49ers

49ers' Richard Sherman likely out a couple weeks with hamstring injury

49ers' Richard Sherman likely out a couple weeks with hamstring injury

Richard Sherman likely will miss multiple weeks after straining his hamstring, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters Monday in Santa Clara.

A Monday MRI revealed Sherman picked up a Grade 2 hamstring strain in the 49ers' 48-46 win over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, NFL Media's Tom Pelissero reported before Shanahan's press conference, citing a source. 

Sherman sprained his knee in the 49ers' Week 13 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, but still suited up against the Saints. He has played in every game during his second season with the 49ers, intercepting three passes and posting the fourth-highest Pro Football Focus grade of his career. 

[RELATED: What Jimmy G told Kittle before biggest play of 49ers' season]

The 11-2 49ers are in the driver's seat for the NFC's top seed, with home games against the Falcons (4-9) and Los Angeles Rams (8-5) before traveling to Seattle for a potential winner-take-all game for the NFC West title against the Seahawks in Week 17.

San Francisco can surely survive one week without Sherman, but games against the reigning NFC champions and his former team could prove difficult in his absence. 

Teams with defenses like 49ers' have great track record in Super Bowl

Teams with defenses like 49ers' have great track record in Super Bowl

The "Defense wins championships" adage didn't arise out of nowhere. It's a tried and true method tested over multiple decades of different eras of the NFL, and one that bodes well for the 49ers in Super Bowl LIV against the Kanas City Chiefs.

San Francisco finished the regular season with the No. 2-ranked defense in the league behind only the New England Patriots. The Niners have been even better on that side of the ball through two playoff contests, where they've held their opponents to nearly 30 fewer total yards per game. That defense will face arguably its toughest test all year long in Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, but based on history, there is reason to believe it will hold up.

As ESPN's Dan Orlovsky discussed on Tuesday morning's episode of "Get Up", teams with a top-two ranked defense have a very good track record in the Super Bowl. In fact, it has usually taken a Hall of Fame quarterback to overcome that defense.

Kansas City ranked fifth in the NFL during the regular season with an average of 28.2 points per game, but it's worth noting that Mahomes missed two games due to injury, and likely wasn't at full strength for several other contests. He appears to be fully healthy now, as the Chiefs have exploded for an average of 43.0 points per game in the playoffs. For comparison, the 49ers rank second among all postseason teams with an average of 32.0 points per game. While those previous top-two ranked defenses have given up an average of 18 points per game in the Super Bowl, it's unlikely San Francisco will be able to limit the Chiefs' high-flying offense to that degree, but even if they can get close, that might be enough to prove victorious.

[RELATED: 49ers, Chiefs show importance of bye weeks in NFL playoffs]

As great as the historical track record is for the 49ers, that Hall of Fame QB exception to the rule likely will keep the team from puffing its chest too much before the Big Game. Mahomes is only in his third professional season and second as a starting quarterback, but it sure looks like he'll eventually wind up in Canton.

Programming note: NBC Sports Bay Area feeds your hunger for 49ers Super Bowl coverage with special editions of “49ers Central” all week (5:30 p.m. Monday and Wednesday; 8:00 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; 6:00 p.m. Friday).

Super Bowl 54: Why history is on 49ers' side as underdogs vs. Chiefs

Super Bowl 54: Why history is on 49ers' side as underdogs vs. Chiefs

As the dust settled Sunday and the two teams competing in Super Bowl LIV were revealed, the early odds have the 49ers as one-point underdogs against reigning NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs.

While that margin shows that the sportsbooks clearly are torn on who they see coming out on top, it does indicate that there’s a consensus among bettors that Kansas City is the better team.

But if past records are any indication, the 49ers should embrace the underdog role.

"Let's not forget that in 28 career starts, Jimmy Garoppolo is 23-5," Fox Sports 1's Todd Fuhrman said. "Let's not discount his abilities and what he can do in this particular stage."

[RELATED: 49ers, Chiefs show importance of bye weeks in NFL playoffs]

There’s still plenty of time between now and kickoff at Hard Rock Stadium, so expect the lines to shift over that span.

But it might just be the time to throw down that bet while the odds still are in your favor.

 

Programming note: NBC Sports Bay Area feeds your hunger for 49ers Super Bowl coverage with special editions of “49ers Central” all week (5:30 p.m. Monday and Wednesday; 8:00 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; 6:00 p.m. Friday).