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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Aqib Talib predicts 49ers over Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV

Feb 2, 2020 at 11:25 AM--

Based off his understanding of X-factors and matchups in big games, veteran cornerback Aqib Talib is predicting the San Francisco 49ers will wind up with the victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV.

Talib was a guest of NFL Network's NFL GameDay Morning in advance of the Super Bowl in Miami, and he pointed out some key matchups to watch when the two teams square off on Sunday evening.

Michael Irvin pointed out to Talib how the Chiefs speed on offense could present problems for San Francisco's coverage guys, yet Talib's answer was worth taking note.

"They can damage you, but if you play off, you can keep those fast guys in front of you," Talib said of the matchup. "You can play off at 10 [yards] and kind of bait [Chiefs quarterback] Patrick Mahomes, make it look like I might break on some, I might play deep. But as long as you've got [49ers EDGE] Dee Ford and [49ers EDGE Nick] Bosa managing that clock, you've got a great chance."

The five-time Pro Bowler, who also won Super Bowl 50 as a member of the Denver Broncos, surely was considering San Francisco's top-ranked pass defense, which surrendered only 2,707 pass yards and gave up a net average of just 4.8 yards per pass attempt -- both No. 1 in the NFL during the regular season.

"We had a four-man rush in Denver," Talib continued. "So we didn't care how fast the guy was. We were playing man. We made everything look like man, and then we'd play two man. We'd keep two-high safeties, so we'd be able to run under some times. We'd play regular man sometimes. We made you figure it out.

"But while you're figuring it out, [EDGE's] Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware are coming. A great pass rush makes DBs' jobs so easy."

Talib's 2015 Broncos, who also boasted that year's No. 1 pass defense, beat the league's No. 1 offense of the Carolina Panthers 24-10 in Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium.

Talib, who spent the better part of the last two seasons with the 49ers' NFC West rivals, the Los Angeles Rams, didn't face off against his divisional adversary during the regular season, due to injury, before being moved to the Miami Dolphins in the middle of 2019. Still, Talib seems to recognize what the Niners have and how their chances of success over the Chiefs hinge on such strengths.

"It's hard to go against a defense and run game," Talib concluded when asked about his prediction. "So I've gotta go with San Fran. A four-man rush, defense, run game. I've seen that story before, so I'll go with San Fran."
  • Written by:
    Peter Panacy has been writing about the 49ers since 2011 for outlets like Bleacher Report, Niner Noise, 49ers Webzone, and is occasionally heard as a guest on San Francisco's 95.7 FM The Game and the Niners' flagship station, KNBR 680. Feel free to follow him, or direct any inquiries to his Twitter account.


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