

Betting Odds

Moneyline: SF +101, KC -122
Total: +/- 54.5
Spread: KC -1.5

Game Info

Date: Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020
Time: 6:30 p.m. EST
Stadium: Hard Rock Stadium
Location: Miami, Fla.
TV: FOX
Referee: Bill Vinovich
Radio: Westwood One, Sirius, SiriusXM

Prediction

San Francisco 49ers 27, Kansas City Chiefs 21

Andersen is a teenage sportswriter and reporter whose articles have appeared across the Prime Time Sports Talk, Sports Illustrated Kids, FantasyPros, and SB Nation platforms. He has also received credit from RotoWorld, CBS Sports, ESPN, Bleacher Report, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, The Athletic, SB Nation, NBC Sports, NY Post, and dozens of other sports sites for his reporting work.

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