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Super Bowl preview: Chiefs face Niners in Super Bowl LIV rematch

(Photo courtesy of USA Today) “Patrick Mahomes and Brock Purdy”

Jake Messer
Connector Staff


After yet another exciting season of football, the stage is set for Super Bowl LVIII (58). The Kansas City Chiefs will face off against the San Francisco 49ers to determine who will be this year’s champion. The game will kick off at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, February 11. The venue for this year’s Super Bowl is Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.

To clinch a spot in America’s Game, both teams have had to battle through huge amounts of adversity this postseason. The Chiefs, who ended the regular season as AFC West Champions, were seen as weak and vulnerable to the top teams in the conference. This was due to a 5-5 record in their last 10 games. Even in the games they did win, it was either in one score games or against considerably weaker opposition. However, since the start of the postseason, the Chiefs have returned to form and have played like their status as defending Super Bowl champions.

In the wildcard round, they dismantled the Miami Dolphins 26-7 at home. With conditions below zero degrees throughout the game, the Chiefs defense froze one of the league’s hottest offenses in the Dolphins. Next up was their biggest rival, the Buffalo Bills. In what would be quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ first road playoff game, many believed he would struggle in a hostile environment. This wasn’t the case, as Mahomes went 17/23, throwing for 215 yards and a pair of touchdowns to walk out of Buffalo with a victory.

In the AFC Championship, the Baltimore Ravens, the favorites to make it to the Super Bowl, found out why the Chiefs can never be taken lightly. With the defense holding MVP candidate Lamar Jackson at bay, and Mahomes throwing for 241 yards and a touchdown, the Chiefs won 17-10. This victory marks the Chiefs’ fourth Super Bowl in the last five years, two of which they walked out the victors. This Sunday, the Chiefs look to cement this run as a dynasty and in order to do so, they’ll have to defeat the NFC Champions, the San Francisco 49ers.

Ever since the season began, the 49ers have been regarded as one of the best teams in the NFL. With a premier offense led by two MVP candidates, quarterback Brock Purdy and running back Christian McCaffrey, coupled with a stout defense lead by edge rusher Nick Bosa, many saw them as Super Bowl favorites by the end of the regular season. Finishing with a 12-5 record was not only good enough to crown them NFC West Champions, but the number one seed in the NFC as well, which gave them a bye in the first round of the playoffs. The 49ers used this extra week of rest and preparation to beat the Green Bay Packers 24-21, led by McCaffrey, who rushed for 98 yards and 2 touchdowns on 17 carries, and a defense that was able to generate two crucial interceptions pushed them through to the NFC Championship game.

Next up was the Detroit Lions. After a wildly entertaining game between the two sides, the 49ers clinched a spot in the Super Bowl with a 34-31 victory. The 49ers had a sluggish first

half and fell behind 24-7. Just when it seemed like the Lions were about to pull away, the 49ers came roaring back. Sparked by a 51 yard circus catch by wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, the team went on to score 27 unanswered points, which the Lions could not overcome.

With a spot in the Super Bowl clinched, the 49ers look to validate their believers by winning the franchise’s sixth Super Bowl, which would tie them with the New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers for most in NFL history. For the Chiefs, their biggest point of emphasis on Sunday is to stop the 49ers from controlling the game through their ground game.

The 49ers have the league’s best running back in McCaffrey, who has amassed 188 rushing yards with four touchdowns this postseason. The more successful they are running the ball, the more time they’ll have possession, which in turn will lead to less opportunities for Mahomes and company. The sooner they can force 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy to throw, the better off they will be in the grand scheme of things.

As for the 49ers, their key to success is creating turnovers. Mahomes has been sharp when passing the ball this postseason, so sharp that he hasn’t thrown an interception all postseason. Every time their defense can get to Mahomes and create a takeaway, it is one less opportunity for the Chiefs to score. In short, defense is the x-factor at this year’s Super Bowl. The defense that makes the least amount of mistakes will give their team the best chance of being crowned champions.

Prediction: 49ers 28 Chiefs 24

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