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The San Francisco 49ers are heading to their eighth Super Bowl appearance and are looking to win their sixth title. In their way is the new scourge of the NFL, Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs, who are looking to firmly cement themselves as a dynasty.
The 49ers will have their hands full trying to execute their game plan, but they’ve stepped up in almost every tough situation they’ve faced this season, and have conquered even more adversity in the playoffs. The 49ers are 7-8 versus the Chiefs all time, but this one is for all the marbles. All time records don’t really matter in the Super Bowl.
Keys To The Game
Offense: Keep Kansas City Guessing
San Francisco needs to get their rushing attack going early and often. They’re averaging 133.0 rushing yards per game in the playoffs,with running back Christian McCaffrey averaging 94.0 of those yards. Running the football will keep the chains moving and the Chief’s offense on the sidelines. The less time Patrick Mahomes has the ball, the better San Francisco’s chances will be.
The Chiefs have been very good against opposing passing attacks, mostly due to their ferocious pass rush. San Francisco will have to go heavy with play action and continue you use the pre-snap movement that they utilize with great success. If they can stifle the Chiefs’ defensive formations, they could find holes in parts of the secondary Kansas City can’t cover.
Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel and George Kittle all need to step up and put pressure on the Chiefs’ secondary across all three levels. Brock Purdy’s ability to spread the ball around could be vital to the 49ers scoring touchdowns. He cannot stay focused on on one target if he wishes to be a difference maker.
Defense: Make The Others Beat You
San Francisco’s pass rush has to contain Patrick Mahomes and not let him get outside of the pocket often. Not only can he run the ball himself, but he likes to extend pass plays when the defense breaks down. He’s been very effective all postseason at converting key third downs by escaping pressure. Those plays have been backbreakers to the Chiefs’ opponents.
The 49ers cannot allow Travis Kelce to run wild all game. Kelce is easily the Chiefs’ best target and he has amassed 262 receiving yards and three touchdowns in three playoff games. The other Kansas City weapons have proved average at best. Only rookie receiver Rashee Rice has been reliable on the outside. If the 49ers can silence Kelce it will be a tough day for Mahomes and company.
Nick Bosa, Edge
Bosa has nine quarterback hits in two playoff games and he had two sacks in the NFC title game. San Francisco’s ability to rush the passer with just four guys would be invaluable to their overall defense. Bosa at times can be un-blockable and if he can be that effective the Chiefs might have no answer. He doesn’t need to necessarily get to Mahomes, but being a disruptor can open up opportunities for the other pass rushers.
San Francisco’s best bet is to not rely on the blitz too often, freeing up their stellar linebackers to contain late developing plays. Bosa and the rest of the defensive front need to be a factor for that to be possible.