Another Super Bowl is upon us. For the tenth time we get to watch Tom Brady battle for the championship. Tom is like the Mission Impossible franchise, just when you think you've finally seen the last movie of the series they announce another one. You know you've seen the plot play out countless times already, but you still watch the next one anyway just because. There is also seemingly no end in site. There's certain moments where you think the wheels have falling off, Tom is yelling at people left and right, there's broken bones, torn ACLs, murders all over the place, and then suddenly everything returns to normal and the ending is successful. Wait a minute is this a Tom Brady career recap or a Mission Impossible movie review? Either way we'll all be watching the next installment.
Tom's foe this time is young Patrick Mahomes, reigning Super Bowl LIV MVP and League MVP. People are calling it the Big GOAT vs. Little GOAT. Brady's record 10 SB appearances is likely to go unmatched, but if there's anyone out there with a chance to do it in their career it's Mahomes. This is already his second appearance in the big game in 3 seasons as a starter. So who wins tomorrow? Let's break it down.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
No. 5 seed Tampa is coming off an 11-5 season and victories in the playoffs over the Football Team, Saints, and Packers. All road victories which is still impressive in this COVID year with minimal or no fans in attendance. Since 1990, the No. 5 seed in the playoffs has only made the Super Bowl 1.7% of the time. The last No. 5 seed to make the SB was the New York Giants in 2007 (sorry Tom). I think we all remember what happened then.
Tampa was the beneficiary of what appears to be the Tom Brady effect this year. The Brady effect is if Tom Brady is on your team, you automatically become a SB contender. The last three seasons Tampa was 5-11, 5-11, and 7-9. Then Tom comes to town and they make the SB the next year. Meanwhile the Patriots fell from 12-4 to 7-9 upon his departure. Their first losing season in 19 years, basically since Tom was in town. As a Steelers fan I've had my fair share of ass whoopings and miserable defeats at the hands of No. 12. I've hated him for years and talked my shit, but it's time to show some respect here. At the age of 43 the man turned a non playoff team into a contender and reached his 10th SB, all while his former team crumbled without him. The Brady vs Belichick argument is over as far as I'm concerned. Tom put that offense on his back for years and all Bill had to do was try and get his defense to hold the opponents to under 25 points a game. In terms of winning, Tom is the GOAT and there's no debate. Back to Tampa.
Tampa's offense ranks top 8 in every major category. The defense is the same way. Tampa hasn't lost a football game since 11/29 against non other than the Kansas City Chiefs. A 27-24 loss in Tampa. Winners of 7 straight they are averaging 34.3 points per game and giving up 20.6 points per game during this streak. In other words they are hot. However, if we look at who they played the streak becomes a little less impressive. Teams like Minnesota, Atlanta x2, Detroit, and Washington with a practice squad QB do not strike me as stiff competition. This team may be on a roll, but look at that streak with a grain of salt. Playoff wins on the road over New Orleans and Green Bay are impressive at first glance, but at a closer look I'm not sure they are what they seem. New Orleans and Drew Brees are notorious for choking in the playoffs. Drew Brees threw 3 picks in that game, maybe thats a credit to the Bucs defense, maybe its Brees being washed up and handing the game on a silver platter to Tampa. Credit to Tom and the offense for scoring 21of their 30 points off those picks. The offense struggled otherwise. If Brees doesn't turn the ball over that game may be a different story. Against Green Bay Tom threw 3 picks. This likely should have cost Tampa the game, but the defense came up big and some questionable calls by Matt Lafleur and a missed TD run by Rodgers late helped Tampa hold on. We are looking at 3 playoffs wins that were by no means dominant and could have easily gone the other way with a little bad luck. Take these things into consideration when making your pick for this game.
Kansas City Chiefs
No. 1 seed Kansas City is the hottest team in all of football, coming into this game off of a 14-2 campaign. If it wasn't for the loss to the Raiders in week 5 they'd likely be looking at an undefeated season. They're second loss was the final week of the season against the Chargers with key starters sitting out. That loss to the Raiders is the teams only real loss since week 10 of the 2019 season. Since that loss the team is 25-1 (not counting the Chargers loss) including winning Super Bowl LIV against the Niners. As I said earlier they beat Tampa back in November. The Chiefs offense is a scary as ever, averaging 29.6 points per game this past season. The defense is holding strong, only giving up 22.6 points a game, 10th best in the league. These averages hold steady in their playoff wins over Cleveland and Buffalo. Their playoff wins were in pretty dominant fashion. They were holding down the Browns pretty easily prior to Mahomes sustaining his concussion. They also handled Buffalo with ease after going down 9-0 in the first quarter, ultimately winning the game 38-24. These were two dominating wins that you would expect from a football team that just appears to be on another level than the rest of the league. Kansas City played a lot of close games this year because they quite frankly just looked bored out there. They know their talent level and skill is just way above everyone else's and regular season games are relatively meaningless to them. They seem to have a switch that they can flip on whenever they want, and we saw this in the playoffs. When the games matter, the Kansas City Chiefs show up to play. Mahomes is the best QB in the league and he has some of the best weapons to play with.
Kansas City Chiefs (-3, O/U 55.5) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Huge home field advantage for Tampa. Tampa is the first team in the Super Bowl era to play the Super Bowl at their home stadium. San Francisco and the LA Rams both played Super Bowls in their respective cities, but the games were played in college stadiums not at their home fields. With a limited capacity I'm not sure this will be the advantage that it potentially would've been with a normal crowd, but the 23,000 people in attendance should definitely be overwhelmingly pro Tampa Bay.
Tampa Bay overs are 11-8 this season, including 0-3 when the total is 55 or higher. Tampa is also 11- 8 against the spread this year. This includes 4-1 as an underdog and 2-1 in the playoffs. Kansas City overs are 9-9 this season including 2-0 when the total is 55 or higher. Kansas City is 8-10 against the spread. This includes 6-9 as 3 point or higher favorites and 1-1 in the playoffs. The most significant number here is Tampa being 4-1 against the spread as an underdog, including covering +3.5 against KC back in November.
Kansas City had a 27-10 lead over Tampa going into the 4th quarter of their matchup back in November before Tampa scored 14 unanswered in the 4th to lose 27-24. Tampa might've covered the spread in this game, but they very easily could've been far from a cover. If Tampa has any hope of winning this game they better figure out how to prevent Tyreek Hill from putting up 200 yards on them in the 1st quarter.
Some interesting things to consider for this game. Tom Brady is 4-1 in the SB when his team is wearing their white uniforms. The only loss coming to the Philadelphia Eagles. Tom Brady's offenses have scored a combined 3 points in the 1st quarters of his 9 SB appearances. The Q1 total is O/U 10.5 and the spread is currently KC -0.5. Make of that what you will.
Pick: Kansas City -3
Even with everything going on around Kansas City with the COVID scare with their barber, and now the DUI accident involving Andy Reid's son who is the team's outside linebackers coach I am still rolling with Kansas City. I think Kansas City and Pat Mahomes are too good right now. They have experience here having won the Super Bowl last year over a Niners team that was defensively better than this Tampa team. If Tom Brady throws 3 picks again like he did last week this game will be over quickly. Kansas City showed us back in November what they can do to this Tampa team when they want to. The only way Tampa can win this game is by getting the run game going and keeping the ball out of Mahome's hands. If this game turns into a shootout I don't see Tom at this point in his career being able to keep up with Mahomes. I believe this will be another 30-20 win for KC, similar to what we saw in Super Bowl LIV last year.