X

Super Bowl Kickoff Time 2020: TV, Live-Stream Info for 49ers vs. Chiefs

Keegan PopeContributor IFebruary 1, 2020

Patrick Mahomes, de los Chiefs de Kansas City, festeja tras lanzar un pase de anotación durante la final de la Conferencia Americana ante los Titans de Tennessee, el domingo 19 de enero de 2020 (AP Foto/Ed Zurga)
Ed Zurga/Associated Press

When the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers last met in a meaningful game, the latter's fortunes took a turn for the worse when quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a torn ACL in the fourth quarter of a 38-27 loss in September 2018.

For San Francisco, a team that had won six of its final seven games the previous season after starting 0-9, 2018 became yet another lost season, far away from the franchise that made two NFC Championship Games and a Super Bowl from 2011 to 2013. The 49ers ended the year 4-12, tying for the second-worst record in the league, and managed to pick up the No. 2 overall pick in the draft.

That pick landed them Ohio State defensive Nick Bosa—the favorite to win Defensive Rookie of the Year—who has racked up 80 quarterback pressures, 32 tackles and nine sacks while anchoring arguably the league's most feared defense.

Despite boasting a top-five offense and defense, San Francisco enters Sunday's Super Bowl as a slight underdog to Kansas City and its wunderkind quarterback Patrick Mahomes. As we hurdle toward kickoff, we've asked one burning question of each team.

                   

Super Bowl LIV

When: Sunday, February 2 at 6:30 p.m. ET

Where: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami

TV and Live Stream: Fox, Fox Sports Go

Odds, Over/Under: KC -1.5, 54.5, per Caesars

                

Can Patrick Mahomes Pick Apart San Francisco's Defense?

ESPN NFL analyst and former Detroit Lions quarterback Dan Orlovsky riled Niners fans on Twitter earlier recently, comparing the Philadelphia Eagles' success with RPOs against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII to what he believes Kansas City can do against San Francisco's zone concepts:

Dan Orlovsky @danorlovsky7

Getting close to Sunday #SuperBowlLIV @Chiefs @49ers 👀👀 https://t.co/sZDXiHreds

There's only one—OK, there's more than one—problem with this: New England's 2017 defense was among the worst in the league in defensive efficiency, allowing the second-most explosive passing plays and sixth-most explosive rushing plays.

So it would be unfair to consider San Francisco's 2019 defense and New England's 2017 group as even remotely similar given the former is ranked second in defensive DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average), 20th in explosive runs allowed and second in explosive pass plays allowed.

Another issue with Orlovsky's argument is the lack of success Kansas City has had running the ball outside of Mahomes during the postseason—Damien Williams has rushed for an average of 3.1 yards per carry on his 29 attempts through two games. The Chiefs' only true rushing threat has been Mahomes, who has 15 rushes for first downs on scrambles since Week 10, but not on designed runs.

Does that eliminate the possibility for Kansas City to design a game plan that could to exploit San Francisco's weaker run defense? Of course not. But it's not as simple as adding a few more RPOs to the play sheet.

                 

Will Kansas City Be Able to Shut Down San Francisco's Rushing Attack?

The less talked-about but arguably more important storyline revolves around Kansas City's defense. The Chiefs are one of the league's worst when it comes to explosive rushes, allowing them on 13 per cent of all rushing plays.

San Francisco's rushing offense, which ranked second in the league during the regular season (144.1 yards per game), has only become more dominant in the postseason, rushing for 235.5 yards per game in its first two postseason outings, led by Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman.

Kansas City had success limiting Derrick Henry in its AFC Championship Game win over the Tennessee Titans, but the Titans also had no real vertical passing threats for the Chiefs to worry about, allowing them to play safeties Tyrann Mathieu and Daniel Sorensen near or at the line of scrimmage.

San Francisco's passing attack hasn't been among the league's leaders, but it did end the year 13th and does boast dangerous playmakers like Emmanuel Sanders and Deebo Samuel, as well as the league's best tight end in All-Pro George Kittle.

So what gives? History says it will be Kansas City's offense. According to Orlovsky, top-two-ranked defenses have played in the Super Bowl 20 times and have won 15 of those games, giving up an average of 18 points. Sunday gives Patrick Mahomes a chance to be an exception to the rule.

                     

Follow Keegan on Twitter @ByKeeganPope. Statistics obtained from Football Outsiders, Sharp Football Stats and NFL.com.

🚨 SPORTS NEWS ➡️ YOUR INBOX

The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.