Super Bowl Prediction: Why the 49ers Will Beat the Chiefs

Written by on February 2, 2020

MIAMI — Narratives can push into the absurd within the N.F.L. playoffs, when many followers and journalists, regardless of how passionate they declare to be, are sometimes seeing groups for the primary time that season. It’s a state of affairs that results in issues like this Tremendous Bowl being conveyed by some as a cut-and-dried case of offense (Kansas Metropolis) versus protection (San Francisco), when in actuality the 49ers scored extra factors than the Chiefs through the common season (479 to 451), whereas the Chiefs allowed fewer factors than the 49ers (308 to 310).

San Francisco just isn’t almost as depending on its operating sport because it has proven in two blowout wins, and Kansas Metropolis just isn’t almost as stout towards the run because it appeared whereas bottling up Tennessee’s Derrick Henry two weeks in the past. There are many causes that oddsmakers gave the sport a degree unfold of lower than 2 for simply the fourth time in Tremendous Bowl historical past, and a detailed look reveals paths to victory for each groups.

Right here is our prediction for the Tremendous Bowl.

Common season file towards the unfold: 136-115-5

Postseason file towards the unfold: 6-3-1

6:30 p.m. Jap, Fox | Line: Chiefs -1.5 | Whole: 54.5

Coach Kyle Shanahan appeared flustered this week when going through questions on San Francisco’s capability to go the ball. The 49ers galloped for a mixed 471 speeding yards in straightforward wins over Minnesota and Inexperienced Bay whereas passing for simply 191, which led to a collective case of amnesia about the truth that quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo had completed his first full season as a starter with 3,978 passing yards and 27 touchdowns.

If something, the overemphasis on San Francisco’s operating would appear to play into Shanahan’s general technique of designing performs that all look the same at the line of scrimmage however unfurl in numerous methods. Make no mistake, the 49ers like to run the ball, with their 2,305 common season speeding yards trailing solely Baltimore. However nearly each play that has led to a giant run for Raheem Mostert or Tevin Coleman over the previous couple of weeks has a corresponding play that appears almost equivalent in setup however leads to a catch-and-run by tight finish George Kittle or a deep go to broad receivers Emmanuel Sanders or Deebo Samuel.

And whereas the 49ers are considered by way of extraordinarily lengthy throws, Garoppolo confirmed all through the common season that he was greater than comfy along with his arm, finishing 58.1 p.c of his passes that traveled greater than 20 yards within the air — no different quarterback within the N.F.L. topped 50 p.c. The Los Angeles Rams, who San Francisco supplanted as N.F.C. champions, can attest to Garoppolo’s capability to win along with his arm, because the game-winning drive towards them in Week 16 was prolonged because of a third-and-16 play through which Garoppolo, beneath stress from the Los Angeles protection, launched a rocket 47 yards down the sphere to a wide-open Sanders.

So how does Kansas Metropolis’s protection, which was a lot improved from final season’s sievelike unit, strategy a staff that may masks what it’s doing in addition to any staff within the sport? That course of will begin with security Tyrann Mathieu, a free agent addition over the low season who is among the most uniquely gifted gamers within the sport by way of sniffing out run or go and having the ability to thrive regardless of which method issues play out.

Kansas Metropolis’s protection is crammed with gamers of the good-not-great selection, with Mathieu and defensive deal with Chris Jones being the one two that could possibly be described as elite, however as a bunch they do their jobs effectively sufficient that Mathieu’s capability to freelance and fill in gaps makes them pretty harmful on each play.

Everybody is aware of what Patrick Mahomes brings to the desk, and nobody has been capable of cease him. Certain, the third-year quarterback has misplaced eight instances in 35 profession begins (together with the playoffs), however these losses fall on the toes of Kansas Metropolis’s protection, as Mahomes’s groups have been held to fewer than 20 factors simply as soon as, whereas they’ve topped 30 factors 23 instances. They’ve averaged 37 factors in 4 playoff video games.

Mahomes has finished this by being good at completely every thing. He strikes within the pocket effectively, he reads defenses effectively, he throws the ball with energy and accuracy — sometimes executing no-look passes, and as soon as throwing the ball along with his left hand — and he has the velocity to burn a staff along with his legs every time he chooses.

Kansas Metropolis has him surrounded with gamers who can make the most of his items. Broad receivers Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins and Mecole Hardman have game-changing velocity, tight finish Travis Kelce is each a terrific security valve and likewise a official big-play menace, and whereas operating again Damien Williams doesn’t put up persistently large speeding numbers, he can run, catch the ball and assist in go safety.

The most important matchup of the sport, nevertheless, is San Francisco’s star-studded defensive entrance towards Kansas Metropolis’s offensive line. Anchored on the sides by left deal with Eric Fisher and proper deal with Mitchell Schwartz, the Chiefs’ line allowed stress on an N.F.L.-best 9.Three p.c of dropbacks, almost all the time giving Mahomes greater than three seconds to survey his choices downfield. San Francisco’s protection doesn’t blitz fairly often, however they don’t have to because of the velocity and power of Nick Bosa and Dee Ford, and the scale and energy of DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead.

Like most quarterbacks, Mahomes will do his greatest to keep away from Richard Sherman, who was rated as the highest protection cornerback within the N.F.L. by Professional Soccer Focus this season. Sherman could surrender a step in velocity to Kansas Metropolis’s Corvette-like broad receivers, however he greater than makes up for that with intelligence and execution. The benefit of wanting away from Sherman has been lessened, nevertheless, by the emergence of cornerback Emmanuel Moseley, who has proved to be a significantly better complement to Sherman than Akhello Witherspoon was.

San Francisco is certainly weaker towards the run than it’s towards the go, and the staff appeared to have a selected deficiency towards cell quarterbacks. The 49ers’ three losses got here towards Lamar Jackson of the Ravens, Russell Wilson of the Seahawks, and — this isn’t a joke — Matt Ryan of the Falcons, who ran for 27 pretty very important yards in Week 15. Whereas the 49ers received each of their video games towards Arizona, the Cardinals’ rookie quarterback Kyler Murray additionally appeared to fluster San Francisco with a capability to make use of his legs to avoid wasting a damaged play.

Mahomes goes to get his factors and his passing yards — Mahomes all the time will get his factors and his passing yards — however the Chiefs won’t be able to run away with issues because of San Francisco’s capability to cater its offensive sport plan to what’s engaged on any given day. The Chiefs challenged quarterback Ryan Tannehill to beat them within the A.F.C. championship sport by placing an enormous emphasis on stopping Derrick Henry, however such a method would backfire terribly towards the 49ers. And whereas Mahomes is an underrated menace along with his legs, he prefers designed runs to scrambles, which performs extra to San Francisco’s strengths.

Oddsmakers had been proper to make this a detailed name, and some breaks both method might simply resolve the sport for both staff. The clearest path to a win, assuming each groups play effectively, is for San Francisco’s line of defense to hurry Mahomes into just a few less-than-ideal throws, which might result in an interception, whereas doubtlessly arising with a strip-sack alongside the way in which. If they’ll do this, the 49ers ought to have their first Tremendous Bowl win for the reason that 1994 season.

49ers 30, Chiefs 27

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