Super Bowl LIV: San Francisco 49ers vs Kansas City Chiefs live on Sky Sports
Watch live on Sky Sports Action, Mix (Sky channel 145) or Main Event from 10pm on Sunday
Last Updated: 03/02/20 1:13am
We preview Sunday's Super Bowl as the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs prepare to face off in Miami.
We are live on Sky Sports Action, Sky Sports Mix (Sky channel 145) and Sky Sports Main Event from 10pm on Sunday for an hour and a half build-up. Here is a look ahead to what you can expect on the evening the NFL season comes to an end...
San Francisco 49ers vs Kansas City Chiefs, KO 11.30pm
The 49ers combined a formidable No 1 ranked pass defense with their No 2 ranked rushing offense to finish the regular season 13-3 and as NFC West champions. Having started the year 8-0, San Francisco saw their divisional title hopes dented when they suffered defeats to the Seattle Seahawks and the Baltimore Ravens in Week 10 and Week 13, respectively. They recovered to outscore the New Orleans Saints 48-46 in a thriller before beating the Los Angeles Rams and the Seahawks in the final two weeks to seal the division.
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Their strength on defense was underlined during the Divisional Round as they foiled Kirk Cousins, who was sacked six times, and Dalvin Cook, who ran for just 18 yards, on their way to a dominant 27-10 win over the Minnesota Vikings. They followed that up by beating the Green Bay Packers 37-20, during which Jimmy Garoppolo completed six of just eight pass attempts for 77 yards. The former New England Patriots quarterback has been far from spectacular, but his team haven't needed him to be.
As for the Chiefs, it was from the ideal start as they opened the season on a four-game winning streak before suffering successive defeats against the Indianapolis Colts and the Houston Texans. Then came a major fright when quarterback Patrick Mahomes was forced off in the first half of the 30-6 win over the Denver Broncos after dislocating his right knee, with Matt Moore taking his place under center. Mahomes went on to miss the next two games before returning in the 35-32 defeat to the Tennessee Titans, which saw Derrick Henry rush for 188 yards and two touchdowns.
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Andy Reid's men won each of their final six games to finish 12-4 and AFC West champions, with their defense enjoying something of a resurgence over the second half of the season. Between Week 10 and Week 17 the Chiefs allowed the fourth-lowest completion percentage in the league at 57.36 and the fourth-fewest yards per attempt, as well as tying first for fewest passing touchdowns allowed in that period.
The Chiefs came from 24-0 down to beat the Texans 51-31 in the Divisional Round, before containing Henry on their way to a 35-24 victory over the Titans in the AFC Championship game.
If the 49ers win, it will be their sixth title, tying with the New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers for the most in NFL history, as well as quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo's third following his two while backup to Tom Brady with the Patriots.
If the Chiefs win, Mahomes will be the first player ever to win MVP and the Super Bowl before the age of 25. It would also be a long-awaited individual milestone for Andy Reid, who holds the record for most regular season wins as a head coach without winning the Super Bowl (207).
Ones to watch
It's difficult to look beyond Patrick Mahomes as a defining factor in Miami, with the Chiefs quarterback having asserted himself as arguably the most complete player in his position this season. The 2017 draft pick has been devastatingly good in the post-season so far, beginning with 321 passing yards for five touchdowns in the 51-31 comeback victory over the Texans in Wild Card weekend. He followed this up with 294 yards in the air for three touchdowns against the Titans, as well as producing a stunning 27-yard improvised run to the endzone.
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Raheem Mostert has been an unlikely hero for the 49ers this season, starring in the victory over the Packers with a playoff-record 220 rushing yards for four touchdowns. It's been quite the journey for the 27-year-old, who was an undrafted free agent in 2015 before being cut by six teams prior to his arrival in San Francisco. Having started the year as third-string running back behind Matt Breida and Tevin Coleman, Mostert slalomed his way to the front of the queue in the backfield to lead the team in rushing yards and emerge as a vital figure in the 49ers' offense.
Miami will stage a fascinating battle of tight ends as George Kittle and Travis Kelce take to the field as established security blankets for their respective quarterbacks. Kittle spearheaded the 49ers' pass offense in 2019 with a team-high 1,053 receiving yards for five touchdowns off 85 catches, but it's been his elite blocking to help carve running lanes that has aided his team most in the playoffs so far.
Kelce meanwhile led the Chiefs with 97 catches for 1,229 yards and five touchdowns, notably registering 10 receptions for 134 yards and three visits to the endzone in the Divisional playoff against Houston. He'll be an ever-present threat in the middle of the field.
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The Chiefs have two valuable speedsters at their disposal in Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman. In Hill they boast a proven deep threat coming off the back of a two-touchdown game against the Titans, while Hardman has been electrifying as a return specialist with a third ranked 704 yards on kickoff returns in the regular season. Give Hill space to work and he's often impossible to catch. Fail to stop Hardman and the Chiefs' already-potent offense will be setting up camp in strong field position.
Such has been Nick Bosa's influence for the 49ers this season that it's easy to forget he's still a rookie. The defensive end has 10 tackles and three sacks in the playoffs so far and has been one of the most disruptive forces in the NFL this year. Both he and Arik Armstead, who led the 49ers with 10 sacks, will be pivotal in putting Mahomes under pressure.
For the Chiefs, safety Tyrann Mathieu will be a familiar leader on defense having flourished in his first season on the team. The former Texans defensive back had nine tackles in the win over the Titans, catching the eye with a huge hit on Corey Davis on a first-and-20 situation. Defensive tackle Chris Jones issued a reminder of his value against Tennessee, recording five pressures on Ryan Tannehill upon his return following a two-game absence due to injury.
For 90 minutes of Super Bowl LIV build-up from Hard Rock Stadium with Rob Ryan and Josh Norman, join us on Sky Sports Action, Main Event and Mix from 10pm on Sunday, February 2.