If it's not the biggest day, it's considered one of the biggest days in the sports world, as the Super Bowl is to be played on Sunday evening to close out the 2020 NFL year. This season has brought many challenges with it due to COVID-19, but the league never had to cancel any of its games. Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers play at their home venue to take on Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs to try to be the first back-to-back champs since the New England Patriots did it in 2003 and 2004.
The Saints News Network got together to offer some of their predictions for the big game. New Orleans faced each team during the regular season, losing to the Chiefs and sweeping the Bucs, but was defeated in the Divisional Round.
Kyle T. Mosley
The Kansas City defense will make Tom Brady uncomfortable in the pocket early and often with defensive interior pressure on the Bucs' offensive line. Patrick Mahomes and his offensive weapons will take advantage of the Tampa Bay secondary early in the contest. Still, Brady and the Bucs will make a late run after defensive adjustments that will limit the Chiefs' offense in the second half. Eventually, the host team will fall short in the end. Kansas City wins their second-consecutive Super Bowl title. Chiefs grind-out a tough battle to win 34-31 over the Buccaneers. Patrick Mahomes earns another MVP award.
Players to Watch for the Chiefs: TE Travis Kelce, RB Darrel Williams, WR Tyreek Hill
Players to Watch for the Bucs: TE The Gronk, RB Leonard Fournette, and WR Chris Godwin
Defensive Players of the Game: Tyrann Mathieu (Chiefs) and Devin White (Bucs)
Key Matchups: Evans vs. Sneed, Kelce vs. Bucs LBs, Brady vs. KC Secondary, Mahomes vs. Bucs D-Line
Don't Be Surprised: Scotty Miller (Bucs) and Darrel Williams (Chiefs) have a big game.
Tampa Bay has had problems all year against tight ends, which doesn't bode well against Travis Kelce, the best in the game. The Bucs will also need to find a way to contain Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill, who had 269 yards and 3 touchdowns during a 27-24 Kansas City win when these teams met in Week 12. Patrick Mahomes can be brilliant at times, but the Chiefs are banged up on the offensive line. Buccaneer edge rushers Jason Pierre-Paul and Shaquil Barrett combined for 5 sacks and 7 QB hits in the NFC title game. I think they'll wreck a Kansas City offensive line that won't be able to run the ball against the top-ranked Tampa run defense. The Buccaneers have had a balanced offense throughout the playoffs and should continue that against a suspect Chiefs defense.
Buccaneers 31, Chiefs 27
Super Bowl LV presents us with a QB matchup for the ages. “The future” of the league Patrick Mahomes battles one of the game’s G.O.A.Ts Tom Brady. The two sides did give us a preview of the big game back in Week 13 of the NFL’s regular season. In that matchup the Chiefs squeaked by the Buccaneers 27-24 behind a monster day from WR Tyreek Hill.
On Super Bowl Sunday all the focus will be on the offenses, particularly the quarterbacks but the old saying is “defense wins championships”. And though the Tampa Bay defense has been better than Kansas City’s on paper this season, I believe it will be the Chiefs defensive unit that steps up to get their side an extra possession that wins the ball game.
I predict NOLA’s own Tyrann Mathieu will force a turnover in the fourth quarter of a tied game that will allow Mahomes and co to march down the field and take a 7-point lead into the final seconds of the game. Thus, making them the first back-to-back champions since Tom Brady’s Patriots in 2004.
Chiefs 34, Buccaneers 27
Super Bowl MVP: Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes
The Bucs defense will be the biggest question mark going into the game. They are a bit banged up, like many players going into this game. Tyreek Hill is so dangerous and absolutely decimated their secondary during the meeting in the regular season, while Mahomes was stellar. Tampa tried to make a comeback, but fell short.
Like what we've witnessed in the postseason, you can honestly throw most of that out of the window. This does look to be a game where we see Andy Reid's genius kick in and gets the nod over Todd Bowles in their chess match. Kansas City should have another early barrage, and the key for Tampa is weathering that storm. If they can limit the Chiefs to some field goal situations early and get their offense going with some ground attack, then that could really help them in a big way to win this one.
However, it's hard to pick against Mahomes here. They've just been too good all season to falter in the big game. It should be an interesting one for most of the way, but Kansas City should take down the Lombardi this season.
Chiefs 35, Bucs 27
Super Bowl MVP: Tyreek Hill