Super Bowl LIV: 49ers vs. Chiefs preview and predictions


Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Image courtesy of USA Today.

By Nick Sweis and David Reyes

The NFL season will officially come to an end on Sunday, Feb. 2 with the conclusion of the 2020 Super Bowl. The two teams competing in this year’s Super Bowl are the Kansas City Chiefs, their first appearance in fifty years, and the San Francisco 49ers, whose most recent trip was in 2012.

The Chiefs (14-4) finished second in the AFC Conference behind the Baltimore Ravens and leaders of the AFC West Division with a 12-4 overall record. The San Francisco 49ers (15-3) dominated the NFC this season going 13-3 in the regular season, good for the top seed in the conference.

Below, sports reporters make their Super Bowl LIV picks, with full explanations of each pick and score predictions.

Nick Sweiss, staff writer:

The 49ers handled their business in the divisional round in the playoffs, the NFC championship game, and will do so again on Sunday.

San Fran’s dominant 27-10 victory over the Minnesota Vikings (11-7) in the divisional round was their first playoff win in six years. The 49ers running defense held star Vikings running back Dalvin Cook to only 18 yards on nine carries as the Vikings offense put up a lowly 147 yards for the game. The Vikings rushing attack prior to this game was sixth in the league at 133 yards per game.

San Fransisco did not slow down in the NFC championship game against the Green Bay Packers (14-4) as 49ers running back Raheem Mostert ran the ball all over the Packers helpless defense to a 37-20 victory. Mostert embarrassed the Packers defense with an absurd 220 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns as the 49ers had their way on offense.

Head Coach of the San Francisco 49ers, Kyle Shanahan, is making his return to the Super Bowl as a coach. Shanahan was previously the offensive coordinator of the Atlanta Falcons that suffered a heartbreaking loss to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 51. This time Shanahan is leading the 49ers, the best all-around team in football.

49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo tore his ACL last season and missed the rest of the year. Now he gets the chance to play for the Super Bowl after a bounce-back season with 27 touchdowns, tied for 5th in the NFL to go along with 13 interceptions. He also racked up 3,978 passing yards with a QB rating of 101, eighth in the NFL.

The 49ers defense is a nightmare for opposing offenses. They allowed the second least amount of total yards in the NFL this season at 281.8 behind the best pass defense in the league, allowing 169.2 yards per game, which can also be credited to their pass rush, ranked fifth in the NFL in sacks at 48.

Defensive Rookie of the Year favorite, defensive-end Nick Bosa, and veteran top cornerback, Richard Sherman, led the way on defense for the 49ers. Bosa had nine sacks on the season and Sherman had three interceptions and 11 pass deflections.

Superstar tight end George Kittle is one of the 49ers team captains as he leads the offense on the field with expert blocking and route running. His impact on the team is considered MVP like. He does not boast impressive numbers, as he had 1,053 receiving yards and five touchdowns on the season, but his impact comes in all areas on the field.

The 49ers will face the second-best passing attack in the league against the Kansas City Chiefs and their reigning MVP superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Expect a high scoring game as both these offenses are very tough to stop.

The difference is the 49ers defense, who will come up with some huge plays throughout the game. The San Francisco 49ers will squeeze out a victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in an exhilarating Super Bowl 54.

Prediction: 49ers 31, Chiefs 28

David Reyes, staff writer:

Following Super Bowl 54 and the NFL’s hundredth season, the Kansas City Chiefs will lift the Vince Lombardi trophy Sunday night. The Chiefs have an advantage over the 49ers on two important parts of the game. The quarterback and the coach.

Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid has been a head coach in the league for 20 years, so in terms of experience the Chiefs are in good favor. Super Bowl 54 is Reid’s second appearance after losing to the Patriots in 2005 when he coached the Philadelphia Eagles.

Quarterback Patrick Mahomes has been on fire in the last two playoff games, carrying his team to two comeback victories in a row. On the season, he threw for 26 touchdowns and completed 4,031 yards with only five interceptions.

In the divisional playoff game, the Chiefs faced the 10-6 Houston Texans who were up 24-0 early in the second quarter. The Chiefs then made a miraculous comeback to win the game 51-31. Mahomes completed 321 passing yards and five touchdown passes.

In the AFC championship game, Kansas City faced the 11-8 Tennessee Titans. The Chiefs again went down early in the second quarter 17-7 but again overcame the odds and won the game 35-24. Mahomes completed 294 passing yards, three touchdown passes, even scoring a personal touchdown after a 27-yard run.

Super Bowl 54 will be a high scoring game and the Chiefs offense will overcome the 49ers defense, ending their 50-year Super Bowl drought, and Andy Reid will finally win his first ring.

Prediction: Chiefs 34, 49ers 27