Super Bowl LV will be played by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-5, 14-5 overall) against the defending super bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs (14-2, 16-2 overall) in Florida at Tampa Bay’s own Raymond James Stadium. Though, there will be limited capacity of people in attendance, which could temper any true home field advantage.
The offenses will be led by Patrick Mahomes, a fourth year quarterback for the Chiefs and Tom Brady, the most accomplished quarterback of all time, who will enter his 10th superbowl seeking his seventh victory. Brady is in his 21st season and 20th as a starting QB, though it’s his first season as the QB for the Bucs.
The two QB’s are at very different points in their impressive careers, with 25-year-old Mahomes having been drafted in 2017 and currently has the most impressive career ever at his age. This is his third season as the starting QB and he has 5 playoff wins, has hosted three AFC championship games, and has now made two Super Bowls.
Brady, at 43, and after a 20-year career with the New England Patriots, with which saw the franchise win six Super Bowls, was expected to retire in this past offseason by many fans, but he opted to come to a very talented offensive team in Tampa Bay.
Brady and Mahomes have previously met in the playoffs in January 2019, when Brady and the Patriots went to Kansas City and pulled out the upset victory in overtime to clinch a spot in Super Bowl LIII, which the Patriots won 13-3.
The two teams have seen very different paths to the Super Bowl this year, with the Kansas City Chiefs being the favorite since the odds opened just after Super Bowl LIV, where they defeated the San Francisco 49ers 31-20 to win their first super bowl in 50 seasons.
The Chiefs have looked like the best team just about the entire season, especially as the Pittsburgh Steelers faltered in the AFC after an 11-0 start to their season.
The Chiefs opened up their season with a 4-0 record before being upset by the Las Vegas Raiders. Kansas City then proceeded to win their next 10 games, and their week 17 loss came with their former MVP quarterback Mahomes benched as the team had already clinched the AFC’s one seed.
The Chiefs are also led by two of the best targets in the entire league, with Tyreek Hill, a wide receiver, and the league’s best deep ball threat, and Travis Kelce, arguably the NFL’s best tight end.
After a bye week, the Chiefs defeated the Cleveland Browns in a close game after Mahomes got a concussion and had to be replaced by Chad Henne.
They then hosted the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Championship, and as expected, with Mahomes back, they controlled the game most of the way to win their second consecutive AFC title.
The Chiefs haven’t lost their spot as the NFL’s favorite all year and are three-point favorites over the Buccaneers in the Super Bowl.
Before this season, the Buccaneers hadn’t made the playoffs since 2007 and still have the NFL’s worst win percentage of all time at 39.3%.
Tampa Bay was one of the most active teams in free agency this past offseason, signing Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski and Antonio Brown. They added that to an already strong receiver core with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin coming of 1,000-plus yard seasons
The Bucs lost their very first game of the season against the New Orleans Saints, though they were able to move to 3-1 after the week one defeat. They then dropped a game to the Chicago Bears but responded with the most impressive win of the season by any team, beating the eventual NFC runner-ups, the Green Bay Packers, 38-10.
After that, the Bucs started slipping and fell to 7-5 heading into week 14, but they bounced back with wins in their final four games to advance to the playoffs at 11-5.
The Bucs saw a much tougher path than the Chiefs as they would have to win three consecutive road games to win the NFC.
They were fortunate to start their playoff journey in Washington against the 7-9 NFC East Champion Washington Football Team with a backup QB playing and were able to hold onto the lead as Washington nearly made a late comeback.
They then headed to New Orleans and avenged their two regular season losses to the NFC South division champion Saints after a few costly mistakes down the stretch by QB Drew Brees.
The Bucs then headed to Green Bay for a spot in the Super Bowl and were able to fight off the cold as well as the NFL’s MVP favorite in Packers QB Aaron Rodgers. A hail mary touchdown to wide receiver Scotty Miller at the end of the first half was the difference at the end of the game in their 31-26 win.
Even though Kansas City is expected to win back to back Super Bowls by the odds and most of the media, they have to play the NFL’s best team in the last two months who has now won seven-straight games and is led by the most experienced QB in the Super Bowl ever.
The Bucs defense has looked strong in recent weeks and if they put pressure on Mahomes, he could make some critical mistakes.
The Bucs also have a deeper offense with more high quality targets and Super Bowl experience in another former Patriot, Rob Gronkowski. Leonard Fournette also looked good running the ball in Green Bay in the NFC Championship and I expect he will have a repeat performance.
This game will be more of a challenge for the Chiefs than last year’s Super Bowl LIV, when they were facing an inexperienced QB in Jimmy Garroppolo who was more prone to making mistakes.
Tom Brady hasn’t made mistakes in the same situations, which is why he has six Super Bowl titles already and why I think he will get number seven this Sunday, Feb. 7.
I expect Super Bowl LV will be a high-scoring game and I think in the end, Tom Brady will take over, though if he makes the same mistakes he has the last two weeks, Kansas City will win.
Final Score Prediction: 41-37 Tampa Bay
Super Bowl MVP Prediction: I think Tom Brady is going to win his fifth Super Bowl MVP at 43-years-old, and we will see if he is finally ready to retire or if he finishes out the final year of his contract with the Bucs.
Sports reporter Ryan Scott can be reached at [email protected] or on twitter @RyanscottDE.
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