On Sunday, we finally get to watch the biggest game of the year! Get out your popcorn, your nachos, pull out all the snacks. The San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs are set to put it all on the line.
These teams are, in some respects, mirror images of each other. They both want to impose their will on you, keep you on your toes, and make you pay for even a moment’s miscue. So far, no one has had any answers for either 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan or Chiefs coach Andy Reid, two of the best coaches in the NFL. This game could be the ultimate chess match.
Yet both teams are the exact opposite of each other in terms of their unique philosophies. The Kansas City Chiefs have last year’s MVP in quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who at just 24 years of age might already be the best player in football! With weapons like receiver Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce to throw to, the Chiefs have a lethal aerial attack.
Meanwhile, the San Francisco 49ers would love to do nothing but run the ball all game. With one of the best offensive lines in football, Kyle Shanahan would instill a scheme reminiscent of his dad Mike Shanahan, as the 49ers were second in the league in rushing yards on their way to the Super Bowl. They bolstered their defense with defensive end Nick Bosa with the second overall pick, transforming a previously moribund unit into one of the best in football.
Now, both teams do have X-factors. For the Chiefs, their defense is the story of the playoffs; once a liability, this unit has emerged out of nowhere to become a top-ten unit. With guys like Chris Jones and Tyrann Mathieu, defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has managed to get the most out of this unit.
As for the 49ers, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is the guy to watch. All eyes are on him, for better or worse. He often hasn’t been asked to carry this team, so we don’t yet know if he’s up to the task in this game. His stats were okay, with 27 touchdowns and nearly 4000 yards, though he’s had playoff-level games against the likes of New Orleans and Seattle where he was able to put the team on his shoulders. His performance could be the difference.
All in all, this match-up should be fun to witness. There’s so many storylines to consider: Both coaches have a chance to win their first Super Bowl. Patrick Mahomes has the chance to craft his legacy with a win. Jimmy G can show the world he’s not some game manager. Will the Chiefs win their first Super Bowl since Super Bowl 4 in 1970, or will the 49ers bring home the Lombardi Trophy for the sixth time?
This game could also come down to the trenches. If the 49ers defense contains Mahomes, Shanahan could elect to run the ball the entire game. On the other side, if the Chiefs get out to a fast start, it’s unclear if the 49ers can keep up in a shootout.
Ultimately, the Chiefs will be too much for the 49ers to handle. This’ll most likely be a high scoring game, with the Chiefs coming out on top 31-24.
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