The biggest day on the American sporting calendar has (almost) arrived. After the customary two-week break between games, the Kansas City Chiefs (-1.5), champions of the American Football Conference, are set to take on the National Football Conference champion San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV, Sunday in Miami. The experts are predicting plenty of offensive fireworks Sunday, which would be a welcome change, compared to last year’s 13-3 snoozer between the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams.
The Kansas City Chiefs are making their third appearance in the big game, and first since Super Bowl IV, after winning the old American Football League in 1969. Kansas City narrowly missed out last year, falling in the AFC Championship Game to the Patriots. Since then, the Chiefs have been driven by their offense, and specifically, their quarterback, third-year man Patrick Mahomes. While not as statistically sensational as last season, Mahomes was the league’s second-leading passer (and sixth-leading rusher). The Chiefs were third overall in total offense, and Mahomes will have plenty of weapons, including running back Damien Williams and tight end Travis Kelce.
For the 49ers, it’s not welcome to the Super Bowl, it’s welcome back. Two weeks ago, the Niners clinched their seventh trip to the Super Bowl since 1981, and first since the 2012 season. San Francisco is gunning for their sixth ring, having lost their previous trip in Super Bowl XLVII. While the offense runs the show in Kansas City, the 49ers did it with defense— their #1 defense, to be precise, both total and against the run. For good measure, San Francisco was also sixth in the league against the pass. Rookie of the Year defensive end Nick Bosa came in second in sacks, and a spry, 31-year old cornerback named Richard Sherman led the league in interceptions.
Kansas City or San Francisco? Mahomes or Jimmy G? Kelce or Kittle? The relatively even matchups between the teams and players prompts a lot of questions, and thankfully, the daily fantasy football guide of your choice can do as well a job as anyone of answering them. 49ers running back Raheem Mostert was an unexpected DFS star during Championship Week, racking up an almost unreal stat line: 220 yards rushing, four rushing touchdowns. With the Niners preferring to go running back by committee, however, a healthy Tevin Coleman might cut in to Mostert’s workload. Mahomes, in case you haven’t heard, has been on fire this postseason.
The Super Bowl isn’t all business, of course. Since (at least) William “Refrigerator” Perry scored an unexpected rushing touchdown in Super Bowl XX, punters have had some fun with props. Demi Lovato is singing the national anthem this year, and you can bet on the length (over two minutes, -200) and whether a scoring drive will take up less time (Yes, -250). If the halftime show is more your thing, the current over-under on Jennifer Lopez’s wardrobe changes is currently 2.5 (Over, -140). From the music to the ads to the actual game itself, Super Bowl LIV should be tremendous fun. It can’t be worse than last year.