The Baltimore Sun sports staff makes its predictions for Super Bowl LIV on Sunday between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers.
Jen Badie, editor
Chiefs 35, 49ers 31: Usually I’d favor defense over offense in a Super Bowl, but I’m not going to go against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs’ high-powered passing game (just look at how they dismantled the Texans after falling behind by 21 points). I think the game will be close thanks to the 49ers passing defense, but that Mahomes and Company will prevail and bring Andy Reid’s first Super Bowl championship back to Kansas City. And wouldn’t it be fun for Ravens fans to see Terrell Suggs win another championship.
C.J. Doon, editor
Chiefs 35, 49ers 31: All signs point to the 49ers winning their sixth Super Bowl title. Some even believe it will be a blowout. But this feels like a coronation for Chiefs quarterback and 2018 MVP Patrick Mahomes, who will prove Sunday why he’s the best player in the league. (Apologies, Lamar Jackson fans, but he’s not there yet.) San Francisco is certainly capable of dominating the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, but do you really trust Jimmy Garoppolo to make a big throw in a big spot? Mahomes will make enough jaw-dropping plays to lead Kansas City to its first championship in 50 years.
Daniel Oyefusi, reporter
49ers 24, Chiefs 23: This is a classic showdown of offense versus defense and I’m going to take the 49ers defense over the Chiefs offense. No team in the NFL can pressure the quarterback with four linemen like San Francisco and while I don’t expect them to shut down Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, I think the 49ers’ front four can make Mahomes a little uncomfortable. San Francisco should be able to control the clock with its dominant zone running scheme, allowing Jimmy Garoppolo to make a few key throws in critical situations.
Mike Preston, columnist
Chiefs 21, 49ers 17: San Francisco has a great defense and the 49ers front four could cause the Chiefs some problems. The 49ers front seven might be as fast as any in the last 15 years. But Kansas City will counter with its own speed, especially with the Chiefs receivers. Plus, great quarterbacks can dominate the postseason. This might be Patrick Mahomes’ turn to give his head coach, Andy Reid, the title he has coveted for the nearly 30 years he has been in the NFL.
Peter Schmuck, columnist
Chiefs 31, 49ers 27: The 49ers should win because they have the best defense and are the more solid all-around team, but the Chiefs will win because they have a quarterback who can score so fast that no lead — and I mean no lead — is going to be safe Sunday. Patrick Mahomes is a magician and he will pull a proverbial rabbit out of this helmet in the final minute of the game.
Jonas Shaffer, reporter
Chiefs 31, 49ers 23: Patrick Mahomes figures to reach the mountaintop sometime this decade. Why not do it in his first Super Bowl with Andy Reid? San Francisco’s best hope of stopping Kansas City is with its front four, but the Chiefs have held up well in protection recently. Even with the 49ers’ strong ground game, it’s tough to pick against the team with the lights-out pass attack.
Childs Walker, reporter
Chiefs 34, 49ers 24: This is a terrific matchup with speed on both sides of the ball and two of the best coaching staffs in the NFL. So in the interest of not overthinking it, go with the team that has the best player, Patrick Mahomes, at the most important position.