Super Bowl LIV has all the makings of a classic showdown between the explosive Kansas City Chiefs offence and the tough San Francisco 49ers defence (who also have a pretty strong offence of their own).
The Chiefs dug themselves out of two double-digit deficits as their offence muscled past the Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans to get to Sunday’s big game. The 49ers used their dominant defence and potent running game to make easy work of the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers and book their trip to Miami.
So how do these teams stack up heading into Super Bowl LIV? Here’s a breakdown of which club holds the advantage at each position.
2019 Regular Season Stats: 4,031 passing yards, 26 TDs, 5 INTs, 287.9 yards per game, 105.3 QB rating
Playoff Stats: 615 passing yards, 8 TDs, 307.5 yards per game, 131.5 QB rating
2019 Regular Season Stats: 3,978 passing yards, 27 TDs, 13 INTs, 248.6 yards per game, 102.0 QB rating
Playoff Stats: 208 passing yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 104.0 yards per game, 83.6 QB rating
If Mahomes hasn’t already established himself as the top quarterback in the NFL, he has a great chance to cement his status against arguably the best defence he’ll face this season.
Garoppolo was only asked to throw the ball eight times in the NFC Championship game but that probably won’t be the case on Sunday. The 28-year-old has shown that he can carry the 49ers when called upon, like he did against the New Orleans Saints in Week 14, but we haven’t seen it yet in this post-season.
In this matchup between Mahomes and Garoppolo, it’s hard to bet against the 2018 NFL MVP at this stage considering he’s upping his game at exactly the right time.
2019 Regular Season Stats: 311 rushes, 1,292 rushing yards, 13 TDs, 4.2 yards per attempt, 80.8 yards per game
Playoff Stats: 30 rushes, 99 rushing yards, 3 TDs, 3.3 yards per attempt, 49.5 yards per game
2019 Regular Season Stats: 427 rushes, 2,051 rushing yards, 19 TDs, 4.8 yards per attempt, 128.2 yards per game
Playoff Stats: 78 rushes, 423 rushing yards, 6 TDs, 5.4 yards per attempt, 211.5 yards per game
The Chiefs have proven they can shut down a dominant running game after limiting Derrick Henry to just 69 yards in the AFC Championship game. But the 49ers pose a different challenge with a backfield that features multiple weapons, led by Raheem Mostert – fresh off a 220-yard, four-TD performance against the Packers.
Kansas City’s running game has been productive this post-season, but it’s not nearly as dominant as San Francisco’s.
2019 Regular Season Stats: 181 receptions, 2,696 yards, 21 TDs, 14.9 yards per reception, 168.5 yards per game
Playoff Stats: 23 receptions, 360 yards, 3 TDs, 15.7 yards per reception, 180 yards per game
2019 Regular Season Stats: 152 receptions, 2,122 yards, 15 TD, 13.9 yards per reception, 132.6 yards per game
Playoff Stats: 11 receptions, 167 yards, 1 TD, 15.2 yards per reception, 83.5 yards per game
The Chiefs receivers will have their work cut out for them against San Francisco’s top-ranked secondary, but will try to use speed to their advantage on Sunday. According to Next Gen Stats, these are the two fastest offences in the NFL, with Kansas City holding a slight advantage.
The 49ers will also try to use speed to make plays on offence with Deebo Samuel, Emmanuel Sanders and Kendrick Bourne, but the Chiefs receivers have proven to be bigger difference-makers this January.
2019 Regular Season Stats: 97 receptions, 1,229 yards, 5 TDs, 12.7 yards per reception, 76.8 yards per game
Playoff Stats: 13 receptions, 164 yards, 3 TDs, 12.6 yards per reception, 82 yards per game
2019 Regular Season Stats: 85 receptions, 1,053 yards, 5 TDs, 12.4 yards per reception, 75.2 yards per game
Playoff Stats: 4 receptions, 35 yards, 8.8 yards per reception, 17.5 yards per game
This is the most intriguing matchup going into the Super Bowl as the top tight ends in football will look to one-up each other on the big stage. Both were highly complimentary of one other at Super Bowl Opening Night, and for good reason.
Kelce has the speed and elusiveness that makes him a threat on every passing play while Kittle is hard to stop when he gets the ball in his hands. What gives Kittle the slight edge, though, is his dominant blocking ability which was on full display in the NFC Championship.
2019 Regular Season Stats: 349.6 yards per game, 19.2 points per game allowed, 45 sacks, 16 INTs, 5.4 yards per play
Playoff Stats: 368.5 yards per game, 27.5 points per game allowed, 8 sacks, 5.4 yards per play
2019 Regular Season Stats: 281.8 yards per game, 19.4 points per game allowed, 48 sacks, 12 INTs, 4.7 yards per play
Playoff Stats: 252.5 yards per game, 15 points per game allowed, 9 sacks, 3 INTs, 4.9 yards per play
All season long, the 49ers defence has been one of the top units in the league, highlighted by their top-ranked secondary (which allowed only 192.1 per game) and a dominant defensive line.
While the Chiefs’ defence has shown that they can put pressure on the quarterback and defend the pass as well as anybody, they have been exposed at times this post-season – especially in the first half of games.