To conclude the NFL’s 100th season, the San Francisco 49ers will take on the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV on Sunday night at Hard Rock Stadium. This is the 11th time the Super Bowl will be played in Miami, which has hosted the game more often than any other city.
The first Super Bowl of the new decade will be a battle between a high-powered offense in Kansas City and a rigid defense in San Francisco.
The Chiefs, who are led by quarterback Patrick Mahomes, have the third-best offense in the league, generating 419 yards per game. Mahomes has an arsenal of skilled and speedy receivers that can help turn the tide of any game. The 2018 MVP has been perfect through two playoff games, throwing for 615 yards, eight touchdowns and no interceptions.
San Francisco, which is ranked first in total defense, has allowed only 83 rushing yards in the postseason. The 49ers’ defensive line, which consists of Arik Armstead, rookie Nick Bosa, DeForest Buckner and Dee Ford, was the only group to each record 6.5 or more sacks during the regular season. Cornerback Richard Sherman’s stellar play throughout the regular season has translated into the postseason; he has recorded an interception in every playoff game.
Offensively, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has been solid after tearing his ACL a year ago. But it’s the 49ers’ run game, which is ranked second in the league, that’s been doing wonders for the them.
Both teams feature two of the top tight ends in the league. Kansas City’s Travis Kelce and San Francisco’s George Kittle were their quarterbacks go-to targets, as they each lead respective teams in receiving yards.
Matchup: San Francisco 49ers (13-3) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (12-4)
Game time: 6:30 p.m. ET
Location: Hard Rock Stadium in Miami
Where to watch: Fox
How the Chiefs got here:
The Chiefs earned a trip to the Super Bowl for the first time in 50 years after beating the Tennessee Titans in the AFC championship. The Chiefs trailed 17-7 before scoring 28 unanswered points to run away with a 35-24 victory. The Chiefs also executed a comeback victory in the Divisional Round against the Houston Texans. Mahomes threw five touchdown passes to overcome a 24-0 deficit and beat the Texans 51-31.
How the 49ers got here:
San Francisco running back Raheem Mostert’s 220 yard and four touchdown performance against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship earned his team its seventh Super Bowl appearance and its first since losing to the Baltimore Ravens in 2012. The 49ers’ defense forced three turnovers and held the Packers to 62 rushing yards. Packers’ Aaron Rodgers was sacked three times and was held to a 22.8 quarterback rating.
In the Divisional Round, Bosa was dominant in the 27-10 win over the Minnesota Vikings, recording six tackles and two sacks. The 49ers limited Vikings running back Dalvin Cook to only 18 rushing yards.
Ryan McFadden is a student in the Philip Merrill College of Journalism master’s degree program. He is covering the Super Bowl as a representative of the Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism.