Super Bowl LIV is just under a week away, and this matchup should be one of the best in recent memory. Patrick Mahomes and the high-flying Kansas City Chiefs face off against Nick Bosa and the San Francisco 49ers elite defense. This game is the ultimate example of what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object. Nobody’s been able to stop Kansas City’s offense at full strength, but the Chiefs have never faced a defense as good as this one.
The Super Bowl odds are basically even. Some of the best betting sites have Kansas City a -120 to -125 favorite and San Francisco a narrow +100 to +105 underdog. Some years, there’s considerable movement as kickoff approaches (see: Seahawks vs Patriots in 2014), but that’s not the case this year, at least so far. The line has barely budged since the matchup was set. Oddsmakers believe the game is basically a toss-up and, evidently, so do the sharps putting their money down early.
Why Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs Will Beat the San Francisco 49ers
They say defense wins championships, and that was true at one point. However, today’s pass-happy rules naturally favor high-powered passing offenses, and nobody’s seen anything quite like Kansas City’s offense. The Chiefs have everything you need to create an unstoppable offense. Andy Reid is perhaps the best playcaller in the league, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce are matchup nightmares, and Patrick Mahomes is playing at a ridiculous level.
The reigning MVP battled injuries throughout the regular season but is finally healthy. He’s back to his 2018 form, throwing for a combined 615 yards, eight touchdowns, and no interceptions during his first two postseason games. He’s erased 24- and 10-point deficits in consecutive weeks and is in the midst of the best postseason run since at least 2006, according to Pro Football Focus. The San Francisco 49ers have talent all across their defense, but there really is no answer for Mahomes when he’s at the peak of his game.
Additionally, the Chiefs match up surprisingly well with San Francisco’s defense. Mitchell Schwartz is one of the better right tackles in the league and should help mitigate the San Francisco pass rush. Richard Sherman is playing some of the best football of his storied career, but he struggles to cover speed. The Chiefs have the fastest group of playmakers in the league as Hill, Demarcus Robinson, and Sammy Watkins all have the ability to take the top off the defense, and Mahomes has the ability to reach any part of the field.
Interrupting the 49ers Game Plan
The San Francisco 49ers made it this far by playing good defense and leaning on their running game. Kyle Shanahan is a fantastic playcaller and gives his running back the best chance to succeed every time they touch the ball. This style of play can be effective when you have the lead, but it’s not good for playing catch-up. Rushing just isn’t as efficient as passing, and you can’t possibly win a shootout by running the ball.
The best way for the Chiefs to stop Raheem Mostert and company is to gain an early lead. San Francisco’s defense may have what it takes to slow down Kirk Cousins and Aaron Rodgers, but Mahomes is far more dangerous than those two. Once the Chiefs get a lead, the 49ers are going to need Jimmy Garoppolo to match Patrick Mahomes in a shootout. Obviously, there is no reason to believe Garoppolo to be up for that monumental task.
This game should be a close and exciting contest between the two best teams in football. That said, the Chiefs should find themselves hoisting the Lombardi Trophy come Sunday night. Kansas City’s passing attack is just too good to stop, and Garoppolo doesn’t have what it takes to match Mahomes in a shootout.
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