Somehow, someway we’ve managed to get to the final game of the 2020 NFL season in a year full of many obstacles and adversity,
The Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers will face off for the Lombardi Trophy, the crown jewel of the National Football League. In this one, you get the player many call the GOAT and the guy many believe is the heir to the throne in Tom Brady vs Patrick Mahomes.
Brady has won six Super Bowls — and appeared in three others — by shredding defenses with his arm, his eyes, his brain. Mahomes, though, captures what it means to play entertaining football in 2021. https://t.co/kYeiVMLC17
— NYT Sports (@NYTSports) February 6, 2021
Vegas still believes Mahomes and company will prove to be too much for the Bucs. With that being said here’s how I see it.
Certainly, a box-office matchup, as all Super Bowls should be. The thing is this one won’t have the atmosphere normally associated with the NFL’s penultimate game. COVID-19 restrictions limit the number of fans to only 22,500 fans and about 30,000 cardboard cutouts will fill the seats in Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Florida.
But those restrictions won’t lessen the stakes one bit. A familiar stage for both quarterbacks, as Mahomes will be looking to go back-to-back, trying to win his second Super Bowl in his very young career (3rd season as a starter and 4th overall).
In fact, he was an offsides penalty in 2018-19 from this being his third straight trip to the big game. Brady will be looking to win his 7th ring. If you hate “WINNERS” Super Bowl 55 is not for you. The Chiefs are currently 3 point favorites even with this being a road game as the Buccaneers will become the first team in NFL to play in the Super Bowl in their home stadium, also known as the “Pirateship” or “Big Sombrero” in the words of ESPN’s own Chris Berman.
Prediction: All season I said this was the likely Super Bowl with the Packers being the only real threat to keep it from coming to fruition. I believe it’s Mahomes time and he’ll secure his second SB win and second SB MVP lining him up to continue his chase down of his opponent’s records.
Final Score: Chiefs 34, Bucs 27
The emphasis is always on the creative playcalling by offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy and head coach Andy Reid. This is the best and most creative offensive duo in the NFL.
Their offensive efficiency is a huge advantage, especially in the red zone when the field shrinks. I consider Bieniemy and Reid mad scientists with the things they come up with and having a maestro like Mahomes makes that type of playcalling look so easy.
I can also assure you that they’ve been holding something up their sleeves just for Sunday. Don’t be surprised if KC strikes first with a trick play that leads to a 60-70 yard touchdown strike to Tyreek Hill or all-world tight end Travis Kelce.
The Chiefs are so good offensively, all they need to do is really play their game and the rest should take care of itself. Their run game may be more of a short passing game with the Buccaneers defensive front being stout against the run, but that’s why their passing game will have to be on point, which isn’t usually an issue with Mahomes leading the way.
The Chiefs will have something special ready to go and just by staying on script, they’ll be fine. If they can dictate the tempo and force the Bucs to have to readjust on the fly, then the floodgates will open.
On defense, the Chiefs aren’t what you’d call elite, but they’ve played much better down the stretch as they did during last season’s run to glory. They’ll need to tackle Bucs running backs Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones prior to them getting downhill.
I'm watching Chris Jones for the Chiefs. You extended his contract for games like this! When he gets it going, the defense feeds off that energy. He's their best pass rusher.
— The Daily Blitz (@dailyblitz_61) January 17, 2021
A huge X-factor for KC’s defense will be Chris Jones, their stud defensive tackle. He plays a huge role in how they stop the run and rush the QB. Also, expect defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo who’s had success beating Brady as he spearheaded the scheme to stop the Patriots in 2007 (SB42) and obliterating their undefeated season.
Brady is the 6th ranked quarterback when not pressured and 28th when he is pressured.
The D is led by defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, who is blitz-happy, but against this team that could prove to be fatal as we saw in the regular-season matchup.
The task of trying to slow down Mahomes, Kelce, Hill, etc. is a very tall one. In a week 12 win, Hill had over 250 yards and 3 touchdowns by halftime. The Bucs hope that Mahomes gets antsy and tries to force one deep, but if not they’ll have to live with giving up the underneath stuff and be solid tacklers in space.
Tampa has two very good edge rushers in Jason Pierre-Paul and Shaquill Barrett who combined for (101 QB Pressures) this season, the most in the NFL for a duo. The problem is Mahomes invites the blitz and is unfazed by it.
Offensively they need to be able to keep pace with Mahomes and company. Recently the KC defense has risen to the occasion, shutting down the Bills and their dynamic duo of Josh Allen and Stephon Diggs in the AFC title game. Tampa does have more weaponry at its disposal.
The team is very hopeful wideout Antonio Brown can play after missing the NFC title game with a knee injury. TB also has Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Rob Gronkowski and the aforementioned Fournette and Jones. Scotty Miller was an unsung hero who caught a 40-yard touchdown pass on the last play of the first half of the NFC title game to give them a (21-10) lead which they never relinquished.