Super Bowl 54: Positional Matchup

Audio/Story posted January 29, 2020 in Sports, CommRadio by Ben Geller

Host Gabe Angieri and Logan Bourandas break down the keys to the game for each team in Super Bowl 54.

The San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs are meeting in what should be an electric Super Bowl 54. The key is a matchup here is between the 49ers’ stingy defense, and the rapid-fire Chiefs offense. With an extra week to prepare for the big game, each team will need to come up with hyper-specific game plans. Let’s break down which team has the edge in each of the important positional matchups.

Quarterback
Winner: Chiefs

Patrick Mahomes is arguably the best quarterback in the NFL right now. His combination of arm talent and athletic ability makes Mahomes impossible to game plan against. San Francisco has an elite defense, but it will have trouble with one of the best talents in the game.

Niners quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo knows how to win with his 21-5 record as a starter, but that is not enough to give him the edge over Mahomes. A system quarterback that threw a total of eight passes in the NFC championship game is never going to eclipse Mahomes.

Running Back
Winner: 49ers

The three-headed monster in the backfield for a run-heavy 49ers team is lethal. Matt Breida, Tevin Coleman and Raheem Mostert all have contributed at some point this year, but Mostert has the hot hand right now. The running game makes up the large majority of the 49ers offense, and San Francisco will need to run it another 40 times to win.

Damien Williams is the star running back for the Chiefs, but his solid running is nothing compared to San Francisco’s attack. The strength of Williams is his versatility as a catching back, though he is a very solid downhill runner as well.  There is certainly no shame in having Williams in the backfield, but the Niners’ running game is among the NFL elite. 

Wide Receiver
Winner: Chiefs

The Chiefs have the fastest receiving corps in the NFL with Tyreek Hill, Mecole Hardman and Sammy Watkins. Watkins being the third option says all that you need to know about this electric receiver group. Hill often needs to be double-covered, which makes the other two wide receivers even better options for Mahomes to check out.

The 49ers have a solid group of receivers in Deebo Samuel and Emmanuel Sanders, but with how frequently they run the ball, the Chiefs have the edge. The quickness of the Chiefs wideouts is the separation between the two teams.

Tight End
Winner: 49ers

George Kittle is the best tight end in the league due to the combination of his prowess catching the football and his ability to block. Kittle has gone over 1,000 yards receiving two straight years, but he is also willing to spend an entire game run-blocking if that is what is necessary for his team to win.

The tight end for the Chiefs is the outstanding pass catcher Travis Kelce, and there is no question that he is the best receiving tight end in the league with superior route-running ability, but Kittle’s blocking is what separates the two. 

Defense
Winner: 49ers

The 49ers have the best defense in the NFL thanks to their elite defensive line. Defensive rookie of the year frontrunner Nick Bosa is the heart of the unit, while ruthless veteran Richard Sherman locks up the secondary.

The Chiefs defense is much improved from the horrible form that it showed earlier in the season, but elite safety Tyrann Mathieu cannot provide the edge over a more talented 49ers squad. If San Francisco wins this game, it will be because of the defense.

 

Ben Geller is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email bjg5666@psu.edu.