Super Bowl 2020: Five Things to Look Out for in 49ers vs. Chiefs on Sunday

Two teams are left standing in the NFL centenary season, with the Kansas City Chiefs taking on the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV on Sunday in Miami, Florida.

Two of the most explosive offenses in the regular season—the 49ers ranked second in scoring offense, while the Chiefs were fifth—and two of the best coaches in the sport collide, with Patrick Mahomes going up against the second-best defense in the league.

Add to that the fact Kansas City is looking for a first Super Bowl in 50 years, while the 49ers could hoist the Lombardi Trophy for the first time in a quarter of a century and Sunday has all the ingredients to be an instant classic.

Here's five things to look out for in Super Bowl LIV.

San Francisco to run the ball

During the regular season, the 49ers had the league's best rushing offense behind the Baltimore Ravens, racking up an average of 144.1 yards per game.

In its two playoff games, San Francisco leaned heavily on its running game, rushing for 186 yards against the Minnesota Vikings in the divisional round and a jaw-dropping 285 against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game.

Tevin Coleman racked up 105 in the former, while Raheem Mostert piled up 220 in the latter, a new franchise record and the second highest in NFL postseason history.

There is little doubt the 49ers will run the ball on Sunday, particularly against a defense that ranked 26th against the run during the regular season. Whether the 49ers running game can be as efficient as it has been in the playoff so far remains to be seen, as Coleman is nursing a shoulder injury, which may open the door for Matt Breida—who has 13 carries for just 35 yards since fumbling twice in Week 15.

Kyle Shanahan, San Francisco 49ers
Kyle Shanahan, head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, looks on from the sidelines during the NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers at Levi's Stadium on January 19 in Santa Clara, California. Ezra Shaw/Getty

Patrick Mahomes to target Travis Kelce

If Patrick Mahomes holds the key to the Chiefs winning the Super Bowl, Travis Kelce will have a crucial role to play in Kansas City's passing game. According to Next Gen Stats, Mahomes targeted Kelce 114 times during the regular season, completing 73.7 percent of those passes at an average of 9.8 yards per attempt.

The 49ers ranked first against the pass in the regular season and second in total defense and Kyle Shanahan will unleash his pass rush against Mahomes, who has thrown eight touchdowns in just two playoff games.

San Francisco's secondary has enough talent to limit the Chiefs' skill-position players, but expect Andy Reid to use Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins and Mecole Hardman on one side of the field to leave Kelce isolated against a cornerback on the other.

The tight end's almost telepathic understanding with Mahomes could hurt the 49ers.

Will Andy Reid finally win a Super Bowl?

"Nobody deserves a Super Bowl more than Andy Reid," has been a common refrain in the NFL for years, even more so in the lead-up to Super Bowl LIV.

With 221 career wins between regular season and playoffs, Reid ranks sixth in the all-time list of most successful NFL coaches. However, while the five coaches above him have a combined 24 titles together, Reid is still looking for his first ring.

On Sunday, Reid returns to the Super Bowl for the first time since his Philadelphia Eagles lost to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX.

The seventh coach to take multiple teams to the NFL championship game, could the 61-year-old finally hoist the Lombardi Trophy?

Andy Reid, Kansas City Chiefs
Andy Reid, head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, during the game against the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Championship Game at Arrowhead Stadium on January 19 in Kansas City, Missouri. David Eulitt/Getty

Neither team to sit on a lead

In 13 of the 19 Super Bowls played since the turn of the millennium the team leading at halftime won the game. The notable exceptions are the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI—when 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan was the offensive coordinator—the New England Patriots in Super Bowls XLVI and XLII and the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV—the scores were tied at halftime in Super Bowls XXXIX and XLIX.

Both the Chiefs and the 49ers, however, have developed a habit of coming from behind this season and Patrick Mahomes and Jimmy Garoppolo are a combined 7-1 after trailing by at least 10 points. By comparison, the rest of the NFL has a combined 29-208-1 record in the same scenario.

Game management could be an issue

Kyle Shanahan and Andy Reid are elite play callers and some of the most astute schemers in football, but to suggest neither is known for their game management would be a major understatement.

Reid's refusal to turn to the running game to bleed the clock has its own spot in NFL lore, while during his spell as offensive coordinator in Atlanta, Shanahan watched on in horror as the Falcons squandered a 28-3 lead in Super Bowl LI.

Additionally, all three of San Francisco's losses this season—against the Seahawks, Ravens and Falcons—came when they didn't have the ball for the final drive of the game.

Should Sunday be a close contest, managing the clock could be even more crucial than usual.

Super Bowl 2020: Five Things to Look Out for in 49ers vs. Chiefs on Sunday | Sports