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The NFL has given us the ultimate showdown in it’s biggest game of the season. Two absolute superstars leading two of the most dynamic teams in football for the right to be called Champions.
Tom Brady will enter his tenth Super Bowl, extending his own record. He commands a Buccaneer team that’s talented on both sides of the ball, with plenty of postseason experience.
Patrick Mahomes leads the fresh, high-flying offense of the future. Under the tutelage of Head Coach Andy Reid, the Mahomes-led Chiefs have a 6-1 record in the postseason. The only loss came against a Brady-led New England Patriot team.
Keys To The Game
The Chiefs have been getting quality yards on the ground during the playoffs. Mixing up the offense will keep Tampa Bay’s defense on their heels. Whether it’s carries for Darrel Williams or running plays involving the wide receivers, the Chiefs should mix it up a bunch more than they did in their week 12 matchup versus the Buccaneers.
Mahomes will need to spread the ball around so Tampa can’t key in on one guy defensively. If the defense has to cover the entire field, it will make it hard to blitz and double team certain targets.
The Kansas City defense has to get to Tom Brady relatively early in this game. Brady is at his worst when his protection breaks down and it’s the time when he’s most susceptible to turnovers.
Kansas City has to shut down the underneath dink and dunk passes Brady has thrived off of this season. Their linebackers have to break up plays in the intermediate part of the field, which will either force Brady to throw the ball away or could result in a turnover if covered well.
Tampa Bay should be looking to control the time of possession in this game. Sustaining long drives that culminate in touchdowns keeps the Chiefs’ offense on the sideline and kills momentum. The long drives also keeps the Buccaneers’ defense rested and ready to go.
Mike Evans, Chris Goldwin and Antonio Brown (if healthy) need to get open and provide targets as quickly as possible. The quicker Brady can get the ball out of his hands the better and it will have the defense scrambling to cover more of the field. Spreading out the Chiefs’ defense will provide less blitzing opportunities, which goes a long way in keeping Brady upright.
The Buccaneers’ defense can not ( I repeat can not) let Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce carve them up like they did in week 12. If they have to move coverage, double team both, even triple team them, they have to stop them from going wild. Let any other player besides those two beat you. Mahomes is way too comfortable because those guys are always open.
On third and long, the Bucs have to try and apply pressure to Mahomes (they can’t miss either). The Chiefs are known to convert long third downs which are back breakers. As a matter of fact, Tampa Bay needs to stop the Chiefs on as many third downs as possible, long or short, and kill their drives.
Players To Watch
Kansas City – Mecole Hardman; Wide Receiver: Hardman is lighting fast and has come up with huge plays for the Chiefs. With attention being given elsewhere, Hardman should have a few extra targets and could provide big plays.
Tampa Bay – Devin White; Linebacker: White has been wreaking havoc all season. He has the type of speed to get to a scrambling Mahomes or cover a receiver in the short field. If he can provide a few big plays or even turnovers, that could swing the favor in the Bucs’ direction.
Tom Brady has a great history of winning the big game, but the Chiefs seem to be too fast for anybody to cover. I’ll take Kansas City over Tampa Bay, 33-29.