Super Bowl LIV Preview: Unstoppable Offense Meets an Immovable Defense



Pro-football Hall of Fame

Pierce Munsey, Staff Writer

The biggest sporting event in America is finally here: the Super Bowl.

Football fans and even those who do not follow the sport will gather together to tune into the most-watched televised event of the year. For football fans, this game is the pinnacle of the season, while others will watch the legendary commercials and a usually over-the-top yet entertaining halftime show, which this year features Jennifer Lopez and Shakira.

However, this Sunday the Super Bowl will be different for everybody watching: for the first time since Super Bowl 50, the Patriots will not be representing the AFC. The world is finally given a break from watching Brady and Billechik win the Lombardi Trophy. Instead, the Kansas City Chiefs and their high powered offense will be taking the stage in Miami with last year’s MVP, Patrick Mahomes, at quarterback to lead the AFC. For most NFL fans, this will be the first time they see the Chiefs in the Super Bowl – their last appearance dates all the way back to 1970. Meanwhile, on the NFC side, the 49ers, known for their stout defense and strong running game, will be looking for their first Super Bowl win since 1995. Many remember the infamous “Blackout Game” against the Baltimore Ravens in 2013 when the 49ers fell just short of the Lombardi Trophy, and San Francisco will be looking to make up for their mistakes and return to Santa Clara with the victory. 

As of January 27th, the Chiefs are favored by 1.5 points over the 49ers, and ESPN has given Kansas City a 64.8% chance to hoist the Lombardi. However, I think the 49ers will be the ones celebrating in Miami for one key reason: their impenetrable defense. 

I don’t think the Chiefs will be able to get away with another slow start. In their past two games, the Chiefs offense has looked completely out of sorts on its first few possessions. Drops by receivers, errant throws, and poor blocking give the defense the advantage to start each play-off game.  Fortunately for them, they were able to get by both the Texans and Titans with strong surges later in the game, but scoring will be no easy feat against the 49ers defense. The 49ers gave up the second-fewest yards in the regular season, and absolutely embarrassed both Kirk Cousins and Aaron Rodgers in their two playoff games (The Football Database). The Chiefs cannot afford to waste possessions, and when they do get into scoring position, they need to find the end-zone. Even with talents such as Mahomes, Kelce, and Hill, the Chiefs only scored a touchdown on 59% of their trips to the red zone in both the regular season and playoffs (Team Rankings). This is nowhere near their rate of 73% in 2018, albeit Mahomes did miss a few games this regular season. 

Ultimately, as counter-intuitive as it sounds, the result of this game will depend on how the game begins. If the Chiefs start slow for the third straight game, they’ll return to Kansas City empty-handed. However, if they learn from their mistakes and come out on Sunday guns blazing, they may leave Miami with the win. Still, even a good start for the Chiefs offense does not guarantee a win against this stout 49ers roster, and for that reason, I predict the 49ers will be the winners of Super Bowl LIV. 

Final Score Prediction: 49ers win 34-27