They finally did it! I’ve been a fan of the Chiefs since I started caring about football (early 90’s) and this has been a long time coming. After a couple of home playoff wins where the old demons seemed to be back only to be vanquished by Mahomes and crew the Chiefs are in the Super Bowl.
If you put fan loyalties aside I think this is one of the best matchups football fans could of asked for. Both teams have been excellent most of the year and both teams have exciting big play potential. The Chiefs big plays tend to come on offense where the 49ers defense is usually the ones making big plays. This game should be a battle and I expect a close high scoring affair. Look for a key turnover or two to determine the out come.
There are many good story lines for this game. From Dee Ford, to the new young QBs and even to Andy Reid with another opportunity to cement his claim as one of the all time greats. I’m not going to get into all of them here. What follows will be what I see as the keys to the game for each team and a game prediction.
49ers Key to the Game: Run the damn ball. I think we will see the 49ers try to keep up what has been working and that is run the ball. If they can keep their offense on the field and run through KC like they did the Packers then that’s exactly what they will do. While the 49ers are better equipped to do some damage through the air than the Titans were the Chiefs defensive strength has been in defending the pass.
On the defensive side the 49ers have to pressure Mahomes (with 4) while containing him inside the pocket. Don’t give him an escape route and don’t give him too much time to have receivers get open. There is tons of speed on the 49ers defense and this will be the biggest challenge Mahomes has faced all year.
Chiefs Keys to the Game: The offensive line needs to hold up against a nasty front 7. Give Mahomes the time he needs to survey the field and give the receivers the time to find the soft spot in the zone coverage. 49ers play mostly zone and they are very good at it. Mahomes is also very good passing against zone coverage, strength vs. strength. I also think screens will be a big part of this game to slow down the 49ers aggressiveness.
On defense the Chiefs must first prove yet again they can slow down or stop the run. They need to play as a team to fill the holes in the run game and seal the outside edge. Their goal should be to get to 3rd and 5+ and make Jimmy G beat you. This season the Chiefs have been very good at defending the pass when the can pin their ears back and rush the passer.
Both these teams have tons and tons of talent and this Niners team will be the toughest challenge the Chiefs have faced. While only 1 point I was personally surprised the Chiefs were the favored team.
In the end I see Mahomes continuing what has been a historically good playoffs. I see the Chiefs defense stepping up again against the run and forcing more passes than the 49ers would ideally like and I see Jimmy G throwing a key pick. I can’t wait for this game, this season has been amazing and the Chiefs are one win from their ultimate goal.
Chiefs win: 34-31