Tampa Bay Buccaneers take on Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV and we have everything you need in our big game guide.
On Sunday, Patrick Mahomes' Chiefs head to Tampa Bay to take on Tom Brady's Buccaneers in what will be a momentous and unique occasion. For the first time in 55 years, the big game is being hosted by one of the competing franchises.
For this – and many other reasons – Super Bowl LV is set to be historic, and Sporting Life has put together all the key information and previews in one place.
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Back in Week 12 when these two teams last met, the Chiefs’ star man was in scintillating form and managed an incredible 462 yards through the air, along with three touchdowns, all thrown to Tyreek Hill.
With that in mind, Mahomes’ passing yardage line of 339.5 looks more than doable, despite being in the upper tier of yardage lines we’ve ever seen in Super Bowls. That is a definite play to consider, but if you’re looking for something around that price, it may pay to stick to something outside the bounds of statistics.
Mahomes is currently 4/5 to be named Super Bowl MVP for the second-straight year, and that seems as strong a selection as picking Kansas City to win the game outright. In seven of the last ten years, the MVP of the game has been the winning team’s quarterback, so Patrick will be feeling pretty good about his chances of extra silverware this weekend.
If the Chiefs grab a lead, they don’t tend to let it go and that will cause some desperation in Bruce Arians’ game-plan.
Brady has been dealing up the deep balls this year, but the drop-off in his accuracy this postseason has been notable. When Tampa need something to happen in the final quarter, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see an interception or two from the Chiefs’ sneaky good cornerback unit and, if they can find a running lane, they might just return the football and plant a dagger into Buccaneer hearts.
At 9/2, the Chiefs scoring a touchdown via their defence or their special teams unit looks a good gamble - this is a unit that is also one of the most explosive in the NFL.
The Bucs need to stop Tyreek Hill. When these teams met in Week 12, Hill put up video game numbers – 13 receptions, 269 yards and three touchdowns. Their priority will be doubling Tyreek, in an attempt to stop the embarrassment again. With Hill set to see frequent double teams, Hardman will see open looks, and let’s not forget he’s arguably just as fast as Tyreek.
Hardman is a threat in the passing game (fresh off a touchdown last week), the rushing game (check out his 50-yard rush against the Bills) and on specials teams. In the NFC Championship game, the Bucs’ secondary was roasted by Marquez Valdes-Scantling, so just imagine what Hardman’s speed will do against their DBs. This is a plus matchup & great situation for Hardman, expect him to find the end zone.
This is a tight end matchup for the ages. Kelce is fresh off one of the best seasons we’ve ever seen from a TE, and Gronk may go down as the best to ever suit up at the position. The Mahomes/Kelce connection is arguably the most dangerous in football, with Kelce almost guaranteed to get 10+ targets at least – there’s a reason he’s the odds-on favourite to score a touchdown.
We may not have seen the stat lines we’d expect from Gronk, but you can guarantee he’s been waiting for this game. Whatever Gronk has left in the tank will be for the Super Bowl, and it’s actually a plus matchup for both TEs – both Tampa & Kansas rank as the fifth-worst defence in the league to tight ends, and we’ve seen an abundance of targets go to the position throughout the playoffs.
Cameron Brate is struggling with a back injury and may not be at full fitness come Sunday, so expect more targets coming Gronk’s way. Both players are in a plus matchup, and we can expect a classic tight end duel come Sunday.
The opening kick-off to not be a touchback - 9/4
Before every standard NFL game, the equipment staff of the two competing teams are given a period of time, pre-kickoff, to ‘break in’ the match ball. That may seem odd – and frankly, it is – but it’s a practise that has been routine in the NFL for years and there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that roughing the football up really does make it more kickable.
The ball can be beaten into a slightly friendlier and more aerodynamic shape in that vital half an hour, and roughing up the exterior of the pigskin can naturally create a reduction in drag. Hence, these balls generally go slightly further than brand new ones, when kicked off the tee to start a game. However, before the Super Bowl every year, the equipment staff are not provided this luxury.
Due to the significance of the showpiece annual event, it is custom for the game ball to be immediately sent to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, in order for it to be displayed in their museum.
Naturally, the curators of the Hall of Fame prefer the ball to be as aesthetically-pleasing as possible when it arrives in Ohio – so the ball in question isn’t tampered with at all before the game, and is only actually used for one play, the opening kickoff. It’s practically ceremonial.
Six of the last seven Super Bowls have now begun with a kickoff return, rather than a touchback. This could be coincidence of course, but Super Bowl teams generally have good kickers on their rosters, and the vast majority have simply failed to replicate the kicking distance they manage routinely in the regular season.
Over 4.5 total match sacks - Evens
The Tampa Bay tandem of Jason Pierre-Paul and Shaq Barrett combined for five sacks themselves in the NFC Championship game, and that was against a Packers offensive line that was in much better shape than the unit they will face on Sunday.
The Chiefs have lost star linemen Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz to injury and will therefore be forced to play inexperienced, stop-gap players at both tackle positions. This is simply asking for trouble against one of the very best pass-rushing defences in the NFL.
JPP and Barrett may well crack the over themselves if they have a similar day, and that’s before we even consider the rest of the Bucs’ front seven and the threat the Chiefs pose defensively with the likes of Frank Clark and company.
All told, the two Super Bowl teams combined for nine sacks in their respective title games a fortnight ago, so I feel very confident about the chances of this even-money shot.
Any non-QB to throw a touchdown - 11/1
Anyone who watched the Philadelphia Eagles win Super Bowl LII can tell you the importance of brave play-calling in the biggest game of them all. The ‘Philly Special’ was born, Nick Foles became immortal and a relatively-unknown tight end named Trey Burton joined an elite club of players to have thrown a touchdown in the Super Bowl.
On Sunday, the Buccaneers face a similarly uphill task against the reigning champion Chiefs, and it got me wondering whether we could see something of the same ilk. We all know Bruce Arians’ offence will have to be aggressive throughout this game, and the likelihood of them having to chase a Patrick Mahomes lead at points is extremely high.
While also being one of the most talented receivers the league has ever seen, Antonio Brown has remarkably thrown six passes in his NFL career, completing three of them. One of those passes resulted in a touchdown.
On the other side of the ball, there’s also opportunity for some outside-the-box thinking. Andy Reid is one of the game’s most creative offensive minds, and he’s made a career out of taking chances in dangerous situations.
The Gatorade shower to be orange - 6/5
If you’re backing the Kansas City Chiefs to win their third world championship on Sunday, this seems like a pretty smart play as an opportunity to double up your success.
Twelve months ago, in the moments following the Chiefs’ comeback win over the 49ers, head coach Andy Reid became the latest victim of one of the NFL’s long-standing rituals as he was doused by his players in visibly orange Gatorade.
Sports stars are renowned for their superstitious tendencies and often prefer to leave nothing to chance, so would it make any sense for the Chiefs to opt for a different flavour on their return to the Super Bowl, knowing the significance of the annual tradition?
When these two teams met in Week 12, Tyreek Hill embarrassed the Bucs’ secondary. The speedster put up video game numbers, with 13 receptions for 269 yards and three touchdowns. You can guarantee the Bucs will not let this happen again, with Tyreek seeing frequent double teams. With Hill drawing the attention, this will leave some open looks for the equally as rapid Mecole Hardman. Hardman is a threat in the passing game, on the ground (check out his 50 yard rush against the Bills), and on specials teams. Against the Packers, the Bucs’ secondary couldn’t handle Marquez Valdes-Scantling (115 yards and a score), so just imagine what Hardman’s speed could do against their DBs. The matchup favours Hardman here, who represents great value to find the end zone.
The appropriately named ‘Dirty Dan’ (Daniel Sorensen) has been a mainstay in this Chiefs' secondary, with three interceptions, three forced fumbles, a touchdown and 103 combined tackles (solo + assisted tackles) on the season. He’s averaging over 6 combined tackles per game, so this 5.5 line is generous to say the least. The match-up also favours this line, with the Chiefs’ defensive weakness coming to tight ends. On the season they’ve conceded the joint fifth most TDs to TEs, alongside an abundance of targets, receptions & yards to the position - Gronk & Brate will feature heavily in the passing game for Tampa, expect Dirty Dan to smash this tackles line. If you need convincing further, the last time these teams played Sorensen had a seven tackle game.
Travis Kelce is in scary form right now. He has a touchdown in six straight games, including a brace last time out. In those six games he’s averaged over 110 receiving yards per game, and has back-to-back 100+ yard games in the playoffs. He’s a target machine, and this Tampa defence struggles against tight ends – ranking with Kansas as the joint fifth worst defence in the league to tight ends. The Mahomes/Kelce connection is arguably the safest and most dangerous in football. Kelce will get the volume, and put in another 100+ yard performance.
It’s gone under the radar that the Kansas City Chiefs will be without three of their starting offensive linemen, including both tackles – Mitchell Schwartz & Eric Fisher. Backup Mike Remmers will step up, who has a Super Bowl nightmare to his name. In Super Bowl 50 against the Denver Broncos, Remmers allowed seven QB hurries and conceded three sacks alone. This Tampa defensive line ranks as one of the best in the league, with Barrett, Pierre-Paul, Suh & Vea set to terrorise Brady. Against the Packers’ strong offensive line, Barrett & Pierre-Paul combined for five sacks alone. Expect this group to feast against the backups.
Throughout the regular season, Tom Brady was completing 65.7% of his passes, but during the playoffs that number has dropped to 55%. He had three interceptions last time out, and he was lucky it wasn’t more. We’ve seen some truly awful throws from the 43-year-old throughout the playoffs, and he had a poor outing when these two teams played last – with two interceptions. This Kansas secondary has 18 interceptions on the season, and with Brady likely chasing the lead late in the game, he’ll be forced to pass the ball more than he’d like. Expect Brady to take riskier throws, and watch this Kansas defence snatch the ball.
Mike Evans is one of the biggest boom or bust receivers ever, with 100+ yard games or duds. He has five games with over 100+ yards this season, and four games with under ten yards. Last week he caught just three of his eight targets for 51 yards, comfortably below his line. This Kansas defence is deceptively great against WRs, with only the Rams allowing fewer yards to the position on the season. Throughout the playoffs they have kept Jarvis Landry to 20 yards, and held Stefon Diggs to 77 yards (the majority of which were picked up with the game already over). Tampa simply boasts such a variety of WRs that Brady will feed his receivers who can actually move the chains. When these teams met in Week 12, Evans caught three of his nine targets for 50 yards and two touchdowns. His height makes him a lethal red zone weapon, but he will struggle to go over 62.5 yards.
Rob Gronkowski has been waiting for this game. We may not have seen the stat-lines you’d expect from the veteran, but he’s been waiting for the Super Bowl. This Kansas defence is solid against WRs, but shows weakness to TEs – ranking as the joint fifth worst in the league to the position in terms of TDs conceded. Gronk is a matchup nightmare, and he has hit over 28.5 yards in 12 of his 19 games. When these teams played each other in Week 12, Gronk caught six of his seven targets for 106 yards. Expect a vintage display from the veteran tight end.
To beat Mahomes, you have to take risks, you cannot be conservative. Field goals simply aren’t enough, the Bucs need to score touchdowns on almost every drive or Mahomes will make them pay. The 7.5 line may seem low, but in Tampa’s 31-26 win over Green Bay, Ryan Succop scored seven points, with one field goal and four extra points. This will come down to Bruce Arians’ confidence in his offence, but they need to be aggressive. Succop has also missed nine kicks this season, with his most recent miss coming in the playoffs against Washington.
Matt Temple-Marsh looks at the keys to victory at Super Bowl LV with a number of best bets included across the markets. They include:
Our tipster also has a 50/1 shout for MVP alongside a score prediction.
Sporting Life tipster Matt Temple-Marsh joined Ross Williams and Harry Dennis on the Couple of Punts podcast to preview Super Bowl LV.
The trio look ahead to Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Kansas City Chiefs with plenty of talking points to get stuck into alongside the best bets for the game.
It's Patrick Mahomes v Tom Brady, who will come on top in the battle between the current champion and the NFL's greatest quarterback? It is the matchup we all wanted?
Tampa Bay hold will be a home team for the first time in Super Bowl history, does that actually give them an advantage though? The team look at that alongside the route for both teams to the NFL's showpiece event.
Where will this game be won and lost? There is discussion on the advantages and disadvantages of both sides alongside the keys to victory. How can the Chiefs defend their title and how will the Bucs achieve success if they are to upset the odds again?
From 37 minutes onwards, they pick out their best bets with explanations behind each choice.
Ahead of Super Bowl LV between Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs, Tottenham striker Harry Kane sat down with Houston Texans' J.J. Watt to discuss all things NFL.
England captain Kane is a huge NFL and New England Patriots fan and admits that he stuck with the Pats despite their disappointing season, but he reveals that he watches out for the performances of former quarterback Tom Brady, who is looking to win a seventh Super Bowl and his first with the Buccaneers.
"I stayed with the Patriots," Kane said. "I was loyal, but I'd be lying if I didn't say I had one eye on Tom [Brady] - it has been an interesting story to see him go to the Bucs and do well. That has been great to watch.
"Obviously, the Patriots had a bit of a rough season, but I've got to stick with them. You can't always have the highs, you've got to have some lows as well."
Tom Brady intends to keep playing in the NFL for several years to come as he prepares for his 10th career Super Bowl appearance this weekend.
Brady, 43, will be seeking his seventh Super Bowl ring and the first with a team other than the New England Patriots when his Tampa Bay Buccaneers face the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday evening.
Brady had previously said he wanted to keep playing to the age of 45, but asked if he might go even beyond that on Monday, he said: “Yeah, definitely”.
Single-minded Patrick Mahomes has a second successive Super Bowl win in his crosshairs as the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback prepares to face the great Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
All eyes will be on the Raymond James Stadium this Sunday as the reigning champions roll into town looking to prevent the record-breaking 43-year-old former New England Patriots star winning a seventh ring.
The sight of Brady hoisting the Vince Lombardi Trophy aloft would bring a sense of familiarity at the end of a strange NFL season, but Mahomes is determined to flourish in Florida and build on last year’s triumph at Super Bowl LIV.
“The goal is to win as many Super Bowls as possible and be playing this game every single year,” the supremely talented 25-year-old said.
Odds correct at 1200 GMT (05/02/21)
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