Many people thought we wouldn’t make have a Super Bowl LV this year because of the pandemic, but here we are. We’ve officially made it to the Super Bowl. This game features a rematch between two teams who faced off in the regular season as the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have won their respective conferences.
The battles between Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes have always ended up being must-watch television and this game is no different. Each of these legends have proven that they can win at the highest level and have done it consistently.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Journey
The Buccaneers were never really favored to be here. After some early-season hiccups and some concerns that Brady might be past his prime, they only made it into the playoffs as a Wild Card. Even so, they were able to kick off their playoff run with a Wild Card Weekend victory over the Washington Football Team, which oddly enough was their biggest test. Washington was able to put up a terrific fight, with the game being decided on the Football Team’s final drive of the contest in which the Buccaneers were able to pick up a huge stop.
The Bucs defense continued their dominance into the Divisional Round of the playoffs against the New Orleans Saints, a team that defeated them twice in the regular season. The Buccaneers forced four turnovers in the contest to help lift them to an upset win to keep their season alive. They continued their great play into the NFC Championship game where they knocked off the No. 1 seed in the NFC – the Green Bay Packers – and Aaron Rodgers.
Tampa Bay played three straight road games but now gets to become the first team ever to host the Super Bowl. That could be a key edge in this game.
Kansas City Chiefs’ Journey
The Chiefs have been favored to win the Super Bowl since the beginning of the year. They won more games than any other side in the regular season, earned a bye and then were able to knock off the Cleveland Browns in the Divisional Round of the playoffs despite losing Mahomes. Luckily, the injury wasn’t too serious and Mahomes was able to return to play in the AFC Championship game against the Buffalo Bills. While the Chiefs started slow, they woke up and ended up dominating en route to an easy win. Now the defending champs are back in the Super Bowl for a second straight season.
Chiefs-Buccaneers 2020 Regular Season Contest
In late November, the Bucs and Chiefs played at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa and the Chiefs won the game 27-24. Patrick Mahomes threw for 462 yards, 3 touchdowns, no interceptions, and a 124.7 quarterback rating. Tyreek Hill had 13 receptions for 269 yards and 3 touchdowns. Travis Kelce was overshadowed by Hill's game, but the All-Pro tight end still has 8 catches for 8 yards.
Meanwhile, Tom Brady had 345 yards for 3 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, and a quarterback rating of 96.1. Mike Evans had 3 receptions for 50 yards and 2 touchdowns. Chris Godwin led the Bucs in catches with 8 for 97 yards, while Rob Gronkowski led the team in receiving yards (6 for 106). Shaq Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul each had a sack in the game. The Chiefs scored most of their points in the 1st Quarter, while Tom Brady led the Buccaneers on two 4th Quarter drives to make the score closer.
One major difference from the November game is the Chiefs' loss of starting left tackle Eric Fisher to an Achilles injury. That could open the door to a big game from Shaq Barrett, who is coming off a huge NFC title game. Barrett had 3 sacks in the NFC Championship Game after David Bakhtiari missed the game with a tore ACL. Left tackles might not sound so important, but the key to slowing down any top quarterback in today's NFL is a consistent pass rush. If the Bucs have any chance of staying in the game or beating the spread, players like Jason Pierre-Paul and Shaq Barrett must put consistent pressure on Patrick Mahomes.
This matchup could go either way as Mahomes and Brady have always put together exciting performances when they share a field. The two teams squared off in the regular season when the Chiefs won 27-24 at Tampa Bay.
Mahomes has proven that he is one of the best quarterbacks in the league and has continued to shine in the postseason. Brady has struggled at times in this postseason but this Tampa Bay team still has the weapons to put up a large number of points in this matchup.
The Bucs appear to have the better defense and running game, while the Chiefs field the better offense. The question is which team’s area of strength will shine in this year’s championship game?