On Thursday the MMQB staff rolled out our Super Bowl LV predictions, with final scores and MVPs, but now we’re stepping out a little further onto the limb. It’s time for our annual BOLD Super Bowl predictions. Here are the exciting, unexpected—and perhaps unlikely—outcomes our staff envisions in the big game on Sunday.
The Bucs’ linebacker duo of Lavonte David and Devin White will be the biggest key to the game outside of the quarterbacks, and one of them might wind up being MVP if the Bucs win. Most teams lack the sort of speed at the second level of the defense to truly control Mahomes when he gets off schedule. The Buccaneers don’t. And being able to handle the most dangerous part of Mahomes’s game is at least a good start in working on ideas for how Tampa Bay can slow down the Chiefs’ seemingly unstoppable offense.
Patrick Mahomes, by then fully recovered from his toe injury, will lead the Chiefs in rushing yards. The Bucs have an excellent front four and led the league this season in run defense, but Mahomes’s escapability is a potent antidote.
Due to limited fan attendance, giving the game more of a “sparsely attended, cold-weather, October game” feel, there will not be as much obvious and external pressure on the kickers, who will perform beautifully on Sunday. Neither Harrison Butker nor Ryan Succop will miss a kick. No one will discuss this because no one discusses kickers for doing their jobs, but they should! Congratulations in advance, guys.
The pandemic will impact the game in some way. It feels inevitable, given how 2020 unfolded and bled into 2021. The question is, how? Will a star player test positive this week? (Demarcus Robinson and Daniel Kilgore have already been placed on the COVID-19 list, but are expected to be available.) Will anyone miss the game due to quarantine? That’s the NFL’s biggest nightmare, to put on its biggest game, after pushing the season through, week after week, despite outbreaks for various teams like Tennessee and Cleveland. There’s little reason to think that COVID-19 won’t affect the Super Bowl, too.
Mahomes will throw for a touchdown, run for a touchdown and catch a touchdown pass, leaving us all to gawk at how much fun he is to watch. He will not, however, kick any extra points or punt, as young Andy Reid would have.
The MVP of the Super Bowl should be—but won’t be—a defensive player. Who will get robbed? Depend on who wins the game, either the Chiefs’ Chris Jones or the Bucs’ Devin White.
During the halftime show, many on social media will refer to award-winning Canadian recording artist The Weeknd as “Weekend” or “The Weekend.” I will feel an undeserved sense of satisfaction for knowing the correct spelling, though I will not recognize any of his songs—unless he covers Chicago’s “25 or 6 to 4,” as God intended.
While most of us are mentally preparing for the quarterbacks to put on a show, I think the defenses will each make their mark too. Prepare for turnovers. Five of them, to be exact. The Chiefs had only 16 in the regular season (that is an average of, let me grab my phone, one per game). The Bucs had 17. But they will combine for more in Tampa. I see pressure on the quarterbacks. Good coverage. Tipped balls. There will be plenty of highlights from the offense, and they’ll put points on the board—a defensive score and/or good field position can help there too—but the defenses will show up and turnovers, as they often do, should swing the game.