Four Raiders up for NFL Honors tonight including three for Pro Football Hall of Fame
Brady or Mahomes? Our forecasts for the Chiefs v Buccaneers Super Bowl
Will Tampa Bay end up being the first string to win a champion in their own house arena? Or will the ruling champs keep their title? This year’s Super Bowl includes a few of the NFL’s leading skill consisting of, clockwise from left, Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski. Composite: Reuters, Getty, AP What the Chiefs require to do to win … Be the Chiefs. That might sound flippant, however no group offers more credit to the ‘flip the switch’ theory than this season’s Chiefs. When they’re completely engaged, when they’re at their complete Chiefs-ness, there’s very little any other group in the league can do to stop them. There are defects on defense, however at some time, Patrick Mahomes will have the ball. Even with an outstanding defense, Tampa will have a difficult time decreasing the Mahomes-Hill-Kelce set of three. OC With their leading 2 offending takes on likely out of this match, it figures to be difficult sledding for the Chiefs on the edge. Try To Find Andy Reid to call up lots of screen passes to take advantage of the speed and rascality of his backs and receivers – Tyreek Hill’s specifically. AL Win the fight of the turnovers. Brady tossed 3 interceptions versus the Green Bay Packers, however the Packers might just score on among the taking place ownerships. If the Bucs do that versus KC, this video game might be over rapidly. HF Get rid of the deep ball. Keep 2 securities on the field so the Bucs are required to run. You cannot play chicken with Brady like the Packers did – it just ends one method. Well, unless the offense blows up also it may. Reid will require an additional splash of hoax to flummox Tampa. That or dispose it off to Hill. GS What the Bucs require to do to win … Reduce the video game. The Bucs have actually shown they can switch in between a variety of designs this season. They can win with their remarkable defense. They can depend on Tom Brady to await a shootout. Versus the Chiefs, though it won’t be as amusing, they will need to depend on the run-game to extend drives versus a weak-ish Chiefs front in order to include the scoreline. Get Brady to the last drive with a possibility to win the video game, that need to be the strategy. OC Sic Jason Pierre-Paul, William Gholston and Ndamukong Suh on the Chiefs’ backup takes on. Mix it up a little on initially down. (The handoffs to Leonard Fournette & Co are so foreseeable.) And take advantage of every chance to link with receivers downfield, a point of focus for Bruce Arians all season. If Antonio Brown is trying to find a time to shine, this is it. AL Brady’s doesn’t wish to enter into a tossing contest with Mahomes at this moment of his profession. His edge will depend on his experience. He doesn’t wish to be a pure game-manager here, he’s going to need to link on a couple of long-balls to win, however if he concentrates on making the best play over pursuing the huge play, his group have a strong possibility. HF Tampa should play to their strengths and blitz early and frequently. They have the pedigree – 9 sacks and 2 wins versus Rodgers this season – and can decrease Mahomes by assaulting an offending line missing out on both its beginning takes on. You risk of death by a thousand Tyreek and Travis-shaped cuts however Todd Bowles should be brave to restrict Kansas City’s scoring. GS Secret gamer for the Chiefs … Patrick Mahomes. Obviously it’s Mahomes. Going with anybody else would be a hipster option. The Bucs might run the best gameplan. They might play in addition to possible on both sides of the ball. Yet if Mahomes shows up and dips into his finest, there is absolutely nothing anybody can do to stop him. OC Other than the obvious? Let’s go with Tyrann Mathieu, whose powers of anticipation and interruption give off major Ed Reed vibes. He, not Mahomes, is Tom Brady’s true opponent – and the Honey Badger will make the GOAT pay for all those 50-50 balls he likes to throw up so much. Mathieu intercepted Brady on a tipped ball in their Week 12 matchup. AL Travis Kelce. We talk about Brady v Mahomes, but what about Kelce v Gronkowski? Since Gronkowski’s (temporary) retirement, Kelce has been fighting to surpass him as the league’s finest tight end ever. A Super Bowl win over a diminished Gronk would be more of a symbolic touchstone, but it wouldn’t hurt his case. HF Tyrann Mathieu. We can be sure Brady is going to take risks through the air so Mathieu’s ability to diagnose and demolish receiver routes will need to be firing to disrupt Tampa’s passing attack. Putting Brady under pressure to second guess whether Mathieu will jump a route consistently could frustrate the veteran into making costly mistakes. GS Key player for the Bucs … Todd Bowles. Not a player, but the Bucs’ defensive coordinator. Tampa’s defense has played at a championship level all season. There aren’t many schematic fireworks. Instead, Bowles relies on a core group of plays and his players all playing at the highest possible level. Against Mahomes, he is going to need a couple of wrinkles or fresh looks in order to create a negative play or two. OC Lavonte David, one of the finest linebackers the game has ever seen. His ability to close on ballcarriers and stop or even sometimes reverse their momentum should prove especially useful against a Chiefs skilled unit adept at piling on big yards after the catch. His sideline-to-sideline range will be key to maintaining coordinator Todd Bowles’s bend-but-don’t-break principles. AL Leonard Fournette. Fournette was cut by the Jaguars and came in as Tampa Bay’s backup running back. Now he’s putting his best work of the season in the playoffs, including an astonishing touchdown run against Green Bay. Another touchdown or two would be nice, but if he can pick up plenty of yardage on first downs, it will open the playbook wide open for Brady. HF A shootout beckons despite the cannons falling silent at Raymond James Stadium (couldn’t the cannons have fired for the Chiefs as well? Why do I care a lot about the cannons?). The Bucs can bully the Chiefs’ defense using the superior size and strength of Mike Evans in the redzone. The extra attention he receives will also create holes for others to rack up points. GS One bold prediction … The Weeknd has more than one song. I mean, seriously? The Weeknd? For the Super Bowl? Am I old now? OC Someone’s gonna pull out a trick play. Either the Chiefs build on the iconic “Four Tops” they sprang on the 49ers last year, or Arians dials up a nervy retort. Either way, you will love the football love language. AL How about a scoreless first quarter? After all the discuss this being an offensive showdown, maybe both sides get performance anxiety right off the gate and we see a lot of three-and-outs, some offensive miscues and even a missed field goal in the first 15 minutes. HF Tony Romo spots Bill Belichick in the crowd wearing a Jack Sparrow mask as a disguise. Naturally, Romo cannot contain his excitement and orchestrates a joyous on-field reunion after Brady lifts a Lombardi without his one-time mentor. “That’s my boy,” Belichick will say. GS The final score will be … Chiefs 31-24 Buccaneers. The combination of Brady and Bowles is about as good as you can hope for in trying to knock the Chiefs off their perch. No one is capable of stopping the Chiefs, however all the Bucs require is a defense that slows Mahomes-Andy Reid machine down, even for a possession or two. Tampa have the talent and staff to be able to pull off such a plan. I have the Bucs giving Brady a chance on the final possession however coming up just short. The Chiefs’ offensive power, even with all the Bowles goodness, is just too overwhelming. And even when plays break down, nobody is better off-script than Mahomes. The Chiefs go back-to-back and Mahomes takes home a 2nd successive MVP. OC Chiefs 30-29 Buccaneers. As exposed as Mahomes figures to be on the edge, one might easily see the Bucs defense forgetting about the QB’s wheels until it’s too late. Whether it’s by picking up chunk yardage or buying time to fire darts to Cheetah & Co, eventually, Mahomes will take their heart. AL Chiefs 34-17 Buccaneers. Look for the teams to keep it close for a while however by the fourth quarter, the Chiefs will have the lead and salt it way with among those Mahomes bursts where he rattles off two touchdowns in the blink of an eye. HF Chiefs 30-33 Buccaneers. I said it mid-season and I will say it again, Tom Brady and the Bucs will win the Super Bowl. Picking against Brady is a fool’s errand especially now he is an underdog. Six titles and your team not being favourite is testament to how good the Chiefs are but Brady will have the last word in the video game with a last-minute drive and potentially on which QB is really the best. Exact same time next year, Tom. GS
Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.