In less than one week, the Kansas City Chiefs and San Fransisco 49ers will face off in Super Bowl 54. Heading into the big game, it’s hard to feel confident in picking either team. Both teams share similar qualities that should make this Super Bowl one to remember. History has treated these teams unevenly over the years. The Chiefs are looking for their second Super Bowl in team history, compared to the 49ers who are looking for number six. In this article, we will preview the three biggest Super Bowl 54 matchups to watch for when titans clash.
Three Biggest Super Bowl 54 Matchups
Patrick Mahomes VS 49ers Defense
When all is said and done, the NFL is a quarterback dominant league. Although in 2019 we saw run dominant offenses have success, a dominant passing attack remains unstoppable. Last year’s Most Valuable Player Patrick Mahomes has the most eyes on him on the biggest stage in sports out of anyone in this game. Despite some regression, Mahomes remains one of the most talented quarterbacks the game has seen in just his second season. Kansas City finished fifth in passing yards per game during the season and scored 28.2 points per game (PPG). During the season, the Chiefs were 27th in rushing attempts and were 23rd in rushing yards per game. Because of this, Mahomes will have more pressure on himself than anyone.
Unfortunately for the Chiefs, the 49ers strength is their first ranked pass defense which only allowed 169.2 yards per game (YPG) through the air. Led by second-team All-Pro Richard Sherman, the 49ers won’t make life easy for Mahomes. The 49ers finished fifth in sacks as well, and with a deep rotation of players, fatigue won’t be an issue. Kwon Alexander is healthy again, as is Dee Ford, leaving San Fransisco with a menacing front seven. If there is one weakness for the 49ers defense, it’s their 17th ranked run defense. If Kansas City can take advantage of this weakness, the tides of the game could very well turn to their favor.
Battle Of Superstar Tight Ends
Although they won’t share the field simultaneously, George Kittle and Travis Kelce are going to compete against one another. It goes without question that with the retirement of Rob Gronkowski last offseason, these are now the best two tight ends in football. In the world of modern football, don’t let the position mislead you. Alongside Tyreek Hill for the Chiefs, Kittle and Kelce will be the most targeted weapons on offense. In 2019, Kelce caught 97 balls, finished fourth in receiving yards, and scored five touchdowns. Meanwhile, Kittle put up similar stats, catching 85 balls for over 1000 yards and five touchdowns. Both men are exceptional blockers as well and aren’t afraid to get physical in the run game.
Out of the matchups to watch, this one will be an incredible watch between two dominant masters of yards after the catch.
49ers Run Game vs Chiefs Defense
Much like Mahomes earlier, there is another unstoppable force in this game which is the 49ers rushing attack. A three-headed attack featuring Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman, and Matt Breida was good for 144.1 rushing YPG and helped score 29.9 PPG in the regular season. Typically a committee approach, Mostert is coming off a 220 yard and four touchdown performance and is figured to be used the most of the running backs on Sunday. Behind the Baltimore Ravens, no offense relied on their ground game more than the 49ers did this year. With a stout offensive line that’s fully healthy, don’t be surprised to see the 49ers pound the rock.
Will the Chiefs defense be able to control this unstoppable force? Their biggest issue from last postseason was their pass defense, which has been improved massively. However, their run defense has replaced their pass defense as an issue. They rank 26th in rushing yards allowed per game coming into the game. But we’ve seen them step up to the plate when needed. In the conference championship game, Derrick Henry was held to 69 yards after a dominant eight-game stretch. Their best defensive lineman Chris Jones figures to play, and if he is fully healthy, he will be a key player to watch. The number one goal for the Chiefs should be to make the 49ers have to beat you through the air.
Above are just the three biggest matchups for this year’s Super Bowl. In reality, there are many more matchups that will take place that will also decide the game. The play-calling matchup between two of the best, Andy Reid and Kyle Shanahan comes to mind. This game has numerous layers to it and has the potential to be a classic.
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