OPINION: Super Bowl 2021 will take place at Raymond Jones Stadium, in Tampa, Florida on Monday, February 8 (NZT) and it’s set to be a high-tempo match between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs.
The storyline is the polar opposite - the hottest team over the past three seasons, up against the team that has been the laughing stock of American sports, holding the lowest ever winning percentage as a franchise, nicknamed the 'Suckaneers'.
But that narrative changed when they signed iconic quarterback Tom Brady, who, alongside a stacked receiving core and a talented defence, finds himself in a tenth Super Bowl.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Kansas City Chiefs
Monday 12:30pm (NZT)
This year's Super Bowl matches up the 'Greatest Of All Time' (G.O.A.T) in Tom Brady, and his incumbent, Patrick Mahomes. The result? The most exciting Super Bowl in years.
Brady, boasting a record six Super Bowl titles with his 20 years at the Patriots; Mahomes, the reigning Super Bowl champion and MVP, at just 25.
The Kansas City Chiefs are headlined by Mahomes, wide receiver Tyreek Hill and star tight end Travis Kelce, who will go up against Brady, Mike Evans and Rob Gronkowski.
But Brady has a few more weapons at his disposal, with the likes of Chris Godwin, Scotty Miller and of course, the unpredictable Antonio Brown.
Despite the narrative that it’s Brady v Mahomes, it’s not quite that simple. , The big battle will be the Buccaneers defensive pass rush v Mahomes and his offensive line.
If the likes of defensive kingpins Shaq Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul can get to Mahomes, this game will be very competitive and will swing the way of Tampa Bay.
If your looking for a smokey prediction look no further than Barrett to win the Most Valuable Player.
What makes things interesting is the Chiefs have lost two starting tackles to injury - in other words, two players who protect Mahomes, including Eric Fisher (former No.1 draft pick), who is a massive loss.
The Buccaneers are the best team in the league at stopping the run, while the Chiefs are towards the bottom half, so expect the running game to be negated when the Chiefs have the ball.
That will put serious pressure on Mahomes, who will need to throw more than he has all season.
On the flip side, expect Bucks running back Leonard Fournette to beast this game against a wounded Chiefs defence.
These two teams matched up in the regular season, with Tyreek Hill going for over 200 yards in the first quarter alone.
That will not happen this game - the Bucks will put double coverage on him and force Mahomes to find other areas of attack.
The Buccaneers are undefeated since that 27-24 loss to the Chiefs winning seven straight, including three road playoff games to earn a home Super Bowl - a first in the NFL.
Overall, expect this game to be a mixture of the Chiefs’ high-flying offence mixed with some tough defence from the Buccaneers and a sprinkle of Brady brilliance downfield to his wide receiving core.
How the Chiefs win this game: Mahomes gets time in the pocket to throw deep to Hill and through the middle to Kelce. That will open up the Chiefs running game, meaning a long night for the Buccaneers defence.
How the Buccaneers win this game: Barrett and Pierre-Paul are able to cause a ruckus through the middle and pressure Mahomes.
Win a couple of sacks on the defensive end, turn the ball over and then Brady needs to protect the ball
He threw three interceptions against the Packers last time out; that can’t happen in this match. If the Bucks are able to pressure Mahomes and Brady limits his interceptions to zero, then Tampa Bay will be the Super Bowl champions.
Brady has six Super Bowl rings, and all six have come with game-winning drives; I expect this to be no different.
Prediction: Buccaneers 27 - 24 Chiefs.
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