January 31, 2020

Our big Super Bowl LIV pick

by In: Football, Picks

When starting to consider a pick for this year’s Super Bowl, we couldn’t help but look back at the past.

It seems that no matter the year, when the big matchup came down to a great offensive team against a great defensive team, it is the defence that wins out. This year, we see no reason that will be different.

Even just last year, it was the high-powered Rams offence facing off against the stout Patriots defence – and look at what happened there. But that lesson has seemingly been lost on bettors, who have put the majority of money behind the favourites as of mid-week.

Granted, it’s tough to root against a quarterback as talented as Patrick Mahomes, but you have to have confidence in a 49ers defence that ranked second in the league this season, behind only the Ravens.

With a pass rush that has been built up over the past few years with top draft picks, San Francisco is well-built to contain a QB like Mahomes who excels at extending plays. It’ll be next to impossible to stop him completely, but playing a bend-but-don’t-break style and limiting damage from big plays will go a long way for the 49ers.

On the other side of the ball, much has been said about the Chiefs’ improvement on defence down the stretch – but not so fast. Taking a look at their opponents should tell you a different story, with no real big challenges standing in their way in that period of time.

Considering this, how confident would you be that it can take the pounding that San Francisco’s powerful running game will gladly supply? And, though the Chiefs offence has the reputation as the superior attacking side coming into this game, it’s actually the 49ers that put up more points and yards this season with the ball.

Much has been made of the fact that Jimmy Garoppolo only threw 27 passes in the Niners’ two playoff wins and that he’ll probably be needed to do more. But hasn’t he shown that he can step up when needed? Earlier this season, he walked out of New Orleans with a win in an absolute shootout, in which the two teams combined for 77 pass attempts and 94 points.

Niners coach Kyle Shanahan has shown that his team can win in any style of game and will have his charges well-prepared.

It’s also hard to look past the fact that the Chiefs have gone down big in both of their playoff games. While, of course, they did manage to come back and win both games by double-digits, it’s a horrible habit to get into at this time of the year.

The 49ers are also the exact type of opponent that can hold onto a lead for dear life, with that suffocating defence and grind-the-clock running game.

In the end, it can scare the life of out of you to bet against a player like Mahomes, but it’s simply the wise move. And, getting that extra point or so from the sportsbook doesn’t hurt, either.

SCORE: San Francisco 33, Chiefs 31

MVP: Deebo Samuel, SF

Conference finals: 1-1

Playoffs: 7-3

Season: 129-114-7

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