After a historic season played during COVID-19, Super Bowl LV will pin the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the Kansas City Chiefs. Though this game will be Buccaneer quarterback Tom Brady’s tenth championship, Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs will ultimately be crowned the winner.
Quarterbacks aren’t the whole football team, but this is the most quarterback-centric Super Bowl in years. You can’t ignore the importance of Mahomes, the face of this new era of the league, going against Brady, the most prolific passer in league history.
When Mahomes signed his historic Chiefs contract during the off-season, Head Coach Andy Reid seemed committed to building a dynasty and, so far, has been succeeding. This season, Mahomes threw for an MVP-worthy 4,740 yards, 38 touchdowns and six interceptions.
Mahomes has not done everything by himself. His receiving corps should receive just as much credit for their stellar performance over this season. Tight-end Travis Kelce finished the season second in the league in receiving yards. Tyreek Hill also had a top-tier season with 1,276 yards and 15 touchdowns. Hill obliterated the Bucs during the regular season when he caught 13 catches for 269 yards and three touchdowns.
The Chiefs (14-2) have the best record in the league and have a chance to become the first back-to-back champions since Brady’s Patriots in 2004-2005.
Besides the implications this matchup poses about the future of the league, the quarterbacks will also be key in deciding this game offensively. The Chiefs have the best ranked passing offense in the NFL, while the Buccaneers are right behind as the second-ranked passing offense..
While the Buccaneers are listed as the underdogs, the Chiefs know their opponent’s worth. Tampa Bay has been one of the most unstoppable teams in the past weeks, and Brady is the last player in NFL history you ever want to play in the playoffs. The Bucs have scored over 30 points in six consecutive games, averaging around 36 points per game. During that stretch, Brady has thrown 17 touchdowns and five interceptions.
In order to win, The Chiefs must play physical defense from the start of each drive and limit huge plays. The Bucs have proven to be one of the league’s most explosive offenses, and once they get into the red zone, it’s hard to stop them from scoring. Brady has a reputation for his plays in the red zone, throwing 36 touchdowns and zero interceptions there.
Brady also has his fair share of weapons this season. Tight-end Rob Gronkowski and wide receiver Mike Evans pose a threatening combo this Super Bowl, with 15 combined touchdowns in the red zone this season.
The Bucs have the best rushing defense in the league, only allowing 3.6 yards per attempt. With Eric Fisher, the Chiefs’ left tackle, out, the Chiefs could face problems in both the run and pass game from the Bucs’ pass rush. The Bucs had 48 sacks this season.
The game has a high potential to become a shootout, but what the Chiefs must rely on is its ability to force and utilize turnovers. Brady has had careless outbursts, like his three interceptions in three straight drives in the NFC Championship, and exploiting this is a good move.
The Chiefs need to take the ball away and give its offense more opportunities to score. That could be the difference between hoisting the Lombardi trophy or sulking in the confetti. The Chiefs have some of the most dynamic defensive playmakers in the league, like safety Tyrann Mathieu and defensive tackle Chris Jones, who could turn the tide of the game in a few seconds.
This matchup is exciting and balanced on both sides. Both teams have a loaded pass attack and playmakers on both sides of the ball. However, when it comes to consistency, the Chiefs have the edge. The Bucs are riding an impressive streak, but they’ve been sloppy over the regular season and playoffs. The Chiefs have looked sharp from the start.
Reid and the Chiefs have the chance to bolster a championship team into an even better championship team. The Bucs are hungry for a ring, but the Chiefs are on a mission to continue its dynasty.