Super Bowl LIV is going to make history no matter who ends up the champions of the NFL's 100th season. Both the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers will be taking more than the Lombardi Trophy if they end the 2019 season with a victory.
The Chiefs have two Super Bowl appearances under their belt, but they haven't been to Super Sunday since 1970, when Hank Stram coached them to a title against Bud Grant and the Minnesota Vikings. Not only would a win over the Niners snap that 50-year drought, but it would also give something to Andy Reid that's eluded the coach for the entirety of an otherwise Hall of Fame career -- a ring.
The 49ers, meanwhile, are no stranger to Super Bowl stardom, winning five trophies just between 1981 and 1994 and then returning to the Big Game in 2012, when Colin Kaepernick and Co. fell just short against the Baltimore Ravens. A win for them would put San Francisco in a three-way tie with the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers for the most total Super Bowl titles in NFL history.
Oddsmakers like the Chiefs to become this year's champions, but only barely. So who's it going to be? Who's going to make history? Who's going to win Super Bowl LIV?
The Pick Six Podcast featuring Will Brinson broke down the gambling angles for the Super Bowl on Friday's blowout episode, with spread, total and prop picks from Pete Prisco and R.J. White, fun prop talk with Ryan Wilson and John Breech, plus DFS tips from Heath Cummings. Give it a listen below and be sure to subscribe on your favorite podcast platform:
Yours truly has gone 5-1 picking playoff games since the Divisional Round and went 152-103-1 predicting games straight-up in the regular season, so let's give it one more shot:
San Francisco 49ers at Kansas City Chiefs
Sunday, Feb. 2, 6:30 p.m. ET (FOX)
Point spread: Chiefs -1
Let's start by making this clear: We couldn't have asked for a better matchup. The Green Bay Packers representing the NFC would've been a nice touch for the NFL's 100th season considering K.C. and Green Bay went head-to-head back in Super Bowl I, but this duel figures to be far more entertaining. It's dominant offense against dominant defense. Superstar quarterback against superstar pass rusher. Historic franchise against historic underdog, what with both Reid and the Chiefs looking to exorcise longtime demons.
There's also absolutely no way you can write off either side. That's typically the case with every Super Bowl (or should be), but this one feels especially hard to forecast. Firstly, the teams' strengths are so different. When you've got a killer ground-and-pound, trench-oriented, defensively geared contender on one side and an electrifying big-play, aerial-focused contender on the other, who's to say what kind of game we're actually going to get? Secondly, it's not as if either one of these teams has the "been there, done that" mentality of a Patriots squad. The Chiefs' Super Bowl drought is well documented, and the 49ers are just a year removed from winning four games! They're both fresh in the spotlight.
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With the talent and ferocity of the Niners' pass rush, there's no way San Francisco won't be able to give Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes at least a little bit of a scare. Richard Sherman, meanwhile, has been a nice comeback story in the back end of their "D," and while he might be at risk of exposure against the elite speed of Tyreek Hill, he'll also benefit from the 49ers' ability to overwhelm at the line with so much consistency. And that's not even mentioning the other side of the ball, where the 49ers are probably underrated. QB Jimmy Garoppolo has been prone to turnovers here and there, but their ground game is the truth. And when that's working, with physical blocking and open-field shiftiness from guys like Raheem Mostert, Garoppolo is that much better on the play-action, with help from rock-solid talent in Deebo Samuel, Emmanuel Sanders and George Kittle.
The Chiefs will undoubtedly have a harder time running away with this one, and they can't afford to dig themselves another early, deep hole. Preventing the run will be a challenge. All that being said, Mahomes is Mahomes. And even if No. 15 gets dragged to the Hard Rock Stadium surface a handful of times, he's got an arm that's built to win championships. Andy Reid may have a reputation for poor clock management in big-time situations, but he's never been better positioned to just let his talent win the day. If Tyrann Mathieu's ranginess or Chris Jones' penetration can deliver a turnover, that'll be a bonus. But this comes down to the QB, and no one has shown a more otherworldly ability to escape trouble, extend plays and then wow us with improbable bullets like Mr. Mahomes.
Give it to Pat. Give it to Andy. Give it to the Chiefs. But it's going to be one heck of a game.
Prediction: Chiefs 31, 49ers 29