San Francisco 49ers vs Kansas City Chiefs
When: 6:30 PM ET, Sunday, February 2, 2020
Where: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida
Preview for Digital Sports Desk by Gracenote
MIAMI – The Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers bore few similarities over the past few seasons, but a decision by each team in 2017 to upgrade at quarterback laid the groundwork for a collision course on the NFL’s biggest stage. Patrick Mahomes will guide the Chiefs into tonight’s matchup against Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers in Super Bowl LIV at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium.
Kansas City is riding an eight-game winning streak and bidding to win its first Super Bowl since 1970 behind Mahomes and coach Andy Reid, who is hoping to hoist his first Lombardi Trophy despite seven appearances in a conference championship game. “They have a great offense and obviously a ton of playmakers,” San Francisco cornerback Richard Sherman said of Kansas City, which piled up 86 points in playoff wins over Houston and Tennessee. “That’s why they’re here, that’s why they made it to the show.”
While the Chiefs are in the playoffs for the fifth straight season, the 49ers ended a five-year drought behind a balanced offense led by Garoppolo and the NFL’s No. 2-ranked defense to advance to their seventh Super Bowl — and first since the 2012 season. “They’re good everywhere,” Mahomes said. “They play off each other, they know the scheme, they do it well. So for us it’s about going through the process, going through the game plan and just executing the plays when coach Reid calls them.”
TIME: 6:30 p.m. ET. TV: FOX. LINE: Chiefs -1.5. O/U: 54.5
ABOUT THE 49ERS (15-3): The third team to reach the Super Bowl after winning four or fewer games the previous season, San Francisco averaged 235.8 yards rushing in routing Minnesota (27-10) and Green Bay (37-20). Garoppolo has passed for only 208 yards in the postseason, attempting a mere eight passes in the NFC title game, while running back Raheem Mostert gashed the Packers for 220 yards and four touchdowns to give him 11 rushing scores in his last eight contests. Garoppolo showed he can go head-to-head with the NFL’s elite, throwing for 349 yards and four TDs in a 48-46 win at New Orleans on Dec. 8, and has an outstanding tight end in George Kittle, who has 173 catches over the past two seasons. Rookie Nick Bosa, part of an stellar defensive front, has 9.0 sacks in the regular season and 3.0 in the playoffs.
ABOUT THE CHIEFS (14-4): Mahomes, who saw his MVP-winning season end with an overtime loss to New England in the AFC title game a year ago, has thrown for 19 touchdowns versus four interceptions since missing two games with a knee injury, including eight scores and zero picks in the playoffs. Mahomes guided Kansas City to 41 unanswered points to erase a 24-point deficit versus Houston and rallied his team from 10 points down against Tennessee, adding a spark to the offense with 53 yards rushing in each win. Speedster Tyreek Hill caught two scoring passes in the AFC title game while Travis Kelce, the only tight end with four straight 1,000-yard seasons, had three TD receptions in the playoff opener. Frank Clark has 4.0 sacks in the two playoff wins for a defense that allowed 10.4 points over the last five regular-season games.
- The 49ers allowed a league-low 169.2 yards passing in the regular season while Kansas City is averaging 419.0 total yards in the playoffs.
- Mahomes needs three TD passes to tie the playoff record of 11 held by Joe Montana, Kurt Warner and Joe Flacco.
- San Francisco can tie New England and Pittsburgh for the most Super Bowl victories with six.
PREDICTION: Chiefs 27, 49ers 23