Jake Sermersheim | Sports Editor
One of the most anticipated Super Bowls in recent memory — probably because Tom Brady and the New England Patriots are sitting in the couch — the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs will be a barn burner.
The two teams profile differently.
The 49ers rely on a top-ranking defense and strong run attack. Pass rushers Joey Bosa and Dee Ford will put pressure all over Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. The 49ers' offensive line — along with tight end George Kittle — has been dominant over the course of the playoffs.
The Chiefs have one of the most explosive offenses in the league. Led by Mahomes, the Chiefs will look to use their speed to burn the 49ers’ secondary. With pass catchers in Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce and Sammy Watkins, Mahomes has plenty of looks down field.
When it comes down to it, the Chiefs' dynamic offense looks to be a problem for the 49ers. Look for Hill to burn 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman for at least one touchdown.
Final: KC 31, SF 27 | MVP: Tyrann Mathieu
Jake Fogal | Sports Editor
An Andy Reid-led team in the Super Bowl? Did not think I would see the day. Behind the leadership of Reid, Mahomes has blossomed into the future of the league. Following up his stellar MVP season from a year ago, Mahomes is only going to further his legacy with a victory on Sunday.
If someone told me in the off season that the San Francisco 49ers would have been the one-seed in the NFC, I would have said they were crazy.
Now they have reached the Super Bowl and my mind is blown on how this team has made it to the big game. With how ferocious the defense has been, the offense has not had to put the team on the back as often.
Illinois native Jimmy Garoppolo is nowhere near the skill level that Mahomes is, but he does not have to be if the defense does its job. I will give credit where credit is due: the 49ers have had an amazing season, but that ends Sunday.
I have not bought into the 49ers hype this season, as I expected them to get beaten in the divisional round. I do not expect Garoppolo, the rushing game or the defense to save this team's chances of winning the big game.
Final: KC 35, SF 20 | MVP: Patrick Mahomes
Jonathan Barlas | Editor-in-Chief
Looking back on former MVP Mahomes’ second season in the NFL, it seemed as though another second-year quarterback — Lamar Jackson — was the one fans thought would be playing in a Super Bowl.
Although Mahomes wasn’t as electric through the first half of the season, he put up great performances when it mattered most, especially in the playoffs. The Chiefs — after Week 1 — were a 12% (on average) favorite to win the Super Bowl over the course of the season. Their percentage heading into the Super Bowl? 54.6%, according to ESPN.
While the Chiefs’ win percentage skyrocketed after both their divisional win and AFC Championship title, this seems like an opportunity Mahomes just won’t miss out on. With a supporting cast in dynamic offensive pieces like Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill at full health, the Chiefs are in the best position to give a strong 49er defense a run for its money.
As for San Francisco, its key to victory lies in the hands of quarterback Garoppolo. The 49ers rely on their run game, as Raheem Mostert has proven to be the work horse for a rather defensive-minded 49ers team. If Garoppolo complements the run game well, it may be a closer game than expected.
Led by defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, defensive end Nick Bosa and Super Bowl-winning cornerback Richard Sherman, the 49ers’ defense versus the Chiefs’ offense is easily one of the most exciting Super Bowls in recent years. Plus, Shakira is performing in the halftime show.
Also: Bonus points for a Tom Brady-less Super Bowl … FINALLY.
Final: KC 31, SF 21 | MVP: Patrick Mahomes
Alfonso Cerna | Sports Reporter
San Francisco’s defense has been arguably the best in the league all season, but I think the Chiefs' defense is getting hot at just the right time. Kansas City was able to limit arguably the league’s best rusher in Derrick Henry to clinch its AFC title, so because of this I think it'll be able to contain the 49ers' rushing attack.
That being said, I think this game will come down to which quarterback will make big plays in crunch time. Garoppolo loves to sit in the pocket and won’t be on the move, a play style that was able to beat (in my opinion) two overrated teams in the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers.
Mahomes can beat you in a lot of ways, throwing on the run, or scrambling out of the pocket before running for first downs, so I’d have to give the edge to Mahomes and the Chiefs in this one.
Final: KC 30, SF 24 | MVP: Patrick Mahomes
Rachel Hickey | Sports Reporter
There’s no doubt in my mind that this year’s game will be a great one. Both teams are strong candidates in their respective ways. My gut — and many of my peers’ — tell me to side with the Chiefs on account of their dynamic offense this season.
Mahomes is having a historic season and will likely be the MVP of the game. Since these teams are near evenly matched, I have to imagine the score will be close.
Final: KC 28, SF 24 | MVP: Patrick Mahomes
Matt Kalinowski | Sports Reporter
Traditionally, a run-heavy team with an elite defense wins these types of high-variance games because they can control time of possession. In the postseason so far, the San Francisco 49ers have rushed for 235.5 YPG while allowing the fewest total YPG on defense at 252.5.
The Chiefs have a great offense as well, and we’ve seen the trademark resiliency and raw talent of Mahomes in the past month. What gives me pause about crowning the Niners already is their inexperienced head coach and quarterback. If anyone can create a game plan to beat SF’s defense, it’s Andy Reid, who was the Eagles’ head coach in Super Bowl XXXIX.
I expect the Chiefs to sell out to stop the run and force Niners’ quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to beat them, which he hasn’t been asked to do in many games this season.
Final: KC 38, SF 28 | MVP: Patrick Mahomes
Matthew Petrovitch | Sports Reporter
The Kansas City Chiefs will win Super Bowl LIV. The Chiefs' high-powered offense led by reigning NFL MVP Mahomes will find holes in the 49ers' defensive all game long. Head coach Andy Reid will out coach Kyle Shanahan to once again prove that experience in the league does matter and always will.
Final: KC 31, SF 28 | MVP: Patrick Mahomes