NFL

Super Bowl 2020: NFL stars past and present predict 49ers-Chiefs

By Sports Desk February 02, 2020

Super Bowl LIV is considered too close to call by many.

The San Francisco 49ers' swarming defense and punishing ground attack versus the Kansas City Chiefs' lightning-fast offense, led by perhaps the NFL's best quarterback in Patrick Mahomes.

We asked current and past NFL greats for where they thought the game might be won and lost at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami on Sunday.

 

Hall of Fame defensive tackle John Randle: "San Francisco's front, that defensive line, is going to be putting a lot of pressure on Mahomes. If they can continue to do that, keep Patrick Mahomes from running down the field, I think they can come out with the victory."

Five-time Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick: "I think you're going to see offense, offense, offense. The 49ers defense has been so good and you have such talent on the Chiefs defense, but those offenses are both really good. I think whoever has the ball last is going to win the game."

Hall of Fame offensive lineman Bruce Matthews: "I'm a big Patrick Mahomes fan, I like the kid a lot, the way he carries himself, what he does in interviews, obviously what he does on the playing field and the way the Chiefs have responded in their two playoff games. I like the Chiefs but it's a great matchup. Kyle Shanahan, I know, will have the Niners ready to play and they're a pretty solid team on defense."

Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs: "The 49ers are a complete team, I feel like. That defensive front is crazy, that front four, front seven. But they're going against Patty. It's never a certainty of a win when you're going against him. It's going to be a good one. I'm thinking all the time that system [the 49ers rushing attack] would be a great system to be in. I'm proud of them guys, they're making the running backs look good. They're bringing the value and love for running backs back."

Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott: "If you look at the entire defensive line of the 49ers, that's real. Those guys make it hard to throw. They're going to make it hard for the Chiefs passing game, I imagine. I'm sure [Chiefs head coach] Andy Reid will have a great plan. Andy and I worked together in Philadelphia for 12 years and so expect his team to be well prepared for it. [San Francisco] will bring a lot of heat from that front four."

Pro Bowl outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett: "In order for the Niners to win, it's going to come down to their receivers other than Emmanuel Sanders and George Kittle, they’re going to have to step up and do everything. For the Chiefs to win, they need that defensive line to keep the pressure on Jimmy G [Garoppolo] and everybody to play their run gaps. If you can't stop the run, they're going to eat you alive."

Baltimore Ravens cornerback Brandon Carr: "It comes down to quarterback play. Both defenses are solid, both offenses are explosive. It comes down to the quarterback who can make the most plays and keep the momentum going for their teams."

Hall of Fame offensive tackle Anthony Munoz: "You've got to look at the Kansas City tackles. Those are the guys that, when I was playing and when we were going into a big game, the head coach would say, 'The hat would go on you'. We have two hats and those are going to be on the two tackles, [Eric] Fisher and [Mitchell] Schwartz, those are the guys that if we can see them do a pretty good job, you're going to see some points by the Kansas City offense."

Former San Francisco 49ers head coach Steve Mariucci: "I have loyalty with the team I used to coach for several years, the 49ers. I've got a lot of respect for that organisation. They've got five Super Bowls, looking for number six. But I also have loyalty with a friend, Andy Reid, we cut our teeth together 28 years ago with the Green Bay Packers. Friendships never die, right? So I have part of me that's really rooting for his success."

Five-time All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner: "I hope Sherm [49ers cornerback Richard Sherman] has five interceptions."

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    Ezekiel Elliott issued an apology following the Dallas Cowboys' heavy loss to the Arizona Cardinals, admitting after two costly fumbles: "I need to be better".

    The Cardinals improved to 4-2 as they thrashed the Cowboys 38-10 in Texas, running all over their opponents as they amassed 261 total rushing yards in the one-sided contest on Monday.

    Dallas were without starting quarterback Dak Prescott, who suffered a season-ending ankle injury during the Week 5 win over the New York Giants. The defeat drops them to 2-4 for the season, though they still remain top of the NFC East.

    Running back Elliott insisted the result was not down to Prescott's absence, instead pointing to his pair of fumbles in the first half as key moments. Having lost possession on back-to-back drives, he accepted responsibility for the result.

    "I don't think we can use that [Dak's absence] as an excuse," Elliott told the media.

    "I'm just going to keep saying it over and over - I started the game out with two fumbles, gave the ball away and gave them all the momentum they need to go take off.

    "I want to say I'm sorry and this one is on me. I need to be better."

    Both turnovers led to touchdowns for Arizona and, after Kenyan Drake put the Cardinals 14-0 up, Tony Pollard - not Elliott - was on duty at running back for the Cowboys.

    Dallas head coach Mike McCarthy made clear that despite the change during the game, Elliott remains the team's lead back.

    "Every player who plays in this league, and it's no different on our football team, if you don't take care of the football it obviously affects your opportunities," McCarthy said in his post-game media conference.

    "Tony got an opportunity, I thought he did some really good things. At the end of the day, Zeke is our bell cow and we need to get it right. He's part of the plan and he's going to be part of our success.

    "We need to get it right and take care of the football, that's for everyone who touches the football on our team."

    Elliott finished the game with 49 rushing yards on 12 attempts, while Pollard had 31 yards on 10 carries.

    The Cowboys are on the road in Week 7, taking on divisional rivals Washington.

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