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Super Bowl LIV Preview: Can the 49ers Contain the Chiefs?

The culmination of a very long NFL season has come down to this -- a dream Super Bowl matchup in Miami with two heavyweights squaring off, in the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs.

As we peek at our power rankings, the term heavyweight definitely feels apt. The 49ers rank second, and the Chiefs rank one slot behind them at third.

Who can come out on top? Let's dig and find out.

Quarterback Breakdown

From an efficiency perspective, these are two of the league's best quarterbacks. Both have been excellent, and we could be treated to some offensive fireworks this year.

Patrick Mahomes has been outstanding yet again. Among signal-callers with 200 or more drop backs (34), Mahomes ranks as the best quarterback in Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back (0.34).

Jimmy Garoppolo has been pretty good in his own right, too -- he ranks sixth among the same group in terms of Passing NEP per pass (0.22). With a fantastic rushing attack, which we will get to next, Garoppolo has dropped back to pass a combined 27 times in the playoffs, but that underscores how strong his play has been.

Now from an Average Intended Air Yards (IAY) perspective, this one isn't close. Mahomes sports a mark of 8.6 while Jimmy G falls to nearly the bottom of all passers with a mark of 6.5.

While both quarterbacks have excelled, how do the run games compare?

Running Back Breakdown

This one does feel decidedly lopsided between San Francisco and Kansas City, but not as much as you may think.

For the 49ers, Raheem Mostert leads the rushing attack, and his bonkers performance in the playoffs showcases his strong efficiency during the regular season. Mostert led all running backs with 150 or more carries in Rushing NEP per rush. After bouncing around from team to team, Mostert appears to have found a home.

For the Chiefs, Damien Williams has been the lead dog, but hasn't been nearly as efficient as Mostert -- he owns a -0.04 Rushing NEP per carry over 140 carries this year. Williams has been heavily involved across the offense -- in two playoff games, he has racked up 157 all-purpose yards and 4 touchdowns.

With an edge going to the 49ers, how will the defenses stack up?

Defensive Breakdown

One area where San Francisco definitely stands out is on defense -- they rank second in all of football, second against the pass and eighth against the run.

Kansas City has still been solid -- they clock in 12th overall -- and they rank fifth against the pass. However, with a very strong ground attack coming at them in Mostert and Co., it is concerning that they rank fifth-worst in all of football.

Both teams have been outstanding in pressuring the quarterback -- in looking at Adjusted Sack Rate -- the 49ers rank as the second-best team in football (9.1%), and KC ranks 10th (7.6%). How these two offensive lines hold up against these strong pass rushes will be critical to victory.

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