Super Bowl Sunday is on the horizon and as the biggest day in the sports betting world approaches the Kansas City Chiefs are gearing up to head to Tampa Bay to take on the Buccaneers in their home stadium. Raymond James Stadium will be the host of Super Bowl LV, which makes the Buccaneers the first team to play in their home stadium for a Super Bowl. The biggest game of the year is set to kick off on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. ET and will be televised on CBS.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are making their second appearance in a Super Bowl, and it will mark the fifth time since 2000 that a Wild-Card has made it. Each of the previous four teams went on to win. The franchise may have only been to one other Super Bowl, but their quarterback, Tom Brady, will be making his 10th appearance.
The Kansas City Chiefs will be making their fourth appearance and are trying to become the first team since the 2003-04 Patriots to capture the championship in back-to-back seasons. As the preseason favorite to win the Super Bowl the Chiefs are right on track to show the rest of the league that there is a new dynasty to try and takedown for the foreseeable future.
The @Chiefs became the 14th team to return to the Super Bowl one year after winning it all.
— Sunday Night Football on NBC (@SNFonNBC) February 4, 2021
Mahomes and Brady — All the Talk
All the talk leading up to the championship game has been about the opposing QBs. Patrick Mahomes is trying to become the first quarterback ever to have two championships and an MVP award at 25-years old. The young-phenom has been nothing short of great since getting handed the keys of coach Eric Bieniemy’s offense. Mahomes has put the rest of the league on watch as his competitors are left wondering how they can stop him and the Chiefs for years to come.
Tom Brady is the definition of greatness when it comes to the quarterback position, on his way to becoming the G.O.A.T. of the NFL. Seeking his seventh title, the 43-year-old will be making his third Super Bowl start since turning 40 — no other QB has started an SB after the age of 40. Brady has 33 career postseason wins, more than 28 active franchises, and his 34th win would put him on a level that most people thought was impossible before Brady.
Yes the two men mentioned above deserve all the attention and they will play a huge role in this game. The winner and MVP of the game may be the QB that has the ball last, just like the last time these two faced off in a playoff game in 2019. But football is a team sport and everyone in the locker room has a role to play in this one.
Get your scuba gear on because we are about to go diving deep into these teams’ chances to win the Lombardi Trophy.
Week 12 – Chiefs 27, Bucs 24
The first time the Chiefs headed to Tampa Bay to take on the Bucs they jumped to a 17-0 lead in the first quarter on their way to a 20-7 lead at the half. The Bucs fell behind so fast mainly due to the speed and playmaking of Tyreek Hill. Hill had seven catches for 203 yards and two touchdowns in the first quarter alone — one TD from 75 yards and the other from 44 yards. Hill was also responsible for the catch to allow the Chiefs to run out the clock.
“The last one, I learned a long time ago, you don’t give Tom Brady another shot,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said when asked about the game. “That’s why he’s the G.O.A.T. So, don’t give them the ball back. That was the mindset there.”
Brady led two fourth-quarter TD drives to bring the game within a field goal. The Chiefs’ offense was good enough to be able to run out the clock once they got the ball back after the Bucs scored with a little more than four minutes left in the fourth quarter.
2019 AFC Championship Game
Reid learned his lesson on Brady’s greatness the hard way when most recently, his Chiefs took on Brady and the Patriots in the AFC Championship game in 2019. The Chiefs scored a touchdown that gave them a 28-24 lead with 2:03 left on the clock, which was more than enough time for Brady to lead a touchdown drive. The Chiefs were able to kick a 39-yard field goal with 0:08 left to send the game to overtime.
Brady then led a game-winning 13-play, 75-yard drive on the opening possession of OT that sent Brady to his ninth SB. Though Mahomes was the better QB on that day in January — Brady got the W. The run game was the difference as RB Sony Mitchell played a huge role in the Patriots’ ability to control the game as he ended with 113 rushing yards and two-TDs.
How the Offenses Compare
The Chiefs (303.4) and Bucs (289.1) finished No. 1 and No. 2 in passing yards per game during the regular season. Per Elias Sports Bureau research, this will be the first Super Bowl ever to feature the top two passing offenses in the NFL.
The Chiefs’ offense
The Chiefs’ 16-2 record is the best in the NFL but they were 8-10 against the spread which had a lot of analysts thinking they were overrated. Covering the spread was not the goal of Andy Reid and his team. Kansas City continually controlled the games they won and instead of running away with the game by trying to score 50 points, they chose to manage the game and play smart.
The Chiefs have abandoned the running game on their way to the No. 1 passing offense which actually could play in their favor against the Bucs’ No. 1-rush defense. The Chiefs use TE Travis Kelce all over the field and he is Mahomes favorite target when they need a first down. The All-Pro TE is the first to ever record five-straight 1,000-yard seasons and he finished No. 2 overall in receiving yards this season.
Kelce is a matchup problem for anyone who tries to cover him and Reid’s system is great at taking advantage of these matchups. Mahomes has full trust in Kelce to make the proper reads in his routes and the two have a connection that is hard to understand unless you have been watching them all season. They play ‘back-yard-football’ (meaning they make read plays that aren’t called) better than any QB-receiver combo ever.
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) February 5, 2021
Chiefs offensive line
The key to the Chiefs’ success against the Bucs is going to be if they can protect Mahomes. On paper, the Chiefs could be in big trouble. Mike Remmers and Nick Allegretti began the season for the Kansas City Chiefs as backups. Stefen Wisniewski was with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Andrew Wylie was a starter for the Chiefs but at right guard. Now all four will be starting in the Super Bowl and they are expected to keep the Bucs’ front four from wrecking the day.
I expect the Bucs to play a two-high safety look for most of the game and try and get pressure by bringing four. If they succeed at disrupting Mahomes with a four-man rush then they can play all sorts of zones and man looks behind their rush. Tampa Bay’s Jason Pierre-Paul and Shaquil Barrett both rank top-five in pass rush win rate among edge rushers this postseason. The equalizer in this equation is that Mahomes thrives under pressure, he leads the NFL in QBR when pressured (75.6).
The Bucs are more balanced on offense and their run game could be the key to winning the championship. During the regular season, the Buccaneers ran the ball by design 34% of the time, which ranked 26th in the NFL. They finished tied for 28th in rushing offense (94.9 yards per game). The Bucs have averaged 115-rushing yards in their three postseason games. It is key for the Bucs to pound-out at least 115 yards on the ground if they want to win against the Chiefs.
The Bucs have a plethora of playmakers that Brady can pass the ball to. WRs Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are two of the most physically gifted receivers in the NFL. The Bucs are hoping to get WR Antonio Brown back from injury as he is listed with a questionable tag. Brown is the most prolific and the most skilled No. 3 option in any offense that I have ever seen. Brady has his old pal TE Rob Gronkowski to look for in the middle of the field or TE Cameron Brate if Gronk is blocking. If the Bucs can establish a run game on first down then they will become nearly impossible to stop on the later downs because the whole playbook opens up for Brady and his dynamic skill players.
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) February 4, 2021
How the Defenses compare
The Bucs boast the No. 1 rush defense in the NFL during the regular season but that strength should not be a huge factor in the game since the Chiefs are perfectly content in not running the ball. The Chiefs’ strength on defense is their pass defense, they finished the regular season with the fifth-lowest completion percentage (62.7).
Chiefs’ Defense – Pressure Brady
The Chiefs dare teams to run the ball and mix up their looks by moving safety Tyrann Mathieu all around the field. Kansas City generated pressure on 35.8% of opponent passing plays this season which was No. 2 in the NFL, and Brady ranked 27th in QBR under pressure (10.6). DT Chris Jones had the second-best pass rush win rate as an interior rusher this season (20.3%) and his presence could be the difference because Brady has been forced into some horrible throws with pressure.
The Chiefs have allowed touchdowns on 76.6% of red-zone possessions, worse than any other team in the league and the worst mark by a Super Bowl team in the past 20 years. The Chiefs have played with a lead for a lot of the season and have not had to worry about teams running the ball on them. If the game script flips to the Bucs with the lead, then stopping the run could be a key storyline as the game wears on.
— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) February 5, 2021
Bucs’ Defense – Contain Hill and Kelce
The Bucs will most likely be able to get pressure on Mahomes, but that does not mean they will be successful at containing him and his offense. The Bucs will be committing extra defenders to stop Hill and Kelce and make Mecole Hardman and Demarcus Robinson be the players to beat them. Both Hardman and Robinson have game-breaking speed but they are not possession receivers that can help the Chiefs move the chains. It looks like WR Sammy Watkins should be ready to go after missing time with an ankle injury. Watkins’ presence would make it a lot harder for the Bucs to fully key on Hill and Kelce because he can gobble up targets if he needs to. If the Bucs can successfully slow down Kelce and Hill, then the Chiefs will need their other WRs to really step up.
The Buccaneers linebackers, who are arguably the best LB-group in the NFL, have a huge role to play in this game. Devin White recorded the second-highest pass rush win rate among off-ball linebackers this season (36%) but he also gave up the third-most expected points added as the nearest defender to the target of all linebackers. White has made plays to create turnovers which has helped Tampa Bay’s defense produce seven takeaways this postseason. The Bucs will need some timely takeaways to win the game and White and Co. know they need to impact the game for their team.
Willie Gay and Eric Fisher are out for Sunday's game.
Sammy Watkins is questionable.https://t.co/g0NdAjC2pF
— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) February 5, 2021
Chiefs vs Buccaneers Betting Breakdown
|Team||Point Spread||Moneyline||Total||Team Totals|
|Chiefs||-3½ -105||-165||56 -110o||30|
|Buccaneers||+3½ -115||+145||56 -110u||27|
Brady has only been an underdog once in his nine Super Bowl appearances, and it was in his first. Brady and the Patriots went on to win that game against the Rams who were 14-point favorites. Now with defending champs coming to town the Bucs are the underdogs. If you are like me, you do not feel comfortable betting against Brady receiving points in the Super Bowl even against the Chiefs.
The difference in this game is Reid. The Chiefs have not had to show their whole playbook this season as they have coasted to some victories and this means Reid will have plenty of tricks up his sleeves that put his players in positions to make plays. Mahomes is being called the baby GOAT for a reason and he is ready to take the torch from Brady. I like the -165 moneyline that the Chiefs are getting to win.
Moneyline Pick: Chiefs -165
The Bucs have a better roster from top to bottom and have the tools to upset the Chiefs, and they have the greatest QB. The Bucs’ defense is better than the Chiefs and they have the offense to score a high amount of points if need be. The game could come down to who has the ball last and in that case, I like the 3½ points. Give me Brady with more than a field goal any day in February.
Point Spread Pick: Bucs +3½ -115
If you are like me and think this is going to be a close game then the under should seem appealing. Neither team is going to want to take any added extra risk until later in the game because they both believe they can win the close game late. If you think the Chiefs will cover then you probably think they are going to score more than 30 points and then the over starts to look juicy.
Over/Under Pick: Under 56 -110
I expect a fantastic Super Bowl with some big plays and a lot of back and forth. I think it will come down to the wire. I do not expect the Chiefs to run away with it because they have too many holes in the offensive line. The Bucs make too many mistakes so I doubt they run away with it either. Two evenly matched teams with two great QBs equals a great game. Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker will be the difference in the final score.
Final Score Prediction — Chiefs 27, Bucs 25