San Francisco 49ers (15-3) vs Kansas City Chiefs (14-4)
When: Sunday, Feb. 2 at 6:30 p.m. ET on Fox
Where: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida | Tickets
Vegas line: KC -1.5 (O/U 52.5)
ESPN's Football Power Index: KC, 64.8% (by 5.0 points)
Here's some early advice on Super Bowl LIV: Prepare for a lot of red. TheKansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers advanced Sunday out of their respective conferences, gifting us the NFL's first Super Bowl matchup of teams that employ red as their primary color. (Let it also serve as a reminder that no fact is too minor during Super Bowl hype week.)
A more meaningful fact? It's just the second Super Bowl ever between a team that led its conference in rushing yards and one that led in passing yards (Super Bowl VI was the other). The 49ers rushed for 2,305 yards, and the Chiefs gained 4,498 through the air this season.
San Francisco 49ers
Reason for hope: The 49ers have been in just about every type of game imaginable this season, winning blowouts and nail-biters along the way. But they've never been on the wrong end of a blowout. Even when they aren't at the top of their game, these 49ers find a way to be in it until the final seconds. With an explosive offense, suffocating defense and solid special teams, the Niners play complementary football as well as any team in the league and are unafraid of the big stage despite their relative youth.-- Nick Wagoner
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Reason for concern: There simply aren't many weaknesses on this team -- but there are a few matchups that have been exploited at times. Offenses that have the ability to attack the side of the field opposite cornerbackRichard Sherman have been a challenge at times, and teams with mobile quarterbacks have given the defense fits, too. (Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes had 53 rushing yards in each of his postseason games this year.) -- Wagoner
The 49ers win if ... they continue to do what they've done most of the year: control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. That allows the pass-rush to create havoc for Mahomes, and the running game -- led by Raheem Mostert -- to dictate the tempo and set up explosive pass plays for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. -- Wagoner
Kansas City Chiefs
Reason for hope: The Chiefs have reason to believe they'll win in every game they're quarterbacked by Mahomes. They're 27-8 with him as their starting quarterback. The eight losses are by a total of 36 points, and Mahomes as a starter has never lost a game by more than seven points. -- Adam Teicher
Reason for concern: For a team with as many great offensive skill players as the Chiefs have, they struggle at times in the red zone. They scored a TD on just 54% of their trips inside the opponents' 20 during the regular season. A failure to finish drives in the Super Bowl would most likely prove costly. -- Teicher
The Chiefs win if ... they rely on Mahomes to carry them. He hasn't let the Chiefs down yet. If the Chiefs play to his many strengths, they'll claim their first Lombardi trophy in 50 years. -- Teicher
Stat to know
Mahomes has been the Chiefs' leading rusher in both 2019 playoff games. There will be plenty of time to celebrate and project Mahomes' passing performance, but his ability to convert first downs and touchdowns via the run has made the Chiefs' offense nearly unstoppable. He is the fourth quarterback in NFL history to rush for at least 50 yards in consecutive playoff games. -- Seifert
Super Bowl LIV Coverage
What you need to know:
• First look at 49ers-Chiefs »
• Reid, Shanahan legacy game »
• Full playoff bracket, more »
• Super Bowl LIV coverage »
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Does the Chiefs' defense have one more big game in it?
At this point, it's fair to assume Mahomes and this Chiefs offense are capable of spectacular things, even against the 49ers' fearsome defense. But can Steve Spagnuolo's group, which held NFL rushing leader Derrick Henryto 69 yards in the AFC Championship Game, find an answer to the 49ers' multidimensional run game?
San Francisco tore apart Green Bay on the ground Sunday. If the Chiefs are to deliver Andy Reid his first Super Bowl title, they'll have to find a way to keep the 49ers from controlling the game on the ground and force Garoppolo to try to beat them with his arm. -- Dan Graziano
Is the 49ers' defense good enough to stop -- or at least limit -- Mahomes?
San Francisco took away Dalvin Cook and the Vikings' run game in the divisional round. It neutralized Aaron Rodgers and the Packers' passing game in the NFC Championship Game. San Francisco's defense is loaded up front with first-round picks playing at a high level. Nick Bosa might be one of the few edge rushers in the league who can run down Mahomes from behind when he scrambles.
But can the Niners' front continue its smothering ways against the 2018 NFL MVP and the blistering speed of the Chiefs' offense? It will be the toughest test to date. -- Graziano
X factor: Raheem Mostert
It might seem odd to classify the 49ers' running back in this category after his outrageous performance in the NFC Championship Game. But the 49ers are in the Super Bowl for two reasons: their dominant defensive front and their NFC-best running game. Unless veteran tailback Tevin Coleman can return from what looked like a serious arm injury, Mostert will take the lead role in an area of the game that is critically important to the 49ers' success. -- Seifert