Super Bowl LV will contain perhaps one of the most fascinating storylines we have seen in quite some time.
When Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers in last year's Super Bowl, the triumph was supposed to mark a brand new era in NFL history. After a poor season from Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, Mahomes had cemented himself as the best quarterback in the league, a player with potential for a Brady-like trajectory over the coming decades. The win against the 49ers was set to be the birth of a brand new dynasty that would be competing for a Super Bowl every single season. No one would have thought that Brady, of all people, would be in a position to potentially stop the Chiefs' efforts in their tracks -- with a brand new team, no less.
At the start of the season, Brady's time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was certainly a learning curve. Rumors quickly began circulating that Brady was starting to get fed up with head coach Bruce Arians and it seemed like the feeling was mutual. In Week 12, the Chiefs actually got to play against the Buccaneers and barely squeaked out a 27-24 victory. This loss gave the Bucs a 7-5 record, and if things continued on that trajectory, they would have missed the playoffs. Instead, the team won five games in a row to end the season and cruised to the Super Bowl, defeating the Washington Football Team, New Orleans Saints, and Green Bay Packers on their way there.
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As for the Chiefs, their path to the Super Bowl seemed relatively easy. Aside from an injury to Mahomes against the Cleveland Browns, the Chiefs had no issues when it came to dispatching their opponents. The AFC title game against the Buffalo Bills turned out to be a complete wash, and now, we have an all-time great Super Bowl matchup on our hands. On one team, you have the future of the NFL in Mahomes. The other team boasts perhaps the greatest player in the history of professional team sports. A man who has won six Super Bowl titles and has made it to 10 of them. If Brady wins, he will simply expand on his already prolific legacy. If Mahomes wins, he will have two straight Super Bowl titles at the age of 25 and will be a third of the way to matching Brady's championship total. This storyline is at the core of this year's Super Bowl and it will surely make for one of the most entertaining matchups we have ever seen.
Now, you're probably asking yourself -- who is going to win? We at HNHH don't have a crystal ball that will give you exact details about the outcome, although we can still use context and statistics to give a measured analysis on who is more likely to come away with the win. Both of these teams have their strengths and weaknesses and based on the way they've played all season, it's clear that we're in for a close game that will probably come down to the wire.
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On the offensive side of the ball, both teams have more weapons than one would ever really need, and for this reason, fans can expect a high-flying game with a score that matches the raw talent on the field. Starting with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, this is especially true when you look at their receiving core alone. Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, Antonio Brown, and even Scott Miller have proven to be huge playmakers for the Buccaneers and they have given Tom Brady plenty of options on essential downs. It's almost impossible for opposing defenses to track all of these players, which was evident when the Buccaneers defeated the Packers a few weekends ago. Not to mention, the Bucs also have Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones, who can burn you at any point in the game, making them particularly deadly in the red zone. As a result of these weapons, the Bucs had the third-highest scoring team in the NFL, notching 30.8 points per game.
It's important to note that when it comes to the offensive side, the Chiefs are no slouch. Head coach Andy Reid and offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy have turned them into one of the most creative teams in all of football as they consistently change things up just to mess with their opponents. These trick plays are almost impossible to stop and they typically involve Mahomes using his mobility to find giants like Travis Kelce in obscure pockets of the end zone. Aside from Kelce and Mahomes, the Chiefs also have Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, and Mecole Hardman, who are incredibly fast and always a handful for opposing secondaries. The Chiefs are easily the most explosive offense in the league and there is no wonder why they average over 400 yards per game. As for total points, they averaged 29.6 points per game, which was good enough for 6th in the NFL -- although it's important to note that in the last game of the season, they benched all of their starters which led to a shift in their averages.
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On the defensive side of the ball, both of these teams have their weaknesses, which is going to allow Mahomes and Brady to have a field day through the air. For instance, the Buccaneers have the best rushing defense in the entire NFL, only giving up 80 yards per game. However, their passing defense is actually below average as they give up over 240 yards in the air. The team's secondary has struggled at times, and when you're playing against a quarterback like Patrick Mahomes, this is a huge problem. This matchup is extremely favorable towards players like Hill and Kelce, and the Chiefs will be looking to take full advantage. Luckily for the Bucs, they also have a strong defensive line that features the likes of Jason Pierre-Paul and Ndamukong Suh, which will help offset any issues in the secondary. Overall, the Buccaneers gave up 22.2 points per game this season, which is certainly a respectable number.
As far as the Chiefs are concerned, their defense is simply average across the board. They give up 122 rushing yards per game and another 236 through the air. Despite these less-than-stellar numbers, the Chiefs have proven to have a strong red-zone defense that forces teams to kick field goals. Their total points allowed numbers similar to those of the Buccaneers, giving up 22.6 points per game. Despite this, it's not all doom and gloom for Kansas City. Unlike the Green Bay Packers, the Chiefs actually have a decent secondary, led by Tyrann Mathieu. Brady tends to make a lot more mistakes these days, and Mathieu will be there to take advantage. Not to mention, the defensive line led by Frank Clark and Chris Jones is a force to be reckoned with, and considering Brady isn't very mobile, he could be in for a tough night.
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When you stack up both of these teams' offenses and defenses, it becomes quite clear that they are evenly matched. However, the Chiefs have simply been the more consistent team throughout the season and that has to count for something. While they certainly have their issues on defense, they still have plenty of playmakers on that side of the ball. In last year's Super Bowl, many were worried that the Chiefs' defense would falter and in the end, they held strong. Come Sunday, we expect the same thing as last year.
Meanwhile, after throwing three interceptions against the Packers in the AFC Championship Game, it's clear that Brady was very lucky to come away with a win there. The Chiefs are not a team you can make those kinds of mistakes against as Mahomes will burn you every single time. This is not to say the Buccaneers won't put up a great fight. Regardless, it seems like the stars are aligning for the Chiefs right now and for the rest of the 2020s, Kansas City will be the dynasty everyone wishes they were.
Our final prediction is a 34-28 victory for the Chiefs, with Patrick Mahomes winning his second-straight Super Bowl MVP trophy.
Gives us your predictions, in the comments below.