The big game is upon us.
After five months of hard-fought football, the NFL is finally down to two teams. Yes, that's right, the Super Bowl matchup has been set and it will all go down tomorrow in Miami. The two teams vying for the Lombardi trophy are the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers. Both teams were among the best in their respective conferences and have done more than enough to earn their spots in the championship game. Fans are incredibly excited about this matchup and have been debating all week about who will come out victorious.
Some believe the Chiefs offense will simply be too much for the 49ers to handle. Others think the 49ers run-game and elite defense will leave the Chiefs shaking in their boots. Regardless of what you believe, there is no denying this will be an entertaining game with plenty of intrigue for the full sixty minutes. No matter who wins, you truly can't be too upset as these are two deserving squads who have proven themselves to be the cream of the NFL's crop.
Throughout the first three rounds of the playoffs, I predicted who I thought would win each game. Aside from two upsets, I was pretty accurate and we have the receipts to back that up. In fact, coming into the Super Bowl I have an 8-2 record, including a perfect score last week. With that being said, it only makes sense that I would try my hand at predicting the Super Bowl. Before giving my take on who will win this match, let's break down both teams and see how they got here.
Kansas City Chiefs (AFC)
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If you're a Chiefs fan, then you know this season was a bit of a slow build. At the start, the defense was struggling quite a bit as Patrick Mahomes tried to find his rhythm from last season. Early in the season, Mahomes suffered a dislocated kneecap that had him out of the lineup for a couple of weeks. The Chiefs went on a bit of dry spell during this time and lost a couple of games. When Mahomes came back, the team lost to the Tennessee Titans which served as a wake-up call. From there, the Chiefs won the last six games of the regular season and have been on a tear in the playoffs with 51 points against Houston and 35 points against the Titans.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Chiefs are beastly and it's all because of Patrick Mahomes and his multitude of weapons. Of course, Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, Mecole Hardman, and Travis Kelce are some of his most significant. The team finished the season ranked sixth in total offense and averaged 28.2 points per game. Their passing game was nothing short of elite as they averaged just over 280 yards per match thanks to Mahomes' cannon of an arm. When it comes to rushing the ball, the Chiefs were only 23rd in the NFL although that's mostly because they had fewer attempts than their opponents. Not to mention, Damien Williams is picking up steam in the postseason and could pose a serious threat in the Super Bowl.
As far as the defense is concerned, the Chiefs could certainly use some work although they are much better now than they were at the beginning of the season. The Chiefs defense gave up a respectable 19.2 points per game although they were 17th in total yards allowed per game, with 349.6. When it comes to passing defense, the Chiefs were eighth in the NFL thanks to playmakers like Tyrann Mathieu. Rush defense is where the Chiefs really struggled as they finished 26th, allowing 128 yards per game.
San Francisco 49ers (NFC)
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Over the course of this season, the San Francisco 49ers have been one of the most dominant teams on the field and it hasn't been very close. They are one of the most well-rounded teams in the entire NFL and it showed on the scoreboard. The team was able to finish with the first seed in the NFC thanks to a 13-3 record. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo became a bonafide leader who has the ability to manage a game like no one else. Not to mention, their defense was lauded for their pass rush and ability to snag interceptions at will.
In terms of rankings, the 49ers were at the top of the league in almost everything. For instance, the 49ers were fourth in total offense with 381 yards per game and 29.9 points per game. Perhaps their biggest weakness on offense came in the form of their passing game as they ranked 13th. Jimmy G played well, don't get us wrong, however, he was more of a game manager than a playmaker. Luckily for the 49ers, they excelled when rushing the ball thanks to players like Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman. In fact, the team was second in rushing offense as they picked up an average of 144 yards per game.
Defensively, the 49ers were an absolute powerhouse as they finished second in total yards allowed, with 281 per game. They only gave up 19.4 points per match which is significant when you consider their strength of schedule. Thanks to an incredible pass rush led by Dee Ford and Nick Bosa, as well as a high-flying secondary, the 49ers were first in pass defense, only allowing 169.2 yards per game. Rush defense is where the team struggled at times, giving up 112 yards per game, which was good enough for 17th in the NFL. Regardless, the 49ers defensive unit is nothing to be messed with and the Chiefs will be in for a rough game.
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Having looked at both teams, the big question is: who will win? Well, the Chiefs are a 1.5-point favorite although Vegas isn't an exact science. It's been a very long time since we've had a Super Bowl that is such a coin flip in terms of the matchup. These two teams never played each other this season so we don't really have any sort of measuring stick for how these two will stack up. Any sort of analysis can be shattered as soon as the ball is kicked off in the first half. Despite this, I'm at least going to try.
Right off the bat, don't expect a defensive game. Both of these teams have high-flying offenses and that's exactly what you're going to get. The 49ers pass defense has been incredible this season but they won't be able to stop Mahomes and his plethora of weapons. While he may have some early jitters, Mahomes will explode in the second quarter and you'll see the Chiefs thrive from there on as they maximize their aerial attack. You also can't forget that Williams has proven himself to be a dynamic running back, who can find seams whenever necessary. Defensively, the 49ers are in for their hardest game of the season and Mahomes will truly test what they're made of.
As for the 49ers, their ground game will be able to go toe-to-toe with the Chiefs' passing barrage. Expect Mostert to get the vast majority of touches as he is the perfect player to expose the Chiefs' weak rush defense. If the 49ers build an early lead, they will use Mostert the same way they used him in the NFC Championship game against Green Bay. Mostert decimated the Packers' defensive line and left the entire team dejected. If the Chiefs don't contain him early, the 49ers will run rampant all over the field. Meanwhile, quarterback Jimmy G will find himself in another limited role. Against the Packers, he only threw eight times and head coach Kyle Shanahan will be looking to keep the ball out of the air.
Realistically, this is going to be a close game that comes down to the final possession. In those kinds of situations, you want to be able to rely on your quarterback for a big play. Between Mahomes and Garoppolo, Mahomes is the guy you want at the end of the game. Having said that, the Chiefs have the slightest advantage when it comes to winning the Lombardi trophy.
Prediction: Chiefs (35-31)
Who do you think is going to win the Super Bowl? Let us know in the comments below.