Hey, everyone. My apologies for the lack of action on your favorite Minnesota Vikings website over the past day or two, but we’re going to get back into the swing of things as we’re now less than 24 hours away from kickoff of the final game of the 2019-20 NFL season.
(Yeah, it sucks, I know. But hey. . .at least we’re not watching Green Bay this weekend, am I right?)
Anyway, Super Bowl LIV is upon us, as we’ll see the Kansas City Chiefs take on the San Francisco 49ers in Miami on Sunday. I wanted to take an opportunity to throw this out there to give everyone a chance to call their shots and let us know who they think is going to hoist the big silver trophy.
This is one of the lowest Super Bowl point spreads we’ve seen in some time, for what that’s worth. The prevailing wisdom from Vegas has the Chiefs as a 1 to 1.5-point favorite, depending on where you look, and the Over/Under is right at 54 points. The sharps are looking for a pretty evenly-matched game, and with good reason.
When the Niners have the ball
In the six quarters they’ve played since Jimmy Garoppolo was intercepted by Eric Kendricks late in the second quarter of the Divisional Playoffs, the Niners have asked Garoppolo to throw exactly 14 passes. He threw six in the second half against the Vikings, and eight in the entire game in the Niners’ thrashing of Green Bay in the NFC Championship Game. Why? Well. . .because he didn’t have to.
In their two playoff games, the Niners have rushed for a total of 471 yards and have averaged 5.3 yards/carry. When you can run the ball like that, it would be pretty foolish to go away from it, and Kyle Shanahan hasn’t played the fool thus far. The Niners didn’t dominate the time of possession against Green Bay the way they did against Minnesota, but they did pound both of those teams into submission with the run game.
While I’m assuming that the Niners might want to employ a similar style of play against the Chiefs, Kansas City has actually done a pretty great job of stopping the run this postseason. In their two playoff games, the Chiefs’ opponents have averaged about 90 rush yards/game, and the Chiefs held Titans’ running back Derrick Henry. . .who was on as big a roll as we’ve seen in a long time. . .to just 69 yards on 19 carries.
I don’t think the Niners are going to be able to get away with letting Garoppolo have single-digit pass attempts in this one, and I don’t think they can pound away at the Chiefs’ defense the way they did against Minnesota and Green Bay. If the Niners want to win their sixth Super Bowl, Garoppolo is going to have to show up in a big way. Is he up to the challenge?
When the Chiefs have the ball
This is what everyone is salivating over. . .the proverbial battle of the unstoppable force against the immovable object. The Niners’ defense has speed, they have size, they have toughness, and they have an attitude.
The Chiefs have Patrick Mahomes, who has a way of negating all of those things. I know that Lamar Jackson was just named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player. . .but Patrick Mahomes is the best player in the National Football League. And if he had been healthy this entire season, he would have been the MVP this year, too. That’s just my opinion. As always, your mileage may vary. (Also, I like Lamar Jackson a lot because. . .seriously, who doesn’t?)
The Chiefs are going to want to air it out in this one, obviously, as the run game hasn’t been terribly effective for them. Mahomes has been the Chiefs’ leading rusher in both of their playoff wins, and non-Mahomes runners are averaging just 62 yards/game. In the AFC Championship Game, Mahomes was the only Chief with a run of more than 10 yards, and that came on a busted play. The Chiefs have been one-dimensional this postseason, but they can get away with that because. . .well, because Mahomes.
I’m actually kind of fascinated to see what the Niners do with Richard Sherman in this one. Is he going to follow Tyreek Hill around or is he going to match up with Hill or Sammy Watkins or whoever it may be depending on formations and what not? We know that Sherman can still get the job done, but I want to see what job the Chiefs will ask him to do tomorrow.
I really can’t bring myself to believe that this is going to be a blowout in one direction or another. These teams match up pretty well with one another, and their strongest units are matched up against one another when the Chiefs have the football. The Niners offense and the Chiefs defense are both solid, too, but that’s not the matchup that everyone is waiting for.
I think this is going to be a very good football game, and at the risk of pulling out an old cliche, it’s likely going to come down to whoever has the ball last. When in doubt, it’s usually best to lean towards the team with the best player. . .and I think I’ve made it relatively clear who I think that is.
I think the Niners will give the Chiefs everything they can handle in this one, and will probably even have the lead late. And then Patrick Mahomes is going to do some crazy stuff that only he’s capable of doing and we’re all going to be talking about it until next season starts.
Score: Kansas City Chiefs 27, San Francisco 49ers 24 (Chiefs cover, under hits)
MVP: Patrick Mahomes
That’s my call, folks. Who are you all picking to win the big prize on Sunday night?
Who do you think will win Super Bowl LIV?
This poll is closed
Chiefs by more than a touchdown
Chiefs by less than a touchdown
Niners by less than a touchdown
Niners by more than a touchdown