This Sunday, the 49ers and Chiefs take the field for what will be the most-watched television broadcast of the year. Super Bowls hold 19 of the top 20 most-watched TV events in the United States. For a team of football analysts, scouts, writers, and most importantly, fans like us, Super Bowl Sunday is a holiday. This is where months of studying these teams, players, and formations all culminates. Of course, everyone has their expectations on how this game is going to go — here’s who the Blitz team feels will be standing on the podium hoisting the Lombardi trophy:
Patrick Pryor, @patpryorgraphic
The 49ers defense has been unstoppable. They’ve forced five turnovers in the playoffs and held Aaron Rodgers to seven points in three quarters. However, they’re facing something equally as incredible: Patrick Mahomes. So far in these playoffs, Mahomes has completed 46/70 passes (66%), has amassed 721 yards from scrimmage (615 yards through the air, 106 on the ground) and has totaled nine touchdowns. The Chiefs have been down by double digits and won by double digits in their past two games. If Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce can tire out the Niners defense, Frank Clark and Tyrann Mathieu should be able to help their defense lock up Jimmy Garoppolo just enough. Despite being an all-time great defense, I don’t see San Fran being able to stop Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.
Score: KC 31 - SF 24
Joe Carlino, @joecarlino14
I’ve had a tough time choosing who to root for in this game. I went to high school with Matt Breida and would like to see him achieve the honor of becoming a Super Bowl champion. However, most Falcons fans want the Chiefs to win because they simply haven’t forgotten his Kyle Shanahan’s 28-3 collapse as the offensive coordinator in 2017. Being objective as possible, right now I simply trust Patrick Mahomes under center more than Jimmy Garoppolo. Plus, if this game is a shootout, I don’t see how the 49ers offense can keep up with every weapon on the Chiefs. Look for Mahomes to potentially take home SB MVP honors, completing 68% of his passes and accounting for three total touchdowns, the last one coming early in the fourth quarter. He will bring the Lombardi trophy home to Kansas City for the first time in 50 years.
Score: KC 26 - SF 21
Greg Lehr, @greglehr3
This is a huge redemption game for both Andy Reid and Kyle Shanahan, each looking to secure their first Super Bowl ring after putting together outstanding coaching performances this season. The Chiefs have not lost a game since November 10, the week Patrick Mahomes returned from a two-game absence due to his knee injury. During this span, they have won all but two games by double digits. The 49ers, however, have been equally impressive on the NFC side, completely dominating both the Vikings and Packers to get to this point. One of the keys for Kansas City will undoubtedly be their offensive line against San Francisco’s mega-talented defensive front. The Chiefs have only given up two sacks this postseason, while the Niners have piled up nine in as many games. A huge concern for the Chiefs has to be their slow starts during their first two playoff games. Although they stormed back to win after falling behind by double digits to the Texans and Titans, San Francisco’s defense is a different beast. I see this trend continuing to a certain degree, with the Niners jumping out to an early lead behind a surprising amount of success through the air to start, followed by a heavy dose of Raheem Mostert as the Niners look to control the clock. San Francisco holds off a furious second-half comeback attempt by Mahomes and Co. for their sixth Super Bowl ring, tying the Steelers and Patriots for most in NFL history.
Score: SF 30 - KC 27
Cody Manning, @CodyTalksNFL
This is one of the hardest Super Bowls to predict for me. On one side you have the growing legend of Patrick Mahomes, and on the other side you have the offensive guru head coach in Kyle Shanahan. We also can’t forget that the 49ers have one of the smartest defensive backs in Richard Sherman to slow down Mahomes. Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, also has plenty of experience and is known for his success when he has 2 weeks to prepare for a team. I think both sides of the ball will shine for both teams and it will come down to the final possession. As we have seen in the past, Mahomes and company don’t need a lot of time to score. I am taking the Chiefs in a walk-off touchdown to bring the Lombardi Trophy home for the first time in 50 years.
Score: KC 35 - SF 31
Degenerate Menace (Jeremy Dennis), @menace524
Travis Kelce should have a field day in this matchup with the Niners, but it will be Garoppolo’s show. This will be atypical for San Fran, as the star quarterback should come in at 24+ completions in this game. As an old school football guy — the Kansas City offense is better than San Francisco’s, but the Niner defense is better than the Chiefs’ unit. The defensive difference is larger than the offensive one so I am calling a slight upset.
Score: SF 35 - KC 33
Jason Feiner, @FeinerScores
The 49ers defense has been virtually unstoppable throughout the 2019 season. In the playoffs alone they have amassed 5 turnovers while allowing just 30 points through two games. Led by Nick Bosa, the 49ers defense will have an excellent chance to slow down the Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes. Dating back to December 1st, the Chiefs have managed to score just 33 points in the first quarter to average a lowly 4.7 points. However, don’t get too cocky, 49er faithful. Patrick Mahomes has totaled 721 scrimmage yards and 9 total touchdowns in what turned out to be two double digit victories this postseason. The growing legend of this young Kansas City signal caller is just getting started, and he is no stranger to playing from behind. Mahomes will come out firing on all cylinders. With the Chiefs taking an early lead against the Jimmy Garoppolo led 49ers, the San Francisco defense will be relied upon to change the momentum. Look for Andy Reid to secure his first Superbowl victory this Sunday.
Score: KC 31 - SF 27
Roy Countryman, @PreacherBoyRoy
Wow! What a matchup we have here for Super Bowl LIV. We have one of the best coaches in recent history in Andy Reid, whose career accolades are all there aside from a Super Bowl ring. Kyle Shanahan is on the other side, who’s one of the greatest offensive minds in the game and is looking to step out of the shadow of his Super Bowl-winning father to cement his own legacy. Patrick Mahomes is the face of the NFL, and he will need to protect the football while maintaining awareness of the vaunted Nick Bosa-led pass rush. The combination of Tyreek Hill, Mecole Hardman, and Sammy Watkins should be able to gain separation vertically down the field against Richard Sherman and co., but the onus will be upon Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz to hold firm on the edge and give Mahomes time. The 49ers need to get ahead in the game and stick to their gameplan of running the ball and controlling the pace of play, but the Chiefs can combat this by playing sound gap run defense. I think we see the Chiefs go up early, get the 49ers out of their gameplan, and then hold on late to secure the first of hopefully many more Super Bowls in Mahomes’ career.
Score: KC 38 - SF 28
Jack Bourgeois, @Jackbooshwa
The question isn't who has the better roster, gameplan, or play caller; it's whether or not the San Francisco 49ers can stop the unstoppable force that is Patrick Mahomes. SF has the advantage practically across the board, from the offensive line, to the run game, to the league’s #1 rated defense — they are simply the better team. That said, how do they slow down arguably the most talented quarterback the league has ever seen? The obvious answer is pressure! Rushing four and dropping seven into coverage is what the Niners do best, and has been a recipe for Super Bowl winners for several years now. Between Bosa, Buckner, Armstead, and Ford, SF has formed this year's most dominant pass rush. They'll need to be on their A-game this Sunday in order to stop Mahomes and his arsenal of pass catchers. “IF the 49ers can start hot and run the ball offensively, they will be able to pin their ears back on defense and get after Mahomes. But even if they do, Mahomes will find success sooner or later and keep the game close with both his feet and his cannon of an arm. I guarantee it’ll come down to who has the ball last. And while all signs point to the 49ers, something tells me Patty Mahomes will honors his lost sports idol with Kobe Bryant-esque Super Bowl performance.
Score: KC 36 - SF 34
Alexander Amir, @aamirNFL
I’ve been flipping back and forth on my Super Bowl prediction for the past 2 weeks. It’s so hard to bet against Patrick Mahomes and a Chiefs offense that seems like it can score at will. At the same time, San Francisco quietly has an all-time great defense, and if any team is built to stop the Chiefs it’s this one. The Chiefs can’t afford to fall behind by double digits again and will need to crack the 49ers Cover 3 defense for some big plays. But this 49ers team is one of the most disciplined and well-rounded teams that I can remember, and they’re built for dominance in the big game. While QB Jimmy Garoppolo might be the weak link, he has shown the ability to win games with his arm. The Chiefs will have to fight back from an early deficit, and the 49ers will kick a game-winning field goal to earn the ring.
Score: SF 31 - KC 28
Vincent Fodera, @Fodera80
This Super Bowl looks like it’s going to be the most fun championship game in recent memory. Speed vs. power, run-heavy vs. pass-heavy. It’s such a difficult game to predict because both teams are just so good at what they do, and we’re yet to see a similar matchup in the past that’s proven who neutralizes who. Can a strong defense shut down KC’s high flying offense, or does speed really kill all in today’s NFL? The NFL is a copycat league, and we’ve seen a trend towards teams building around speed and spread concepts. But if the 49ers show that power and balance can win out over a team built like Kansas City, it could prompt teams to return to that classic style of play. I believe this game is more than just to see who’s crowned the NFL’s newest champion — it’s a game that can sway the way teams build rosters for the next 5 to 10 years. With that said, my prediction is that speed does indeed kill, and there’s a reason that it’s the new trend in the NFL. You can neutralize power by creating the right matchups and scheming against it. You can’t beat speed unless you yourself have speed. While San Francisco’s pass rush is more than formidable, I believe Mahomes’ mobility and KC’s receiving speed will allow the deep game to develop, especially against Richard Sherman and a 49ers secondary that is not particularly fleet of foot. The 49ers chances lie in keeping KC’s offense off the field. But I predict a few early stops by the Kansas City defense, which will help them create an early lead. It will shrink enough to get people worried in the 4th, but will culminate in a knockout TD late by KC to seal the deal. Andy Reid gets his ring.
Score: KC 38 - SF 28