Super Bowl Preview

Ezekial Stettler, The Delphi Staff

The 2020-2021 NFL season is coming to a close in Tampa Bay, Florida, where Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs hope to take down Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Yes, you read that correctly, the Buccaneers are playing in their home stadium, marking the first time in the sport’s history that this has happened. Will the Buccaneers be able to take advantage of the home field advantage when there won’t be many fans there? Will Mahomes and the Chiefs be able to defend their championship title?

Kansas City Chiefs (16-2) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (14-5):

When the world wanted things to go back to normal, life obliged…to a degree. Tom Brady is back in the Super Bowl for the tenth time, hoping to secure his seventh Super Bowl ring.

Tom Brady left New England with hopes to find victory elsewhere, and Robert Kraft, the Patriots owner, is rooting for his former franchise quarterback, per FoxSports. Brady is 43-years-old and has made the Super Bowl three times since turning 40. No other quarterback, age 40 or older, has made it to the Super Bowl once.

The ageless wonder is not alone in the backfield, however, as a strong running back core has aided the Buccaneers. They do not have a single 1,000-yard rusher, however, Ronald Jones just barely missed the mark with his 978 yards on the ground. This is due in part to the position’s committee approach, with LeSean McCoy and Leonard Fournette also taking a bit of the load off of Jones’s shoulders.

The offensive line has also played a big part in the success of the running backs and Brady, as they’ve cleaned up their game after being heavily criticized in the past for their lack of production. Rookie Tristan Wirfs was a key pick-up for them in the draft and aided in the endeavor.

The Buc’s wide receiver room is deep, and I mean deep. Antonio Brown, the 7x Pro Bowler and 4x All-Pro pass-catcher, will battle against a former teammate from his Steelers days and hope to contribute as a backup receiver. Chris Godwin, who is set to hit free agency this year, gave up his jersey number, 12, to Tom Brady when he came down from New England. Mike Evans, who has reached 1,000 yards receiving every year he has been in the league, is suffering from a nagging knee injury that could inhibit his performance Sunday, but he is expected to be active for the game anyways. Scotty Miller, who is one of Tom Brady’s deep threats with 15.2 yards per catch, claims that he is faster than Tyreek Hill, who is one of the fastest known men alive.

On defense, the Buccaneers linebacker core is one of the best in the league, with two of their four starting linebackers predicted to win the Super Bowl MVP award by NFL analysts. Those two are Devin White and Shaquille Barrett, who, alongside Jason Pierre-Paul and Lavonte David, have been giving opposing offenses fits.

In front of them is a powerful group of defensive linemen, headed by the now healthy Vita Vea. Behind the linebacker core is a young secondary, where none of the starters have been in the league longer than 3 years. Rookie Antoine Winfield Jr. has had an incredible season so far, and the second round pick has tallied 3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and 1 interception. This defense will have their work cut out for them as they go up against one of the greatest offenses in the league.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid led his team to a franchise record 14 wins during the regular season, the first time he has done so in his career. His closest season to doing so before this year was back in 2004 when he led the Philadelphia Eagles to a 13-3 record and a Super Bowl appearance. He fell short of the victory when he was beaten by none other than Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Against Tampa’s head coach, Bruce Arians, Andy Reid is 1-1, so this game will be a tiebreaker between the two HCs as well.

Patrick Mahomes, one of the most talented players the sport has ever seen, has only been in the league for just shy of four years. With a highlight tape as long as the bandwagon following him, he is hoping to win another Super Bowl, having won last years as well and claimed the superbowl MVP honour as well.

One major factor for this game will be the Chiefs’ banged up offensive line, with their most reliable pass protector, Eric Fisher, out with an injury. Behind them and Mahomes is a running back core headed by rookie first-round selection, Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Behind him in the lineup is Le’Veon Bell, who is going up against his former teammate from his Steelers days, Antonio Brown, for their first ring.

The receivers will pose a threat for the Buccaneers defense, and they have been labeled as “the Legion of Zoom” by many, a play off of Seattle’s great “Legion of Boom” defense during its 2014 Super Bowl run. They’re aptly named as Tyreek Hill, or Cheetah, leads the group in receptions and yards. Mecole Hardman is not far behind Hill, in speed that is. Travis Kelce, the tight end, leads the team in receiving yards and receptions, and he has been phenomenal in yet another All-Pro season.

The defense is adequate at best for a Super Bowl team, with Tyrann Mathieu heading a decent secondary. L’Jarius Sneed has been a ball hawk in his rookie year, picking off opposing quarterbacks 3 times over the course of the season. Daniel Sorenson also has 3 interceptions on the season, and has proved to be a valuable piece on deep routes as a free safety. Chris Jones will look to disrupt Tom Brady as much as possible, and odds are that he will find success in his attempts. Frank Clark will aid in the endeavor on the right side and is a sack machine when he gets going.

Overall, this matchup is heavily dependent on each team’s offense, and with Patrick Mahomes on one side and Tom Brady on the other, it’s bound to be a great game.

Predicted Score: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 40 over Kansas City Chiefs 38

Bold Predictions: 

Tom Brady will throw to Chris Godwin for a last second touchdown

The game will replace Super Bowl 29 (75 points) as the highest scoring Super Bowl in NFL History with 78 points scored

Patrick Mahomes will throw for an interception that will cost the Chiefs the game