Why Russell Wilson is picking Chiefs to beat 49ers in Super Bowl LIV

If there’s anyone that knows the secret to beating the 49ers, it’s Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.

The six-time Pro Bowler has been a thorn in San Francisco’s side ever since entering the NFL in 2012. Over 16 regular-season matchups with the 49ers up to this point in his career, Wilson has led the Seahawks to a 12-4 record against their divisional rival, including a 27-24 overtime victory at Levi’s Stadium in Week 10. Oh, and he also led Seattle to a narrow win over San Francisco in the 2013 NFC Championship Game, after which the Seahawks crushed the Broncos to win Super Bowl XLVIII.

That’s the closest the 49ers have come to reaching the Super Bowl until, well, now. San Francisco walloped the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game and will now face the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV in Miami on Sunday, who are coming off extremely impressive display against the Tennessee Titans and Houston Texans on the AFC side of the bracket.

Wilson is in Miami for the Super Bowl festivities, and recently joined NFL Network’s David Carr to offer his insight on how the 49ers-Chiefs matchup might play out.

“I think the first thing is, can the offensive line of the Chiefs — which is a really great offensive line — can they slow down the 49ers’ defensive line? That’s the key to this game,” Wilson said. “Because if they can slow ’em down, then Patrick Mahomes gets outside the pocket, has a little bit more time to decipher who he wants to get the ball to, and then great things happen. But if the defensive line can get to Patrick early and often, then it changes the game, and really, it gives, obviously, the 49ers the advantage to be able to do what they really want to do on offense, as well. That’s to be able to run the ball and play-action them when they can.”

It sure sounds like Wilson is speaking from experience, as he has been sacked seven times by San Francisco this season. Despite his familiarity with the 49ers, though, he’s not picking them to win the big game.

“I’m going to make the game interesting. I’m going to go 27-21 … and I’m gonna go with the Chiefs.”

If not for a clutch fourth-down stop by 49ers rookie linebacker Dre Greenlaw, there’s a decent chance Seattle would be the team representing the NFC in the Super Bowl, rather than San Francisco. Perhaps the sting of the Week 17 loss remains with Wilson? In any case, he wouldn’t rule the 49ers out.

“It’s going to be tough, though, ‘cuz, you know, [Richard Sherman]’s such a playmaker,” Wilson explained. “It’s hard to bet against Sherm — he always finds a way to do something really crazy out there. You saw him intercept that ball down the field at the end of the game [against Green Bay]. He has a good knack, especially in scramble modes like that. But I just think they have so many weapons for the Chiefs. They got [Travis] Kelce, they got Tyreek [Hill], they got Mahomes, they got the running backs, they got receivers — they’ve got everybody, so that’s going to be really interesting.”

Wilson’s final assessment of the matchup came down to his fellow quarterbacks on each side.

“I think what’s going to be really critical is how [Jimmy] Garoppolo plays throughout the game early on. It’s both quarterbacks’ first time playing in the Super Bowl, really playing in it, so who can calm those emotions earlier?”

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Until Ravens QB Lamar Jackson takes the mantle from him, Mahomes is the reigning NFL MVP. The 49ers will certainly have their hands full with him, but it’s definitely possible he’s not the last QB they would want to face.

Programming note: NBC Sports Bay Area feeds your hunger for 49ers Super Bowl coverage with special editions of “49ers Central” all week (9:30 p.m. Friday, and 3 p.m. Saturday).

Also tune in at 1 p.m. on Super Bowl Sunday for a two-hour special of “49ers Pregame Live” with Laura Britt, Donte Whitner, Jeff Garcia, Ian Williams, Kelli Johnson, Greg Papa and Grant Liffmann. That same crew will have all the postgame reaction on “49ers Postgame Live,” starting immediately after the game.

Why Russell Wilson is picking Chiefs to beat 49ers in Super Bowl LIV originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

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