The Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers are set to face off in Super Bowl LIV, as both teams cruised to wins in their respective conference championship games. This two teams create one heck of a matchup, which should be a blast to watch. What follows are five bold predictions for the big game.
Patrick Mahomes will be the story of the game
We all know the Chiefs will rise or fall in the big game based on how Patrick Mahomes plays. If he's at his best, he's unstoppable and could even beat the 49ers' ridiculous defense. But if he gets rattled and plays poorly, the Chiefs will almost certainly go down.
If the Chiefs win, everyone will rave about Mahomes and how he's the next all-time great. If they lose, the narrative will be that the 24-year-old wasn't quite ready for the big-time. Either way, Mahomes will be the story before, during and after Super Bowl LIV.
Jimmy Garoppolo won't need to do much
The San Francisco 49ers have gotten this far riding their fantastic defense and prolific running game. That will continue in the Super Bowl. Yes, they signed Jimmy Garoppolo to a five-year, $137.5 million contract in 2018, but they haven't needed his arm to win games in the postseason. He's thrown the ball just 27 times combined in San Francisco's two playoff games. That strategy will continue in the Super Bowl.
Frankly, the 49ers' running game should be the focus against Kansas City, and if they need Garoppolo to sit in the pocket and throw to win the game, they'll be in trouble. He'll hit tight end George Kittle a few times, but this game will be won on the ground or not at all.
Tyreek Hill will get the best of Richard Sherman
Like him or not, Tyreek Hill is one of the NFL's most dynamic playmakers. He had two big touchdowns against the Tennessee Titans and appears to be getting going after not cracking 100 yards receiving in a game since early November.
Richard Sherman has been phenomenal for the 49ers this season but he simply doesn't have the straight-line speed to keep up with a guy like Hill. The 49ers will have to bracket the speedy wideout, but even so Hill will get free and find gaps. Regardless of the outcome, Hill will get the better of the 31-year-old Sherman when all is said and done.
Nick Bosa will dominate the Chiefs' offensive line
Nick Bosa has been a force of nature during his rookie season, even when he hasn't gotten to the quarterback. If you include San Francisco's two playoff games, Bosa racked up 13 sacks this season. He's also created a number of others for his teammates thanks to the attention opposing offenses have to give him.
The Chiefs don't have a great offensive line and it's hurt them this season. Mahomes faces a lot of pressure, but has limited sacks due to his ability to escape the pocket. But he hasn't had to run from a front as ferocious as San Francisco's. Bosa will own the line in this battle and the Chiefs' offense will have issues as a result.
The game will come down to the wire
The San Francisco 49ers have been the NFL's best team all season and they are completely geared to stop what the Chiefs do. They pressure opposing passers, cover incredibly well and control the clock with the running game. They're a vastly better version of the Titans, who the Chiefs beat in the AFC title game after early struggles. But the Titans don't have the same type of defense San Francisco does.
On the other side of things, the Chiefs have Patrick Mahomes who is an absolute magician with the ball in his hands. You can't ever count them out as long as he still has a chance. This could be a game 49ers dominate for three quarters, but leave Mahomes enough time to come back. The Chiefs have had remarkable comebacks in both playoff games and will have a chance to it again in the Super Bowl.