"The Sports Block" 1-31-20
It's Super Bowl time. from Miami. Who is going to win the big game? Find out right now.
The Stack is back on this Football Friday, the last Football Friday of the year. Oh where did the season go? Sunday is the Super Bowl and it should be a good one, perhaps the best one that we have seen in years. We’re here with a breakdown and a prediction for the game so let’s get right to “the stack” for today, Friday, January 31st:
Super Bowl LIV (Miami, FL)
San Francisco 49ers VS Kansas City Chiefs 6:30 PM ET FOX (February 2nd)
Offense versus defense. Defense versus offense. It’s essentially what this Super Bowl matchup comes down to. The 49ers have been one of the top defensive teams all season long while the Chiefs have been one of the best offensive teams. Which top unit is going to come out on top?
How can the 49ers stop the Chiefs offense? The Chiefs have hall-of-famer Patrick Mahomes and they have speed all over the field. Tyreek Hill. Sammy Watkins. MeCole Hardman. They have a great tight end in Travis Kelce, but the 49ers have a great tight end in George Kittle. The tight ends may be wash, because they are both great. Kittle may be a better blocker. It’s too bad we can’t see them on the field at the same time. Anyway, Kelce is a great weapon for the Chiefs. They don’t have much of a running game, but Damien Williams is a receiving threat out of the backfield and Mahomes has shown that he can run. What will win this game for the Chiefs is if they can have some balance running and throwing, but the big reason they will win is if the speed blows by the 49ers secondary which is difficult when you have the likes of Richard Sherman back there. The Chiefs can do it.
For the 49ers, it doesn’t matter how long you possess the ball, because the Chiefs can score fast. But can they score fast against the 49ers defense? Maybe once. I don’t see them having many scoring drives of three minutes or less. The 49ers rushing game has been dynamite in the postseason so far. Raheem Mostert had a fantastic game in the NFC Championship game with 220 yards rushing and four touchdowns. Tevin Coleman had a big game against the Vikings in the divisional round. Don’t forget about Matt Breida too. With all of the movement that head coach Kyle Shanahan uses, they will have a lot of holes to run through, but as the Chiefs showed in the AFC Championship, they can stop the ground game. Just ask Derrick Henry. I expect the 49ers to run a lot in this game and have a lot of success.
You know what else I expect? Jimmy Garoppolo to throw early and often. He threw eight passes in the NFC Championship game and that may have been by design for a while because the 49ers had so much success rushing the football. There are questions though. He didn’t have the best game against the Vikings in the divisional round, but part of that could be because he got dinged up a bit. He’s had to hear about this for two weeks now. Shanahan has. The team has. They’re going to want to send a message. I would not be surprised to see a flea flicker or a deep pass called early in this contest. I think Jimmy G will have a good game. Will he come out on the winning end though?
That I’m not so sure about. The Chiefs defense has gotten much better as the year has progressed. They had injuries on the defensive line, but it sounds like everyone is healthy headed into this game. They’ve kept getting better as the season has progressed. The 49ers started out the year great, but then hit a bit of a slide in the second half of the season. They’re healthy now. They’ve gotten Kwon Alexander back. Their defensive front four is healthy. The secondary is healthy. This 49ers defense is outstanding.
Let’s go through the positions quick before I make my pick. Who holds the advantage at these positions?
Running back: 49ers…no doubt about it. That three headed monster is difficult to deal with.
Wide receiver: Chiefs…though it’s not as big of an advantage as you might think. Deebo Samuel is a beast and Emmanuel Sanders is good as well. The Chiefs speed though wins out here.
Quarterback: Chiefs…come on here. It’s hall-of-famer Patrick Mahomes we’re talking about.
Tight end: Wash. I can’t decide between Kelce and Kittle. I guess if I had to make a decision I would say I would take Kittle, but it is so close.
Offensive line: 49ers…both lines are pretty good though
Defensive line: 49ers….that front four combined for 44 sacks this season. They are outstanding.
Linebackers: 49ers…Kwon Alexander tips the scales here, but Terrell Suggs makes it a little more interesting.
Secondary: 49ers…Richard Sherman gives the edge to the 49ers, but the Honey Badger makes it a close call for the Chiefs.
Special teams: Chiefs…Robbie Gould is good and the 49ers rookie punter is good as well, but I will take a Colquitt and Butker any day.
So, it all comes down to this, my pick. I have gone back and forth on this one several times since we knew the matchup and multiple times this week. Heck, it could change again before kickoff on Sunday. I think the key in this game is going to be the 49ers pass rush. If they can get pressure on Mahomes with only four guys and let the seven guys play coverage, I like the 49ers chances. But, they have to keep Mahomes in the pocket. Don’t let him get out on the run. If they can collapse the pocket around him, Mahomes and the Chiefs offense will struggle a bit. With that being said, I don’t think the 49ers will be able to get pressure all of the time on Mahomes and keep him in the pocket. Mahomes is going to escape multiple times and when he does he is dangerous. He will make several big plays, win Super Bowl MVP and the Chiefs will win their first Super Bowl in 50 years. Plus I picked them to win at the beginning of the season.
Prediction: Chiefs 27 49ers 24
It should be a fantastic Super Bowl, the best one we have seen in years. Enjoy the game and the commercials everyone!
Coming up Monday: Super Bowl LIV reaction