|Game: Kansas City Chiefs (16-2) vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers (14-5) |
Location: Raymond James Stadium
Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
As the Championship matchups drew to a close, the sportsbook posted NFL odds of the Kansas City Chiefs as field-goal favorites (juiced heavily in their favor). Opening betting was heavy, and the three points quickly moved to -3½ even. Since then, the vig has moved a nickel back and forth.
The total opened at a mountaintop 57½ and has since shed a point.
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Super Bowl Injury Report : Kansas City Chiefs
After managing to schedule the entire season through a pandemic without a delay that postponed the Super Bowl, the NFL, via the Chiefs, got one more bizarre NFL COVID news scare.
On Monday, Kansas City placed backup C Daniel Kilgore and WR Demarcus Robinson on the COVID-IR (IR-C) due to a close-contact exposure. More notably, the contact was a barber slated to give trims to a couple of dozen players and coaches in the Chiefs’ facility. The barber reportedly tested positive on a quick-result test (after a number of previous negative results).
He had already cut Robinson’s hair, and was in the middle of Kilgore’s when the results were returned. The barber was pulled in the middle of the cut. That was enough to send the pair to the IR-C. They should be able to play on Sunday if they return negative tests through to Saturday. Daniel Kilgore took things in stride, according to his Twitter.
— Daniel Kilgore (@DanielKilgore67) February 3, 2021
Notably, Patrick Mahomes was also due for a trim by the same barber, but his number hadn’t yet come up. With an exposure-bullet dodged, attention turns to Mahomes’ turf toe. Mahomes’ continues to insist it is fine and benefiting from rest after the slow week.
The Chiefs’ injury woes only begin there, and their biggest current loss came at the end of last Sunday’s Championship game when starting left tackle Eric Fisher tore his Achilles’ tendon. Kansas City was already down a number of O-line starters, notably Mitchell Schwartz for whom Fisher was filling in at left tackle.
Now the offensive line is down to tackles Mike Remmers and Andrew Wylie, already prompting some media smack talk between the Buccaneers’ Jason Pierre-Paul suggesting he had no idea who Remmers was. (Remmers started when they played the Bucs in Week 12.) Regardless, coach Andy Reid is backing up his squad with some solid coach speak.
“My guys have been practicing hard the last couple weeks here, trying to make sure their technique and fundamentals are proper. Listen — we’re not the prettiest bunch on the offensive line, but I’ve got scrappy guys, and they’ll figure out how to do it well.”
Another loss for the Chiefs came last week in practice, as backup MLB Willie Gay can’t seem to catch a break. Sidelined through the playoffs with an ankle injury, he required emergency surgery after tearing his meniscus in Thursday’s practice.
Obviously, Fisher and Gay didn’t participate in any practices over the past week. But a couple of other players who missed most or all of the postseason are working their way back. Both WR Sammy Watkins (calf) and RB Le’Veon Bell’s (knee) missed workouts with the team last week, but on Wednesday were listed as limited participants.
Though they’re still designated as questionable, on Media Day Watkins described himself as “very optimistic” to be able to play. The swelling in Bell’s knee is another issue according to coach Andy Reid, but Bell would like to remind everyone he started the year with the Jets and his knee would have to explode to keep him out of the Super Bowl.
On the plus side, CB L’Jarius Sneed has cleared concussion protocol, is back to full practice and expected to be a go for Sunday.
Also, we prematurely declared the end of backup TE Deon Yelder’s season last week when he was sent to injured reserve for a groin injury. He’s since been designated to return and could well be active by Sunday. Good for Deon.
Super Bowl Injury Report : Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers meanwhile had a much more boring lead up, which suits them just fine. So much so that they’ve already taken to emulating some of the Super Bowl circumstances — like taking a half-hour break in the locker room in the middle of their 2½-hour practice on Wednesday, to prepare for Sunday’s extended halftime.
Tampa Bay still had a handful of players limited in that practice.
On offense, that was WR Antonio Brown, still dealing with knee-swelling issues. Brown missed the practice sessions held last week and isn’t particularly committed yet if he’ll be ready. (He was upgraded from doubtful to questionable last week.) He’s the biggest question mark leading into the week, and will undoubtedly get the bulk of speculative NFL news coverage.
On the defense, the same goes for the pair of safeties Antoine Winfield and Jordan Whitehead. Both were limited on Wednesday, with Whitehead in a redshirt, having missed last week’s practice. Winfield was described as having “half a workout” by coach Bruce Arians, but does expect he’ll be ready.
It’s not so clear for Whitehead who was already working through a knee problem last week, when he injured his shoulder in last Sunday’s win over the Packers. An MRI revealed a strained labrum and the possibility of a torn pectoral tendon, as well. He’s effectively day-to-day with all the will in the world to be dressed on Sunday.
The other limited player on the injury report, ILB Lavonte David (hamstring) is also expected to be ready come game day.
Finally, DE Jason Pierre-Paul — the guy giving lip to Mike Remmers earlier — skipped Wednesday’s practice because he’s a veteran, and that’s how he rolls. He’ll be ready to torment Remmers on Sunday.