This Sunday, we have the best sporting event of the year, the Super Bowl. This year it features my favorite team, the Kansas City Chiefs, against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The storylines are numerous - the Chiefs will be playing in their second straight Super Bowl, the Bucs will be the first team to play a Super Bowl at home, the lengendary quarterback matchup between Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady, the list goes on. Here is my preview of each of the offensive and defensive units and my prediction for the outcome.
Chiefs Offense - in one word, this unit is unstoppable. The combination of Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and Tyreek Hill has been absolutely on fire lately and Kelce and Hill have gashing defenses on laser throws by Mahomes. They're peaking at the right time, and have been able to cope with whatever coverages and wrinkles defenses have thrown at them lately. Mahomes, in particular, has lived up to his contract as the highest paid player in the NFL - he is seemingly immune to blitzes and can make any throw under any pressure. Looking forward to seeing how the Buc defense tries to stop these guys.
Bucs Defense - in a few words, this is a scary good group of guys. They are fast, aggressive, and relentless, and have been flying around lately and making a lot of plays. Devin White, Jason Pierre-Paul, Shaquil Barrett, and Antoine Winfield Jr. are the leaders on this side of the ball, and all elite at their positions. In particular, the Bucs defense has been forcing a lot of turnovers lately by punching the ball out or intercepting teams, and this will absolutely be the key to victory for the Bucs.
Bucs Offense - with 43 year old Tom Brady at the helm, making his 10th Super Bowl appearance, you can bet that the Bucs will never be far out of this game no matter what happens. Brady has been sharp lately with his downfield throws, and the Bucs offense has been largely clicking lately in their wins over the New Orleans Saint and Green Bay Packers. The Bucs, also, have arguably as many offensive weapons as the Chiefs with Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown, and Rob Gronkowski at receiver. Their success will be predicated on how much Brady can limit mistakes, as he has been prone to some interceptions at times during the playoffs.
Chiefs Defense - the Chiefs defense has been very solid in the past few games and appears to be peaking at the right time, once again. In general, they do not get enough credit given the attention paid to the Chiefs offense, but the Chiefs defense ranks in the top 6 in passing defense, which is more important in today's NFL than rushing defense. The key for this unit will be getting lots of pressure on Tom Brady and forcing him to make quick, off-target throws. They did this very well in the AFC Championship game versus the Bills.
My prediction - it's really tough to ever go against Brady in a Super Bowl, but the Chiefs offense is simply too explosive and too efficient. If they can avoid costly turnovers, this can be clear Chiefs victory. Even if not, I still think a lot else would have to go wrong for them to lose, particularly with how well their defense is playing. I think it ends up somewhere in the middle, with the Chiefs squeaking out a 31-27 victory.