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The Guardian

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

Will Tampa Bay turn out to be the primary crew to win a championship in their very own residence stadium? Or will the reigning champions retain their title? This yr’s Tremendous Bowl options a number of the NFL’s high 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. Which will sound flippant, however no crew provides extra credit score to the ‘flip the swap’ concept than this season’s Chiefs. Once they’re absolutely engaged, once they’re at their full Chiefs-ness, there’s not a lot another crew within the league can do to cease them. There are flaws on protection, however sooner or later, Patrick Mahomes can have the ball. Even with a wonderful protection, Tampa can have a tough time slowing down the Mahomes-Hill-Kelce triumvirate. OC With their high two offensive tackles probably 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 screen passes to capitalize on the pace 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 do this in opposition to KC, this sport could possibly be over rapidly. HF Get rid of the deep ball. Preserve two safeties on the sphere so the Bucs are pressured to run. You can’t play hen with Brady just like the Packers did – it solely ends a method. Nicely, until the offense explodes as effectively it could. 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 various kinds this season. They will win with their distinctive protection. They will depend on Tom Brady to hold in a shootout. Towards the Chiefs, although it gained’t be as entertaining, they should depend on the run-game to increase drives in opposition to a weak-ish Chiefs entrance to be able to comprise the scoreline. Get Brady to the ultimate drive with an opportunity to win the sport, that needs to be the plan. OC Sic Jason Pierre-Paul, William Gholston and Ndamukong Suh on the Chiefs’ backup tackles. Combine it up just a little on first down. (The handoffs to Leonard Fournette & Co are so predictable.) And capitalize on each alternative to attach with receivers downfield, some extent 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 number of long-balls to win, but when he focuses on making the correct play over making an attempt for the massive play, his crew have a strong probability. HF Tampa should play to their strengths and blitz early and sometimes. They’ve the pedigree – 9 sacks and two wins in opposition to Rodgers this season – and might decelerate Mahomes by attacking an offensive line lacking each its beginning tackles. You run the danger of dying 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. After all it’s Mahomes. Going with anybody else could be a hipster selection. The Bucs may run the right gameplan. They might play in addition to conceivable on either side of the ball. But if Mahomes turns up and performs at his greatest, there may be nothing anybody can do to cease him. OC Apart 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 speak about Brady v Mahomes, however what about Kelce v Gronkowski? Since Gronkowski’s (short-term) retirement, Kelce has been preventing 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, but it surely wouldn’t harm his case. HF Tyrann Mathieu. We will be positive Brady goes to take dangers by means of the air so Mathieu’s potential to diagnose and demolish receiver routes will must be firing to disrupt Tampa’s passing assault. Placing Brady underneath strain to second guess whether or not Mathieu will leap a route persistently 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 enjoying on the highest attainable stage. Towards Mahomes, he’s going to want a few wrinkles or recent appears to be able to create a detrimental 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 massive yards after the catch. His sideline-to-sideline vary can be key to sustaining coordinator Todd Bowles’s bend-but-don’t-break ideas. AL Leonard Fournette. Fournette was minimize by the Jaguars and got here in as Tampa Bay’s backup working 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 choose up loads of yardage on first downs, it is going to open the playbook huge 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 effectively? Why do I care a lot concerning the cannons?). The Bucs can bully the Chiefs’ protection utilizing the superior measurement and power of Mike Evans within the redzone. The additional consideration he receives will even create holes for others to rack up factors. GS One daring prediction … The Weeknd has multiple track. I imply, significantly? The Weeknd? For the Tremendous Bowl? Am I outdated now? OC Somebody’s gonna pull out a trick play. Both the Chiefs construct on the enduring “4 Tops” they sprang on the 49ers final yr, or Arians dials up a nervy retort. Both approach, you’ll love the soccer love language. AL How a few scoreless first quarter? After all of the speak about this being an offensive showdown, perhaps either side get efficiency anxiousness proper off the gate and we see a number of three-and-outs, some offensive miscues and even a missed area objective 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 comprise 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 can be … Chiefs 31-24 Buccaneers. The mixture of Brady and Bowles is about nearly as good as you possibly can 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 person is best 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 fireside 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 approach 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 mentioned it mid-season and I’ll say it once more, Tom Brady and the Bucs will win the Tremendous Bowl. Selecting in opposition to Brady is a idiot’s errand particularly now he’s an underdog. Six titles and your crew 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 yr, Tom. GS

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