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Take a look at the predictions and odds for Super Bowl LV, Chiefs vs Buccaneers.
What: San Francisco 49ers at Kansas City Chiefs
When: Sunday, February 2 at 6:30 pm ET
Where: Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida
How (TV): FOX
49ers +1.5, Chiefs -1.5
Super Bowl LIV (that’s 54 for those of you who don’t speak Roman numerals) is finally here, and it’s a doozy, with Jimmy Garoppolo’s powerful San Francisco 49ers taking on Patrick Mahomes’ high-scoring Kansas City Chiefs at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida on Sunday, February 2 at 6:30 pm ET on FOX.
It’s tempting to think that this is a game against a defensive powerhouse, the 49ers, and an offensive juggernaut, the Chiefs, but that would be discounting how commanding San Francisco is on offense and how surprisingly effective Kansas City has become on the defensive side of the ball.
San Francisco has proven they can win the big games and Kansas City has proven they can come back from being down in any game, so we take a quick, side-by-side glance at these two teams as they face each other in Super Bowl LIV for all the marbles (and the Lombardi Trophy, too).
Head coach Kyle Shanahan’s San Francisco 49ers have been playing tough football all season, and maybe now that they’re in the Super Bowl, their haters can stop assuming that this breathtaking run of wins is based only on luck or a weaker schedule.
The Niners can certainly beat you on the ground, but just when an opponent thinks they may have that stopped, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will find one of his surprisingly effective targets (rookie receiver Deebo Samuel, Emmanuel Sanders, and uber-talented tight end George Kittle) and make them totally pay downfield.
But it’s San Francisco’s throat stomping defense that has football fans talking this season – coordinator Robert Saleh has created a monster squad that can panic and sack quarterbacks at will while shutting down receivers and turning opponents’ run game into useless mush.
It’s a big deal for any team to make the Super Bowl, but an even bigger deal for the Kansas City Chiefs since they haven’t been to the Big Game in fifty years, their last appearance a Super Bowl IV victory over the Minnesota Vikings by a score of 23-7.
Head coach Andy Reid has taken his Chiefs to the playoffs in all but one of the seven seasons he has been in charge in Kansas City, and now he has the chance to win his first Super Bowl as a head coach, his only other Big Game victory as an assistant coach on the Green Bay Packers, who won Super Bowl XXXI back in 1997.
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes is ready for the spotlight (again), after missing out on the Big Game last season, having to sit helplessly on the sidelines and watch his Chiefs lose the AFC championship game in overtime to the eventual Super Bowl champs, Tom Brady’s New England Patriots, leaving a lingering, bitter taste that Mahomes is hoping to finally wash clean this Super Bowl Sunday.
For more on the Super Bowl check out our video: “Super Bowl 2020 Best Prop Picks & Bets“.
These two cross-conference rivals have met 13 total times (including no postseason games), with San Francisco winning 7 of those times and Kansas City winning the other 6 games.
The last time these two teams played was in September of last season when the 49ers traveled to Arrowhead Stadium just to get beaten by the Chiefs by a score of 38-27.
The winner of Super Bowl LIV will receive the highly coveted Lombardi Trophy and players and coaches will each get a fat, expensive ring plus an additional paycheck for their efforts.
The loser, of course, goes home, though each player and coach gets an additional paycheck for making it to the Super Bowl and a fairly expensive Conference Championship ring.
Check out our coverage of: “Super Bowl Winners (Prize Money, Most Wins for a QB)”.
Who’s favored to win this 49ers-Chiefs Super Bowl LIV matchup?
Which team has a better offense? Defense? Special teams?
Which team’s quarterback is more likely to lead his team to victory?
We’re going to briefly compare the 49ers and the Chiefs next and attempt to answer those questions and more.
Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has mostly been used to hand the ball off in the postseason (he’s fine with that if they win), and now he is ranked 10th among his playoff quarterbacking peers, so far completing 17-of-27 for 208 yards and 1 touchdown and an interception in the team’s two wins, completing 63.0 percent of his passes for a quarterback rating of 83.6.
It’s the 49ers’ run game that has them winning ball games and monopolizing the clock, with Tevin Coleman, Raheem Mostert, and Matt Breida all sharing snaps out of the backfield, though when Coleman had to sit out last week (see below), Mostert filled in with 29 carries for 220 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Like every other football team in the league, the 49ers have suffered their fair share of injuries, right now with sixteen players designated to the injured reserve list and more importantly, their star running back, Tevin Coleman, is listed as questionable following the injury to his shoulder that had him on the sidelines for a good part of the NFC Championship game.
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes is ranked 2nd at his position in the postseason, so far completing 46-of-70 for 615 yards and 8 touchdowns, no interceptions, in their two wins, completing 65.7 percent of his passes for an impressive quarterback rating of 131.5.
Of course, Mahomes is only as good as his targets, and they are also extremely talented – receiver Tyreek Hill is so fast he’s known as the Cheetah and his pal Sammy Watkins is no sloth himself, plus they have tight end Travis Kelce who not only helps Damien Williams’ run game with his blocking but who can also catch the ball and run well with it afterwards.
The Chiefs have fourteen players on injured reserve at this point in the season and they have two players who are out after suffering non-football injuries, so it’s definitely next man up for the Super Bowl, plus running back LeSean McCoy and backup quarterback Matt Moore have both been listed as questionable due to an illness, so they’ll be game-time decisions.
The San Francisco 49ers have the statistical advantage on offense, but the Kansas City Chiefs have arguably the best quarterback playing football right now, and at any moment in a game, Patrick Mahomes and his cheetah can turn to the offensive advantage right back towards them.
The San Francisco 49ers allowed opponents to score 19.4 points per game during the regular season, with 12 total interceptions and 48 team sacks, their talented rookie defensive end Nick Bosa with 3.0 postseason sacks himself already.
San Francisco’s veteran cornerback Richard Sherman is leading the postseason with his 2 interceptions, plus he has defended 4 passes and has 4 total tackles, proving that the 31-year old still has the talent (and speed) to get the job done.
The 49ers’ secondary has been hit with injuries – cornerbacks Tim Harris (groin) and Jason Verrett (knee) are both out – and now safety Jaquiski Tartt is listed as questionable with an injury to his ribs, his final status a game-time decision.
Like the Niners, the Kansas City Chiefs’ defense allowed opponents to score just over nineteen points per game (19.2) during the regular season, the team posting 16 interceptions and 45 team sacks.
One guy the 49ers’ Jimmy G had best keep an eye out for is the Chiefs’ gifted defensive end Frank Clark, who has 4.0 sacks himself just during the postseason along with 8 total tackles.
Despite their defense being riddled with injuries this season – eight players on that side of the ball are listed on injured reserve right now – no players for coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s squad are currently listed as questionable, so they should be able to field a solid group for the Super Bowl.
The San Francisco 49ers have the defensive advantage in this one – their front line is vicious and their pass coverage stellar – but now the Kansas City Chiefs (finally) have a defense that can also get the job done, meaning allow fewer points than Mahomes and company can put on the scoreboard.
The San Francisco 49ers will win this game if they can do what they have been doing all season and in the playoffs, which is run the ball so effectively that their opponents’ defense is worn down and exhausted by the end of the game and their opponents’ offense is frustrated and bored from standing on the sidelines for most of those sixty minutes.
Of course, head coach Kyle Shanahan knows better than to count on just his team’s run game (he was surprised that’s how it went down against the Titans last week), so a solid passing plan for the typically quiet Jimmy Garoppolo will also be necessary for a San Francisco win.
The big factor in a 49ers’ victory will, as usual, come from their play stopping defense – if their secondary can cover the Chiefs’ speedy receivers tight enough to give their skull-crushing defensive line a few extra seconds to hunt down and neutralize Mahomes, they could keep high-scoring Kansas City off the scoreboard on their way to a San Francisco Super Bowl win.
The Kansas City Chiefs will win this game if Patrick Mahomes is given enough time on the field and in the pocket (no easy feat against that 49ers defensive wall) because the third-year quarterback has proven time and time again that given the chance, his crew can outscore anyone.
It will be up to Damien Williams to have a big game out of the backfield (especially if LeSean McCoy can’t go, see above) since the 49ers are too good against the pass for the Chiefs to leave it all up to Mahomes’ arm, the goal for Williams being 20+ carries for 100+ yards and at least a touchdown on the ground.
The other key to a Chiefs win will be if their defense (the one that’s raised doubts in the past) can show up and somehow stop San Francisco’s three-headed rushing attack, something that few teams in the regular season and zero teams in the playoffs have been able to do.
The San Francisco 49ers will win Super Bowl LIV because their rushing attack will be too tough for the Kansas City Chiefs to handle (stopping the run has been a problem for KC all season) and the Niners’ bloodthirsty defensive line will make life impossible for Patrick Mahomes.
My prediction for the final score is 49ers 30, Chiefs 27.
For more info on Super Bowl wagering check out our Super Bowl Sports Betting Guide.
Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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