Super Bowl 54 preview


Photo provided by NFL public media

Kenny Miller, Reporter

It’s been a long road to the Super Bowl. After 254 regular season games and 10 playoff games, the Super Bowl has its final two teams. The dynamic offense of the Kansas City Chiefs will take on the dominant defense of the San Francisco 49ers. It will be an exciting matchup for the Lombardi trophy.

The Kansas City Chiefs are coming out of the American Football Conference (AFC) with a 12-4 record. After a heart wrenching loss last year in the AFC title game against the New England Patriots, the Chiefs made many improvements to their defense this season. In the off season the Chiefs hired Steve Spagnuolo as their defensive coordinator and picked up many great defensive players like Tyran Matheu and Frank Clark. These pickups have completely turned the Chiefs around and have made the Chiefs one of the top defensive teams in the league. The defense is ranked ninth this year, while last year they were ranked 31st in the league. Despite falling behind in the first half in both post season games, Spagnuolo’s defensive play calling is innovative and fresh, prompting the Chiefs to take the lead in the second half.

The offense is still as powerful as it was last year. The offense is still innovative, and with Patrick Mahomes, he can answer with whatever the Chiefs him to do. The Chiefs also have top offensive players including Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman. This makes it more difficult for other teams to cover the Chiefs offensive line.

If the Chiefs want to beat the 49ers they will have to shut down their run game. With outstanding running backs on the team, the Chiefs have to be able to stop him early in the game. According to Sharp Football Stats, the Niners called for a run on 53 percent of their offensive plays, and managed a 55 percent success rate on those running plays. On top of those impressive stats, the Niners managed 5.4 yards per carry. Their run game has proved to be one of the main reasons the team has made it to the big game this season and will easily allow them to win the game, if the Chiefs can’t make adjustments early on.

The San Francisco 49ers are coming out of the National Football Conference (NFC) with a 13-3 record.The 49ers have turned their team around completely, winning an impressive ten more games than they did last year. Their main improvements have been to their defense, with them adding Nick Bosa and Dee Ford. Those two, with the already stacked defense, has made it impossible to run the ball against them. The defense ranks first in both total and run defense. This has really helped them against many run dominant teams like the Ravens, Vikings and Packers. Another key part of the defense is the pass rush. The 49ers have the most sacks in the league and the most quarterback hurries which will be key to shutting down Mahomes.

The offense has been good this year as well, with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo coming back from last years ACL injury. The main part of the offense is the run game which really helped them dominate throughout the playoffs. Running Backs Raheem Mostert, and Tevin Coleman have been great all year, leading the 49ers to the most yards per game in the league. This has helped take pressure off of Grappolo, which will be important if they want to beat the Chiefs pass rush.

If the 49ers want to beat the Chiefs they will have to run the ball a lot. Because of the defensive struggle early in the game, the 49ers can easily make big plays off their run game. The defense also has to put the pressure on Mahomes. Mahomes can’t be allowed to have time in the pocket, otherwise he will burn them down field.

Super Bowl 54 will be on Feb. 2 at 5:30 central time on Fox.