Super Bowl LV Preview

Melvin Harris, theSCORE Lead Reporter

The last game of the 2020 NFL season is right around the corner.  In what looks like a matchup of the old generation versus the new generation, when Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Patrick Mahomes Kansas City Chiefs square off in Super Bowl 55.   

Mahomes led the Chiefs to a league best 14-2 record this season. The young quarterback has put up MVP numbers in his fourth season, leading the league in yards per game, placing top two in quarterback rating and passing yards, while leading his team to the Super Bowl. The journey was not easy. The Chiefs went nine straight games winning by one score, from Week 9 until the Divisional Round game against the Browns. Although they handled the Bills with ease in the AFC Championship game, the road was not easy to the Super Bowl.

The Buccaneers had a different story to getting to the big game. Unlike the Chiefs, the Bucs had assembled a new team this season. It took a lot of getting used to one another, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Head Coach Bruce Arians and Tom Brady initially bumped heads in the beginning of the season, however, in their past seven games the Bucs have gone 6-1, being one of the most efficient offenses in the league and find themselves one game away from winning it all, in their home stadium nonetheless, a first in league history.

Mahomes looks up to the future hall of famer. He idolizes how he attacks the game and spoke very highly of his opponent. 

As I continue in my career, I am still trying to do whatever I can to watch the tape on him… Because he is doing it the right way, and you can tell by how many Super Bowl championships he has, and the rings on his fingers,” Mahomes said

There have been a lot of comparisons between both teams. The Chiefs have an emerging superstar in Mahomes while the Bucs have a quarterback that is widely seen as the greatest to ever do it.

Two former Pittsburgh Steeler teammates will face up on opposite sides of the field on Sunday. Chiefs running back Le’Veon Bell and Bucs wide receiver Antonio Brown both have found themselves in the championship after years as members of the “Killer Bees” trio with Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh. The two have not had the same success the last few seasons as they had in their primes but are now one win away from capturing their first Super Bowl after a few down seasons. 

Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce continues to put up hall of fame numbers every season, similar to Bucs tight end Rob Gronkowski back in his prime. Kelce holds the record for most consecutive 1,000 yard seasons with five, he had the most receiving yards for a tight end in league history this season with 1,416 yards and he led all tight ends in touchdowns. 

Coaching always plays a huge part in the Super Bowl and this year is no different. Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid is a Championship coach and being in this position should not surprise anyone.

Bruce Arians is a seasoned coach, has led his teams to the playoffs multiple times, however, has not made it to this point in his career as a head coach.In addition, Arians served as a wide receivers coach and offensive coordinator for the Steelers in Super Bowls XL and XLIII. Roethlisberger and Arians were able to put all the pieces together that season and Arians hopes to do the same to Brady. 

Both teams earned their spot in the 55th super bowl, nonetheless, this is not the first time these teams have faced off this season. 

In Week 12, Kansas City defeated Tampa Bay, 27-24 in Raymond James Stadium.

Although the score looks close, the scoreboard does not do justice to how dominant the Chiefs were for the majority of that game. 

The Chiefs were up 27-10 going into the 4th quarter. Tyreek Hill had 203 receiving yards in the 1st quarter. The offense was clicking on all cylinders, the defending Super Bowl champions let up and allowed the Bucs to make a comeback. 

The Bucs defense has a huge opportunity this Sunday. The Chiefs are going into this game with a depleted offensive line. Expect a lot of pressure on Mahomes all game. Although Mahomes says he is almost 100 percent healed from his turf toe injury sustained in the Divisional Round, expect that the Bucs will test Mahomes ability to escape the pocket. The Bucs have the best run defense in the regular season as well, so it will be interesting to see how the Chiefs adjust. 

On the other hand, the Chiefs are going to try to replicate their same plan on defense to what they did earlier in the season. They were able to pick off Brady two times back up in November. The Chiefs have the two highest paid defensive ends in Chris Jones and Frank Clark, so if Brady holds on the ball for too long expect one of the two to get to him. 

The key to the Chiefs going back-to-back is to stay consistent. All season the Chiefs have gotten up early against their opponent, and left the door open enough for them to comeback. If they can keep their foot on the pedal the whole game, the Lombardi Trophy will be headed back to Kansas City. 

 Nevertheless, when you have a player like Tom Brady on the team, there is always a chance. Brady is proven and has shown up on this stage more than enough. Brady will be playing in his tenth Super Bowl on Sunday. He has six rings and four Super Bowl MVPs.

If Brady wins this Super Bowl, he will likely cement himself in NFL History as the greatest winner of all time with their being slim to no chance of anyone ever catching him. 

One thing the Bucs may have in their favor is the location of the game, although the Chiefs defeated them handily in that very stadium a little over two months ago. The Super Bowl will take place in Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, Florida, giving the Buccaneers a huge home-field advantage and eliminating travel. The Chiefs will not fly out until the Friday before the game due to COVID-19 guidelines placed by the NFL.   

Super Bowl 55 will be played on Sunday, Feb. 7, with kickoff  at 6:30 p.m. ET. 

This has the makings of being a game for the ages.