Previewing Super Bowl LIV
Super Bowl LIV is here and while we may not have gotten here in the way anyone expected (the Patriots and the Ravens both missed out on the AFC title game), the San Francisco 49ers are set to take on Kansas City Chiefs on February 2nd in Miami.
From a purely offensive point of view, it appears that the Chiefs will own the game, especially when you compare the two quarterbacks’ most recent showings. While Patrick Mahomes threw for 294 yards and three touchdowns in his conference championship, Jimmy Garopollo completed a mere six passes for 77 yards, forcing his team to rely on their outstanding run game to outscore the Packers.
The numbers may suggest that the Chiefs’ air game matches the 49ers ground game, the fact that the 49ers don’t appear to have a passing game doesn’t leave much room for optimism in San Francisco.
On the defensive front, the Chiefs seem to have finally figured something out, bouncing back from being the 31st ranked total defense. Looking at Mahomes’ stats, it’s hard to believe that the Chiefs have yet to reach the Super Bowl with him at the helm. But for as good as he made their offense, their defense has been just as bad. In comes Steve Spagnuolo, the first-year defensive coordinator who flipped Kansas City’s defence on its head and made them something to fear.
In San Francisco, Robert Saleh has made his mark in his third season as DC, and he’s had to compensate for Garopollo’s mediocre numbers.
Last year’s Super Bowl was a low-scoring affair because Bill Belichick finally gave Goff something he couldn’t handle, but could this year’s follow suit because of a defensive stalemate? Or will the two Pro-Bowl caliber defences give way for opposite offences to flourish?
Originally Published in Bandersnatch Vol.49 Issue 08 on January 29th, 2020