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Super Bowl 55 Game Preview, Part II: Five Thoughts & Prediction

| February 5th, 2021


This might be the most interesting Super Bowl in many-a-moon. A lotta star power. Two jolly, red-faced head coaches. The point spread hasn’t moved off three points, so the game is expected to be tight. The total has fluctuated between 56 and 56.5, so the game is expected to be high-scoring. And if those two things happen, we’re looking at an exciting Sunday evening.

Five Thoughts

  • Something about this game reminds me of those classic Patriots/Giants Super Bowls. A high-powered offense on one side and a big-game quarterback/pass rush on the other. If the Bucs are going to beat Reid and Mahomes, they will need the same Shaq Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul that terrorized Aaron Rodgers in the NFC Championship Game. With Eric Fisher out, the Chiefs are exploitable along the offensive line.
  • Early in the season, the Chiefs were not particularly threatening down the field. They dinked and dunked opponents to death. Don’t be surprised if they compensate for their issues upfront by taking a similar approach against the Bucs, especially early in the game. That could mean a lot of quick tosses to Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill. Todd Bowles better have his boys in good tackling form.
  • Usually you can identify a special teams mismatch in these games but there isn’t one here. Both kickers are reliable. Both punters are effective but used sparingly. The Chiefs are narrowly better in the return games. When games are perceived to be this evenly-matched, it may not come down to which specials unit makes a play but instead which avoids the big mistake at a crucial moment.
  • Watch the weather forecast, especially if you’re planning to place any bets. There is predicted rain in Tampa Sunday but the belief now is that should be cleared out by the 6:30 PM ET kickoff. If it does rain, I tend to give an advantage to the quarterback who has seen everything and the steadier rush attack.
  • One can not underestimate the achievement of Mahomes winning his second title. Rodgers hasn’t gotten to a second title game. Brees never got to a second title game. Peyton Manning went along for the ride to get his second ring. Mahomes is four quarters away from football immortality. Will he recognize that?


Prediction

Which Tom Brady shows up?

The Brady who ruthlessly dissected the Packers for the first two quarters in Green Bay, or the Brady who missed open targets all over the field in the second half?

I think it’s the former.

Tampa Bay Bucs 27, Kansas City Chiefs 24

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