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The Guardian

Brady or Mahomes? Our predictions for the Chiefs v Buccaneers Super Bowl

Will Tampa Bay change into the primary group to win a championship in their very own residence stadium? Or will the reigning champions retain their title? This 12 months’s Tremendous Bowl options among the NFL’s prime expertise together with, clockwise from left, Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski. Composite: Reuters, Getty, AP What the Chiefs must do to win … Be the Chiefs. That will sound flippant, however no group provides extra credit score to the ‘flip the swap’ concept than this season’s Chiefs. Once they’re absolutely engaged, after they’re at their full Chiefs-ness, there’s not a lot another group within the league can do to cease them. There are flaws on protection, however in some unspecified time in the future, Patrick Mahomes can have the ball. Even with a superb protection, Tampa can have a tough time slowing down the Mahomes-Hill-Kelce triumvirate. OC With their prime two offensive tackles doubtless out of this matchup, it figures to be robust sledding for the Chiefs on the sting. Search for Andy Reid to dial up loads of display passes to capitalize on the velocity and shiftiness of his backs and receivers – Tyreek Hill’s particularly. AL Win the battle of the turnovers. Brady threw three interceptions in opposition to the Inexperienced Bay Packers, however the Packers may solely rating on one of many ensuing possessions. If the Bucs try this in opposition to KC, this sport could possibly be over rapidly. HF Eradicate the deep ball. Preserve two safeties on the sphere so the Bucs are compelled to run. You can’t play rooster with Brady just like the Packers did – it solely ends a technique. Properly, except the offense explodes as nicely it might. Reid will want an additional splash of trickery to flummox Tampa. That or dump it off to Hill. GS What the Bucs must do to win … Shorten the sport. The Bucs have confirmed they’ll swap between a variety of types this season. They’ll win with their distinctive protection. They’ll depend on Tom Brady to hold in a shootout. In opposition to the Chiefs, although it received’t be as entertaining, they should depend on the run-game to increase drives in opposition to a weak-ish Chiefs entrance in an effort to include the scoreline. Get Brady to the ultimate drive with an opportunity to win the sport, that must be the plan. OC Sic Jason Pierre-Paul, William Gholston and Ndamukong Suh on the Chiefs’ backup tackles. Combine it up a bit on first down. (The handoffs to Leonard Fournette & Co are so predictable.) And capitalize on each alternative to attach with receivers downfield, a degree of emphasis for Bruce Arians all season. If Antonio Brown is on the lookout for a time to shine, that is it. AL Brady’s doesn’t wish to get right into a throwing contest with Mahomes at this level of his profession. His edge will lie in his expertise. He doesn’t wish to be a pure game-manager right here, he’s going to have to attach on a couple of long-balls to win, but when he focuses on making the best play over making an attempt for the large play, his group have a stable likelihood. HF Tampa should play to their strengths and blitz early and infrequently. They’ve the pedigree – 9 sacks and two wins in opposition to Rodgers this season – and may decelerate Mahomes by attacking an offensive line lacking each its beginning tackles. You run the chance of loss of life by a thousand Tyreek and Travis-shaped cuts however Todd Bowles should be courageous to restrict Kansas Metropolis’s scoring. GS Key participant for the Chiefs … Patrick Mahomes. In fact it’s Mahomes. Going with anybody else could be a hipster alternative. The Bucs may run the proper gameplan. They might play in addition to possible on either side of the ball. But if Mahomes turns up and performs at his greatest, there’s nothing anybody can do to cease him. OC Aside from the plain? Let’s go together with Tyrann Mathieu, whose powers of anticipation and interruption give off main Ed Reed vibes. He, not Mahomes, is Tom Brady’s true opponent – and the Honey Badger will make the GOAT pay for all these 50-50 balls he likes to throw up a lot. Mathieu intercepted Brady on a tipped ball of their Week 12 matchup. AL Travis Kelce. We discuss Brady v Mahomes, however what about Kelce v Gronkowski? Since Gronkowski’s (short-term) retirement, Kelce has been combating to surpass him because the league’s greatest tight finish ever. A Tremendous Bowl win over a diminished Gronk could be extra of a symbolic touchstone, however it wouldn’t damage his case. HF Tyrann Mathieu. We will be positive Brady goes to take dangers by the air so Mathieu’s potential to diagnose and demolish receiver routes will have to be firing to disrupt Tampa’s passing assault. Placing Brady beneath stress to second guess whether or not Mathieu will soar a route constantly may frustrate the veteran into making pricey errors. GS Key participant for the Bucs … Todd Bowles. Not a participant, however the Bucs’ defensive coordinator. Tampa’s protection has performed at a championship stage all season. There aren’t many schematic fireworks. As an alternative, Bowles depends on a core group of performs and his gamers all taking part in on the highest potential stage. In opposition to Mahomes, he’s going to wish a few wrinkles or contemporary appears in an effort to create a unfavorable play or two. OC Lavonte David, one of many best linebackers the sport has ever seen. His potential to shut on ballcarriers and cease and even typically reverse their momentum ought to show particularly helpful in opposition to a Chiefs expert unit adept at piling on huge yards after the catch. His sideline-to-sideline vary will probably be key to sustaining coordinator Todd Bowles’s bend-but-don’t-break rules. AL Leonard Fournette. Fournette was reduce by the Jaguars and got here in as Tampa Bay’s backup operating again. Now he’s placing his greatest work of the season within the playoffs, together with an astonishing landing run in opposition to Inexperienced Bay. One other landing or two could be good, but when he can decide up loads of yardage on first downs, it should open the playbook broad open for Brady. HF A shootout beckons regardless of the cannons falling silent at Raymond James Stadium (couldn’t the cannons have fired for the Chiefs as nicely? Why do I care a lot concerning the cannons?). The Bucs can bully the Chiefs’ protection utilizing the superior dimension and energy of Mike Evans within the redzone. The additional consideration he receives may even create holes for others to rack up factors. GS One daring prediction … The Weeknd has a couple of music. I imply, significantly? The Weeknd? For the Tremendous Bowl? Am I previous now? OC Somebody’s gonna pull out a trick play. Both the Chiefs construct on the long-lasting “4 Tops” they sprang on the 49ers final 12 months, or Arians dials up a nervy retort. Both method, you’ll love the soccer love language. AL How a few scoreless first quarter? After all of the discuss this being an offensive showdown, perhaps either side get efficiency anxiousness proper off the gate and we see quite a lot of three-and-outs, some offensive miscues and even a missed discipline purpose within the first 15 minutes. HF Tony Romo spots Invoice Belichick within the crowd sporting a Jack Sparrow masks as a disguise. Naturally, Romo can’t include his pleasure and orchestrates a joyous on-field reunion after Brady lifts a Lombardi with out his one-time mentor. “That’s my boy,” Belichick will say. GS The ultimate rating will probably be … Chiefs 31-24 Buccaneers. The mixture of Brady and Bowles is about nearly as good as you may hope for in making an attempt to knock the Chiefs off their perch. Nobody is able to stopping the Chiefs, however all of the Bucs require is a protection that slows Mahomes-Andy Reid machine down, even for a possession or two. Tampa have the expertise and workers to have the ability to pull off such a plan. I’ve the Bucs giving Brady an opportunity on the ultimate possession however arising simply brief. The Chiefs’ offensive energy, even with all of the Bowles goodness, is simply too overwhelming. And even when performs break down, no one is healthier off-script than Mahomes. The Chiefs go back-to-back and Mahomes takes residence a second successive MVP. OC Chiefs 30-29 Buccaneers. As uncovered as Mahomes figures to be on the sting, one may simply see the Bucs protection forgetting concerning the QB’s wheels till it’s too late. Whether or not it’s by selecting up chunk yardage or shopping for time to fireplace darts to Cheetah & Co, finally, Mahomes will take their coronary heart. AL Chiefs 34-17 Buccaneers. Search for the groups to maintain it shut for some time however by the fourth quarter, the Chiefs can have the lead and salt it method with a type of Mahomes bursts the place he rattles off two touchdowns within the blink of an eye fixed. HF Chiefs 30-33 Buccaneers. I stated it mid-season and I’ll say it once more, Tom Brady and the Bucs will win the Tremendous Bowl. Choosing in opposition to Brady is a idiot’s errand particularly now he’s an underdog. Six titles and your group not being favorite is testomony to how good the Chiefs are however Brady can have the final phrase within the sport with a last-minute drive and presumably on which QB is actually the best. Similar time subsequent 12 months, Tom. GS

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