The key matchup between Kansas City and San Francisco in Super Bowl 54 is not disputed, but who will prevail definitely is up for debate. The premise is simple; can the 49ers defense stop the Chiefs offense?

Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes and head coach Andy Reid Super Bowl 54
Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes and head coach Andy Reid are ready for Super Bowl 54. (Image: KC Star)

Bettors are torn on that answer. The line, which opened at 1.5 in favor of Kansas City, has moved to a pick ’em at some sportsbooks, such as the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook.

The over/under has moved even more dramatically. Gamblers are betting on a shootout. The line opened at 51.5 points, and climbed as high as 55 at some locations, before being bet down to 54.5 or 54.

Caesars reported that 77 percent of the money was on the Chiefs, while 70 percent of the money was on the over.

Kansas City’s Mahomes Ready for San Francisco in Super Bowl 54

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has torched defenses most of the regular season, and has been even more impressive in the playoffs. In Super Bowl 54, however, he faces the No. 1 ranked defense in the 49ers.

Against Houston in the AFC Divisional Playoffs, he led his team back from a 24-0 deficit to win, 51-31. Mahomes finished the game with 321 yards of passing and five touchdowns. In the AFC Championship he threw for 294 yards and three touchdowns in the team’s 35-24 victory.

Kansas City head coach Andy Reid knows how special his quarterback is, and what he means to this team.

“He’s got great vision on the field, so he can see, which becomes important for quarterbacks, in particular, the way he does things,” Reid told reporters this week. “He utilizes all his receivers, and I always tell the guys, I said, ‘There’s never a dead route. There’s no clearing routes.’ Everybody’s alive because of his vision.”

San Francisco Defense Confident they will Prevail

The 49ers have a two-prong attack that should keep Mahomes scrambling, literally and figuratively. San Francisco’s defense begins with its front four, arguably the best in football. Arik Armstead leads the defense with 10 sacks, followed by Nick Bosa with nine, DeForest Buckner with 7.5 and Dee Ford with 6.5.

Bosa told reporters on Thursday if they perform in Super Bowl 54 like they have the other 18 games they have played this season, he likes their chances.

“Just play like we’ve been playing, just play with the effort and the violence and good technique, Bosa said. “Just stick to what we do, because it’s been working. We just have to keep rushing as a unit, and keep him in the pocket.”

When those four can put pressure on the quarterback, it usually leads to good things. If they don’t get a sack, they can force the quarterback to make a mistake. The team had 12 interceptions in the regular season.

San Francisco cornerback Richard Sherman, who is ranked the best at his position this decade, has two interceptions in the playoffs. He told reporters, however, that facing Mahomes will be their ultimate challenge.

“He’s got qualities of Aaron Rodgers, he’s got qualities of Russell [Wilson], and he’s got qualities of [Tony] Romo,” Sherman said on Monday.

Mahomes knows how good this defense is, and he told NFL Network that it will take discipline to have any success against them.

They’re good everywhere,” Mahomes said. “They play off each other, they know the scheme. They do it well. And so, for us, it’s about going through the process, going through the game plan, and just executing the plays when Coach [Andy] Reid calls them.”

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