Super Bowl Preview

George Attwood and Trevi Alickolli

The Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers have earned their right to battle for the National Football League championship in Super Bowl 54. Through the first 100 years of the NFL, this is the first time these two teams will meet in the big game.

The Chiefs return to the Super Bowl for the first time in 50 years, hoping to win their second-ever Lombardi Trophy while the 49ers are hopeful to win their sixth, tying the New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers for most in the NFL.

This championship matchup consists of two of the best teams in the league and few fans are complaining about the matchup. Fans get to view two of the best offenses in the NFL, a dominant defense and perhaps the best quarterback in the league and last year’s Most Valuable Player, Patrick Mahomes.

By all accounts, this is a balanced matchup and most game picks are split. So it is no surprise that the Recorders Sports Editors disagree on who will win this game.

Here is why Kansas City will win and why San Francisco will win Super Bowl 54.

Why The Chiefs Will Win – George Attwood

One of the biggest differences this game is the different styles of play that both teams have. The Chiefs love to spread out the defense and pass the ball while the 49ers love running the ball behind Kyle Shanahan’s scheme.

However, the Chiefs defense seems poised to stop the run for one more game. In the playoffs, the Chiefs have allowed 89.5 rush yards per game and in the process, slowed down Derrick Henry, who was the NFL’s leading rusher this season with 1,986 yards (including playoffs).

Early in the season, the Chiefs 2019-20 campaign felt like a lost cause due to the injuries sustained by Mahomes and others. But Mahomes returned after missing a handful of games, they regained their momentum and everything seemed to go right for them to end the season. They got a first-round bye due to the Patriots losing against the Dolphins in Week 17.

Their luck continued as the Tennessee Titans defeated the number one seeded Baltimore Ravens, meaning Kansas City got to host the American Football Conference Championship.

Mahomes is Kansas Citys engine. He missed two games due to an ankle and knee injury but still threw for over 4,000 yards, 26 touchdowns and five interceptions.

In the playoffs, Mahomes seemed to turn it up a notch from his regular-season performance.

In the divisional round, he brought the Chiefs back from a 24 point deficit to win 51-31. The Chiefs offense was so explosive that they turned a 24 point deficit into a four-point lead all in the span of a single quarter. They scored touchdowns on seven straight drives.

For me, Mahomes is the best quarterback in the league. His ability to affect a game is unrivaled as he can make plays with both his arm and his legs.

The only thing that could stop Mahomes is his own head coach, Andy Reid. If Reid calls a good game and isn’t conservative with his play-calling, then the Chiefs will stand a great chance of winning.

The Chiefs will win the game if Mahomes is allowed to be Mahomes as he has proven he is nearly impossible to stop.

Why The 49ers Will Win – Trevi Alickolli 

San Francisco will win and secure their sixth Super Bowl trophy because they are the more balanced team compared to the Chiefs and can win in more ways than Kansas City. They have proven that all season long but most fans still seem to think they are a fluke.

The 49ers have a franchise quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo who has a total of five career losses, the number one rushing attack in the playoffs with 235.5 rush YPG, the number one total defense (252.5 YPG) and the number one defense against the run (41.5 YPG).

Kansas City has one path to victory and it is through attacking the secondary with speed. However, if a team has only one way to success, that makes it easier for their opponent to take that one thing away.

Don’t get me wrong, stopping the Chiefs offense is no walk in the park but the 49ers defense has been the best in the league this season ad it is time they show it once more.

A path to victory for San Francisco consists of staying true to its identity. Establish the run, let their pass rushes loose and contain Mahomes.

Also, just because the 49ers are a run-first football team, that does not mean they cannot pass the ball. In fact, their passing offense has the potential to be right up there next to Kansas City.

On their roster, they have one of the best, if not the best, tight ends in the league in George Kittle, an explosive rookie wide receiver who can do everything in Deebo Samuel, a veteran receiver who offers playoff experience in Emanuel Sanders and multiple receiving backs that include their swiss army knife fullback, Kyle Juszczyk.

Kittle finished the regular season with 85 catches for 1,053 yards and five touchdowns. Samuel caught 57 passes for 802 yards and three touchdowns while also rushing for nearly 160 yards and another three touchdowns. Sanders was acquired at the trade deadline from the Denver Broncos and he finished the season with 66 catches for 869 yards and five touchdowns.

Defensively, San Francisco is home to the best defensive line in football and one of the better linebacker groups since Kwon Alexander returned from Injured Reserve.

Their sole concern seems to lie in their secondary but if Mahomes is constantly feeling the heat, he will not have time to escape the pocket as he normally does and fire deep.

A good defensive line makes a good secondary.

The 49ers have all the tools to come out as Super Bowl Champions this Sunday and raise their sixth Lombardi Trophy but nothing is guaranteed as they still have to bring their best effort.

Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. this Sunday.