Super Bowl match up intriguing indeed

BY DON BEANE, News + Record Staff
Posted 1/24/20

After months of slugging it out on the gridiron, the pairings are set for Super Bowl LIV, the 54th edition.

And after a 50-year hiatus, the Kansas City Chiefs return for the first time since Super …

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Super Bowl match up intriguing indeed

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Posted

After months of slugging it out on the gridiron, the pairings are set for Super Bowl LIV, the 54th edition.

And after a 50-year hiatus, the Kansas City Chiefs return for the first time since Super Bow IV back on Jan. 11, 1970 at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans when Kansas City rolled past Minnesota 23-7. The Chiefs fended off a physical and determined Tennessee Titans squad 35-24 on Sunday in Arrowhead Stadium to win the Lamar Hunt Trophy, the teams founder, for the AFC trophy in what was a wild celebration.

Over in the NFC, San Francisco smacked Green Bay around en route to a triumph and its sixth Super Bowl appearance, but first since winning the title in 1995. The 49ers also won the Super Bowl four times in the seasons of the 1980s including title runs in 1982, 1985, 1989 and 1990.

The match up provides an intriguing one, to say the least, with the high-powered Kansas City offense squaring off against a San Francisco offense that completely ran roughshod through the Green Bay Packers’ defense to the tune of 285 yards on the ground, including 220 and four touchdowns by Raheem Mostert.

The Packers apparently took the defensive playbook from the New Orleans Saints and Dallas Cowboys organizations which featured tackling more resembling a pillow fight. The result was a 27-0 lead at the half for the 49ers and the game was all but over.

San Francisco attempted only eight passes — yes, eight passes — in the win. Jimmy Garoppolo was 6-of-8 passing for 77 yards.

It certainly won’t be that easy against Kansas City and its high-flying offense under the guidance of future Hall of Fame coach Andy Reid. The Chiefs under Reid and behind quarterback Patrick Mahomes have resembled more of a video game the past two seasons and can score points in bunches. Mahomes was 23-of-35 against the Titans for 294 yards and three scores while running for 53 more yards. To make things more troubling for opponents is that Mahommes has all-everything tight end Travis Kelce, incredible speed in wideouts Deebo Samuel, Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins, and a talented running back in Damien Williams.

Kansas City also held Derrick Henry of Tennessee to just 69 yards on 19 carries on Sunday, something that hasn’t been done in months.

So what will give in Super Bowl 54? Well, I predicted Kansas City to win it all a month ago and I’m sticking with it. One, I feel it’s Andy Reid’s time; he’s just one of the good guys and has had so much success with the Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles, only to see seemingly bad luck derail him on numerous occasions from winning a Super Bowl. Factor in him losing his son tragically to a heroin overdose in 2012, and you can’t help but pull for him.

Secondly, Kansas City seems to have a good enough defense to go with what is that electric offense. And the speed the Chiefs have on offense is at a different level and the 49ers will have to find a way to slow Hill, Watson, Kelce and Samuels down. But then there is Mahomes’ scrambling ability, and well, you are understanding what I’m getting to. It’s going to be a chore, to say the least.

San Francisco is more physical up front on both sides of the ball, and that could play a big role in the contest. Like against the Packers, the 49ers need to be able to sustain drives behind Mostert, and Jimmy Garoppolo will have to bring his “A Game” and be ready to duel it out some with Mahomes.

Can he do it? Sure he can, but the margin of error for San Francisco will be much less. They have to finish drives and win the turnover battle.

My prediction is 41-31 Kansas City in a high-scoring and entertaining Super Bowl.

And speaking of predictions, I’m predicting the Dallas Cowboys to advance to the NFC Championship game next season. They are going to excel under new coach Mike McCarthy, who will bring some discipline and toughness to the team, which is much needed.

Now a lot of Cowboys fans are upset and unhappy that Jerry Jones didn’t make the flashy young hire, but what he did hire, and is the right move for a change, is a proven Super Bowl winner. McCarthy might not have won the press conferences like the other brash, new young hires did. But he will win on the field, and you can mark it down. And you better believe those now-quiet Cowboys fans will be crowing like roosters come this time next winter.

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