Super Bowl Preview
Chiefs vs Buccaneers
Here we are, after a season of unknowns and improbabilities, we have made it to the final game of the year. The Super Bowl. The goat vs the kid, the greatest vs the most talented, Tom Brady vs Patrick Mahomes. The Buccaneers vs the Chiefs. This game has the potential to be the greatest Super Bowl ever and there is a ton of historical context behind the matchup of Brady and Mahomes. For the first time ever, the Super Bowl features two quarterbacks that have won both NFL MVP and Super Bowl MVP. This is also the first time ever that the past two Super Bowl winning quarterbacks have faced off in the Super Bowl. While this game may be very early in Mahomes' career, it may be the most important game he will ever play in. Mahomes has the potential to be the greatest football player of all time. In order to be the best, you need to beat the best and if Mahomes loses this game it will hard for him to knock Brady off his throne. Mahomes needs to win this game in order to ever surpass Brady as greatest quarterback of all time.
Let's look at the key to this game for the Buccaneers' offense. In the past three games, the Chiefs defense has given up over 125 rushing yards per game (which is 18th in the NFL) and 237 passing yards per game (16th in the NFL). The Buccaneers should be able to both run and throw the football on the Chiefs defense, but they need to capitalize when they're in scoring position. The Buccaneers can not struggle on third and fourth down. They need to score touchdowns, not field goals. The Chiefs are going to score points, we know that. Whenever it is fourth and four or less in the red zone, Bruce Arians needs to go for it. As Arians would say, "No risk it, no biscuit". If there was ever a game to make bold calls, it would be right here in the Super Bowl against Patrick Mahomes. Back when Tom Brady had a rivalry against the Ravens, he would write "Find 20 on every play" on his wrist. That meant watch out for Ed Reed who is the greatest safety of all time. On Sunday he will need to write, "Find 32 on every play" because he can not test Tyrann Mathieu. Mathieu is arguably the best safety in the NFL and is a phenomenal ball hawk. Brady needs to be careful when throwing in Mathieu's direction. Buccaneers running back, Leonard Fournette a.k.a Playoff Lenny, has been one of the most impressive players in the playoffs. If the Bucs jump out to a lead, Byron Leftwich will need to find ways to get the ball into Fournette's hands. No lead is ever safe when playing against Patrick Mahomes, so the best way to stop him is by keeping him on the sidelines. I expect a heavy dosage of deep passes from the Buccaneers today. The Chiefs are going to try and put pressure in Brady's face which calls for a lot of man coverage and one on one opportunities. Antonio Brown, Chris Godwin, and Mike Evans need to win their matchups and make plays down field. The key to victory for the Buccaneers offense will be to capitalize on third and fourth down and let Playoff Lenny tote the rock.
For the Buccaneers defense, they have to contain Tyreek Hill. When these two teams faced off in the regular season, Hill had over 200 yards in the first quarter. That can't happen again. Thankfully, Sean Murphy-Bunting has played at an all-pro level since the playoffs started and the Bucs have Antoine Winfield Jr. back. Todd Bowles will most likely be able to put pressure on Mahomes with just a four man rush because the Chiefs starting left tackle, Eric Fisher tore his achilles in the AFC championship game. The scariest part of the Chiefs offense is that no lead is ever safe. In just three seasons, Mahomes has made every come back imaginable. The Bucs defense can't let up. If Mahomes is out of the pocket, the defensive backs cannot let the Chiefs receivers get over the top of them. While in the red zone, the Buccaneers need to double Travis Kelce. Kelce is one of the greatest red zone threats in NFL history and he finds ways to step up in the biggest moments. Nobody has been able to stop the Chiefs offense all year, so Todd Bowles will need to come up with a creative way to make Patrick Mahomes uncomfortable. The key to this game for the Buccaneers defense is containing Tyreek Hill and double teaming Travis Kelce in the red zone.
Something to keep an eye on in this game is Chiefs Offensive Coordinator, Eric Bieniemy's play design. In the Super Bowl last season, Bieniemy was able to confuse Robert Saleh, and he will need to be creative against Todd Bowles' defense on Sunday. Patrick Mahomes will have to get the ball out fast with a backup left tackle and a banged up offensive line. I'm not worried about Mahomes in this game, he is arguably the most dominant player I have ever seen play football. He will find a way to shine. I expect Todd Bowles to pay a lot of attention to Tyreek Hill after what he did to the Buccaneers in the regular season, so guys like Sammy Watkins and Mecole Hardman will need to step up. The Chiefs need to throw the ball a lot on Sunday. With a well rested Patrick Mahomes, the Chiefs should throw the ball close to 50 times. The key to victory for the Chiefs offense is to help out backup left tackle Mike Remmers. Remmers will go head to head against Justin Pierre-Paul and Shaq Barrett. Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Le'Veon Bell will have as big of a role when it comes to blocking as they will running the ball, if not bigger. The Bucs have a dominant front-seven, so the Chiefs offensive line will need to find ways to give Mahomes time. To start the game, I expect a lot of quick passing to the Chiefs' speed receivers and running backs. The Chiefs will run a lot of hurry up offense and will play with tempo. They are going to try and tire out Tampa Bay's defense and take advantage of their young secondary. I don't see the Buccaneers being able to contain number 15 on Sunday.
There is no confusing Tom Brady. He has seen every defense possible, but the team that gave him the hardest time were the Giants back in the day. Who constructed the Giants defense in the 2007 season? Chiefs defensive coordinator, Steve Spagnuolo. Spagnuolo is going to bring relentless pressure and force Brady to get the ball out fast. The key to victory for the Chiefs defense is Tryann Mathieu, the Honey Badger. Brady is going to throw the ball up and with Mathieu roaming the field he needs to make plays in the ball. The Chiefs defense will run lots of man coverage which means L'Jarius Snead and Breshaud Breeland will need to make plays on the outside against Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. If the Chiefs defense can hold the Buccaneers to 3 points inside the red zone, that will make a huge difference. The Chiefs defense needs to play penalty free football and be stout inside the red zone.
I expect a high scoring game that results in the Chiefs being back-to-back champions! This game is going to be a shootout, and I say that both Mahomes and Brady have over 4 touchdowns a piece. I believe the winning team will have a defensive touchdown. Both quarterbacks are hard to bet against, but we are now living in the Patrick Mahomes era and I think the "not-so big name" receivers will step up. I hope everyone enjoys the game and has a great time with their families!
Chiefs Bold Prediction: Tyrann Mathieu has an interception, forced fumble, sack, and touchdown, but Mahomes still wins Super Bowl MVP due to his five touchdown performance.
Buccaneers Bold Prediction: The Buccaneers get the ball last but lose because of a dropped pass on fourth down.
Game MVP: Patrick Mahomes QB Chiefs
Final Score: Chiefs 42 Buccaneers 36