It all comes down to this: Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Kansas City Chiefs, Tom Brady v Patrick Mahomes and a mouth-watering Super Bowl LV showdown.
History: Played 13: Buccaneers 7 V Chiefs 6
Last meeting: November 29, 2020: Chiefs 27 d Buccaneers 24 at Raymond James Stadium
Final Thoughts: The scene is set for one of the most engrossing Super Bowl showdowns in recent memory. Kansas City Chiefs, the defending champs with brilliant quarterback Patrick Mahomes calling the shots, have remained steady as $1.58, three-point favourites.
On the other side of the fence, the G.O.A.T. Tom Brady, who has steered Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the big one in his first year with the franchise. The Bucs also become the first team in Super Bowl history to play at their home stadium.
Chiefs make compelling case for back-to-back crowns
The 14-2 Chiefs cruised to the AFC’s top seed before surviving their Divisional Round clash with the Browns, winning 22-17 despite Mahomes leaving the field with concussion.
Down 9-0 to the Bills in the AFC Championship, the Chiefs powered to a 38-24 victory. Mahomes (325 yds, 3 TDs) was outstanding in conjunction with receivers Tyreek Hill (172 yds) and Travis Kelce (118 yds, 2 TDs).
There’s few chinks in the Kansas City offence, which is set to be boosted by the return of WR Sammy Watkins. But question marks remain over their defence – particularly in the red zone. The secondary stepped up in the comeback win in Super Bowl LIV, stymieing the 49ers’ vaunted rushing attack and forcing Jimmy Garoppolo into two interceptions…but Brady represents a far greater challenge.
Meanwhile, Mahomes takes on a Buccaneers defence ranked third in the NFL for interceptions.
Brady and Bucs peaking at the right time
Tampa Bay won their last four regular season games to finish with an 11-5 record. Brady has led them past Washington (31-23), New Orleans (30-20) and Green Bay (31-26) in the playoffs – the latter two as underdogs.
The Buccaneers’ defence deserved a huge chunk of the credit for the win over the Saints, terrorising Drew Brees. A huge second quarter from Brady put the Bucs on course for the upset against Aaron Rodgers’ Packers.
The 43-year-old featured in nine Super Bowls with the Patriots, for six wins and a record four Super Bowl MVP gongs. But this is just his second as an underdog.
Brady has passed for 47 touchdowns this season and is surrounded by an ultra-talented offence, headlined by receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, and RB Leonard Fournette. Then there’s the veteran Rob Gronkowski. Tampa Bay are sweating on the availability of Antonio Brown, who missed the NFC Championship with a knee injury.
Chiefs’ psychological edge
Kansas City held off Tampa Bay 27-24 in their late-November clash. Mahomes (462 yds, 3 TDs, 0 INTs) outpointed Brady (345 yds, 3 TDs, 2 INTs), while Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill finished with 269 yards and 3 touchdowns on 13 receptions.
The result ended a five-match losing streak against the Bucs, with the Chiefs’ previous victory in the rivalry coming in 1993. The franchises have never met in the post-season. The Mahomes v Brady count stands at 2-all.
Tampa Bay’s post-season run has been staged entirely on the road; they are 5-3 at home this season. The Chiefs are a perfect 8-0 away from Kansas City.
It’s tough to go against Tom Brady in a Super Bowl – and the Bucs’ momentum is undeniable. The Chiefs will be tested like few other times during their reign as an NFL superpower, but they still shape as the best bet in what shapes as one of the great Super Bowls.
Just two of the last 10 Super Bowls were decided by more than 11 points, while seven of the last 13 featured a margin of six points or less.
SUPER BOWL TIPS
|Result/Total Double||Chiefs/Over 48.5 @ $2.10|
|Tri-Bet||Either Team by 7 or less @ $1.83|
|Tom Brady Passing TDs||Over 2.5 @ $2.31|