It doesn’t get any better than the Super Bowl. After a wild season that was often turned on its head because of COVID-19, we’ve made it to the big game, and it’s a doozy of a matchup. Let’s discuss how things could play out when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers take on the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV.
The big headline going into Super Bowl LV is the matchup at the quarterback position. In one corner, we have arguably the greatest quarterback of all-time in Tom Brady. In the other corner, we have Patrick Mahomes, who has started off his career in such an impressive fashion that he is quickly pushing his way into the conversation for the top quarterbacks in league history.
Brady might be towards the end of his career and playing for a new team. But he’s not showing any signs of slowing down. He was a monster during the regular season, throwing for 4,633 yards and 40 touchdowns. That marked just the second time in his career that he threw at least 40 touchdowns in a season and the sixth time that he threw for at least 4,500 yards.
This is an interesting matchup for Brady because the Chiefs forced plenty of turnovers with their 16 interceptions tied for the fifth-highest mark in the league. They allowed 29 touchdown passes through the air. That ties for the 11th most in the league. They couldn’t slow him down in Week 12, though, when Brady finished with 345 passing yards and three touchdowns, although he was picked off twice. The TomBox algorithm has Brady projected for 315 yards, 1.6 touchdowns, and one interception.
As good as Brady was the first time these two teams met, Mahomes was even better. He finished with 462 yards and three touchdowns in what turned out to be a three-point win for the Chiefs. He went to Tyreek Hill early and often, throwing his 15 passes that Hill turned into 13 receptions, 259 yards, and three touchdowns. The Bucs’ defense was actually pretty similar to the Chiefs’ this season. They allowed the same amount of touchdown passes and picking off one fewer pass. The TomBox algorithm thinks Mahomes will once again be electric in their rematch, projecting him to throw for 312 yards and 2.3 touchdowns. However, it projects Hill to come back to Earth with four receptions for 62 yards.
The Running Games
With both teams having top-tier quarterbacks, their respective running games might not receive a ton of attention. For the Chiefs, they should be the healthiest that they have been at the position in a while with Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Darrel Williams, and Le’Veon Bell all expected to be available. The problem is that they will have to face a Buccaneers defense that allowed the fewest rushing yards and the fewest rushing touchdowns in the league during the regular season. The TomBox algorithm has Edwards-Helaire projected to rack up 69 rushing yards on 10 carries, which might be generous. It projects Williams to run for 38 yards, also on 10 carries.
The Bucs have bounced between Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones at times this season and went with a pretty equal split between the two players in the last two games with them both healthy. Jones rushed for 78 yards on 23 carries in those two contests while Fournette turned 29 carries into 118 yards and a touchdown. The question for this game is, will the Bucs try to run more to keep the ball out of the hands of Mahomes? Or will they have to throw a lot to try and keep up with him? The TomBox algorithm suggests it might be more of the latter, projecting them to combine for 93 yards on 16 carries.
The TomBox algorithm likes the Chiefs to win this game, projecting them to have a 67 percent chance of beating the Bucs. It also likes them to cover the three-point spread, projecting a final score of 31 to 24 for Super Bowl LV. If that were to come to fruition, Brady would fall short in his attempt to win his first ring without Bill Belichick, while Mahomes would emerge as a back-to-back champion.