The Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers are set to face off in Super Bowl 54. The game will take place at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Florida. This will mark the Chiefs’ first Super Bowl appearance in 50 years while the 49ers first appearance on the final stage since it lost to the Baltimore Ravens in 2012.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, February 2, 6:30 p.m. Fox
The Chiefs got off to a hot start in 2018 and were crowned Super Bowl favorites by many early on. Patrick Mahomes put together an MVP season in his first year as a starter by throwing for more than 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns. Kansas City’s dynamic offense wasn’t able top overcome the New England Patriots in the playoffs though. But it wasn’t deterred by failure.
Fast forward a year. The Chiefs parted ways with a star running back in Kareem Hunt, but remained dominant because of the emergence of Damien Williams and continued excellence of Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and Tyreek Hill. Defense has been a weak point for the Chiefs in recent years, but their front line was enough to limit the the Tennessee Titans’ Derrick Henry to 69 rushing yards in the AFC title game. The offseason acquisition of Tyrann Mathieu at safety helped them build a sturdy secondary. However, they remained under the radar for a good chunk of the year because of teams like the Ravens and 49ers. Kansas City has proved that few teams can keep up with its scoring pace. It should be challenged by San Francisco’s elite defensive line and stingy defensive backs though.
The 49ers weren’t close to being a good team last season, and injuries played a big part in that. Their starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo tore and feature running back Jerick McKinnon both tore ACLs. Missing those key pieces led San Francisco to finish the year 4-12 and gave it a chance to bolster its offensive line by adding defensive end Nick Bosa through the 2019 NFL Draft. Garoppolo returned from injury in 2019 and got more help on offense from 2019 draftee in wideout in Deebo Samuel, veteran receiver Emmanuel Sanders, and a host of new running backs. San Francisco scored more points than every team but the Ravens during the regular season and have continued to run the score up against the opposition in the playoffs.
The 49ers might need a new approach against the Chiefs, as its offense has been dependent upon a trio of running backs so far this postseason. But Tevin Coleman was knocked out of the NFC title game with a shoulder injury. Matt Breida has been used sparingly, so Raheem Sterling will have to put together a strong performance against a Kansas City defense that just contained the best power runner in football in the AFC title game. San Francisco doesn’t seem to trust Garoppolo’s arm much, as the quarterback threw the ball a measly eight times against the Packers on Sunday. San Francisco can score, but going toe to toe with the Chiefs’ lethal passing attack isn’t easy.