Super Bowl LIIV: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida
So now it is down to two. And as good fortune would have it, they are two of the best the NFL has to offer from the 2019 Season. Kyle Shanahan leads his number one seeded San Francisco 49ers to battle the sentimental favorites, Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs.
So why are they the sentimental choice? Number one is because it has been fifty years (yes, that’s a big 5-0) since this franchise has been to the big game. Number two, as much as Andy Reid has accomplished in his career (this will be his second team in the Super Bowl), he has never won the big one. Many fans are rooting for him. Unless you are a 49er fan. Then you could care less about Andy Reid.
The Teams: The San Francisco 49ers
So let’s take a look at our combatants. First off, the visiting San Francisco 49ers. Kyle Shanahan has turned the 2018 four win Niners into the best team in the NFC. They combine a tough, tenacious defense with a balanced offense that centers around the run game. They are led by QB Jimmy Garrapolo, who was initially trained with the New England Patriots, Bill Belichek and Tom Brady. Since being traded to the Niners, he has shown that his time in New England was time well spent.
Under Shanahan’s play calling, Garrapolo controls the offense, taking what the defense gives him. Some days that means relying on the run game. While others, it means he must take to the air. When that happens he tends to look for All Pro TE George Kittle or veteran WR Emmanuel Sanders, whom they got in a trade with Denver. When running the ball they use RB Tevin Coleman or more recently Raheem Mostert. Either way they have a top 10 defense to depend upon. They are led by Rookie All Pro DE Nick Bosa, veteran DT DeForest Buckner, and veteran corner Richard Sherman. Add that up and it gives you a 13-3 record and a trip to the Big Game. After a 4-12 record the previous year, that is a major turn-around.
Teams: The Kansas City Chiefs
Their challenge is the potent offense of the Kansas City Chiefs. Coach Andy Reid has his team firing on all cylinders led by 2018 NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes. With Coach Reid calling the plays, the Chiefs have a high powered offense with multiple weapons available. These include All-Pro TE Travis Kelce, Fleet footed WR Tyreek Hill, veteran wide out Sammy Watkins, and of course Mahomes. When running the ball, they lean on RB’s Darwin Thompson and Damien Williams.
On the defensive side of the ball, Kansas City relies on DE Frank Clark and DT Chris Jones, along with All Pro defensive back Tyrann Mathieu. Their job is to keep opposing offenses down enough to let their potent offense go to work. This worked to the tune of a 12-4 record and a trip to the Super Bowl.
Who will win?
So in an evenly matched game with two great teams, who will be hoisting the Lombardy Trophy? Let’s try to decipher and make a prediction. We were 2-0 in the Championship games so will that help us here? Nope. But let’s give it a go anyway.
This is such an evenly matched game that if you told me that either team had won, I would not be surprised. If there is an advantage on either side it would be the 49ers defense over Kansas City’s. And they will need to play well in order to win. If there’s one thing that the Chiefs proved during the playoffs, it is that no lead is a safe lead. Houston had a 24-0 lead on the Chiefs and 7 TD’s later, they found themselves losing a by a 51-31 margin. The Titans also jumped to a 17-7 lead before going down to a 35-24 defeat (just as we predicted…lucky guess).
However, neither the Texans nor the Titans have a defense like the Niners. It will be a challenge for the Chiefs to successfully scheme to break down the Niner defense. If San Francisco can get a lead, that’s when they let loose the “dogs of war” as Shakespeare would say. That would be Bosa and their pass rush. The X-Factor that the Chiefs have at their disposal is Mahomes. Equally adept at escaping the pocket and finding receivers down field as well as picking up huge chunks of yardage with his feet. In fact, he was the teams leading rusher in the past two playoff games. The Niners have to keep him contained. If they don’t, it will be a long evening.
As for the Niners, they would like to establish the run early and often. If they are successful, they accomplish the two things that Tennessee wanted to do. Keep Kansas City’s offense off the field, and burn clock. They were so successful at it against the Packers, Garrapolo only needed to throw the ball 8 times (yep, only EIGHT times). He completed 6 of them for a whopping 77 yards. But when your run game is cranking out 285 yards, with Raheem Mostert contributing 220 yards on his own, who needs to pass. If they could duplicate that, it would go a long way to securing a win. But can they?
I believe this game will hinge on each teams defense. If the Chiefs can control the running game of San Francisco, it will force Jimmy Garrapolo to pass to defeat them. While he is capable of doing so, he is also more prone to making the ill advised throw than is Mahomes. It would benefit Kansas City to make Garrapolo beat them.
If they cannot, and the Niners establish their run game, their defense is stout enough to hold up. In fact they led the league in rushing defense and were 6th in passing defense. Kansas City was 3rd in rushing defense and 9th in passing defense. As I said, evenly matched. But in the end, I’m going to lean on the Niners defense who I trust a little more. In a close one, I’m going to go 35-28 San Francisco. Although in full disclosure, I do have a soft spot for Andy Reid and Kansas City. But as I’ve said before, I never let my heart over rule my head.
So you have MY prediction. It’s your turn. Who do you think will win the game. Share your expert prognostications with us at Geek Vibes Nation. And I will make this promise, if I am wrong…I will not pick another football game until next season. Geeks Honor.🖖🏻
By the way…if you are a cord cutter and want to try to watch the game, check out Aaron Furqueron’s article.
I am a 50 something child of the 70’s who admits to being a Star Trek/Star Wars/Comic Book junkie who once dove head first over a cliff (Ok, it was a small hill) to try to rescue his Fantastic Four comic from a watery grave. I am married to a lovely woman who is as crazy as I am and the proud parent of a 15 year old boy with autism. My wife and son are my real heroes.