Kansas City (16-2) vs Tampa Bay (14-5)
When: Sunday, February 7th, 2021
Where: Raymond James Stadium,
Time: 6:30 ET | TV: CBS
Opening Odds: Kansas City -3.5/57.5
Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs are back in the Super Bowl for the second-straight season and this time they’ll meet Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Super Bowl 55 takes place on Sunday, Feb. 7 from the home of the Bucs – Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. The Chiefs are 3-point favorites on the Bovada odds board with an over/under total of 56.5, which is among the highest in Super Bowl history. If you like the moneyline, Kansas City is -170 and Tampa Bay +145. It’s the 10th Super Bowl trip for Brady, who already has a record six Super Bowl rings. However, this will be his first trip as an NFC quarterback and it will be just the second time his team is a Super Bowl underdog. Brady’s last title came following the 2018 season against the Los Angeles Rams with an ugly 13-3 win in SB 53 in Atlanta – the lowest-scoring Super Bowl ever. This is Tampa’s second-ever trip to the big game and first since the 2002 season when they destroyed the Oakland Raiders 48-21. The Bucs won three road games during this postseason, beating Washington, New Orleans and Green Bay. Mahomes and the Chiefs rallied to win Super Bowl 54 last February 31-20 over the San Francisco 49ers in Miami. K.C. managed to get by two up an coming teams in Cleveland and Buffalo to reach the Super Bowl for the fourth time ever.
In Week 12, Kansas City visited Tampa as a 3.5-point favorite and dominated the game completely, only to see the Bucs rally with garbage touchdowns late in a 27-24 Chiefs victory. K.C. led 27-10 entering the fourth and it could have even been worse than that. Mahomes threw for 462 yards and three touchdowns, while Tyreek Hill caught 13 passes for 269 yards and three touchdowns – most of that yardage came in the first quarter. Brady threw for 345 yards and three scores but was intercepted twice. Kansas City is on a seven-game winning streak vs. the NFC including that win earlier this year. The win over Buffalo was Kansas City’s first ATS victory since November 1st against the Jets. The Bucs meanwhile, are on a 6-2 ATS run heading into this matchup. KC is now 7-0 SU (3-3-1 ATS) against opponents with a winning record, while Tampa has gone 3-4 SU (4-3 ATS) against winning foes.
Buffalo jumped out to a 9-0 lead in the AFC Championship before the Chiefs turned on the gas. Mahomes seems to thrive playing from behind as he’s now 4-1 in his career when trailing by two or more scores in a playoff game. The only QB with more such wins? You guessed it – Brady. Mahomes threw for 325 yards and three scores vs. Buffalo and Hill caught nine for 172. Travis Kelce continued the best season ever for a tight end with 13 catches for 118 yards and two scores. The depth of the offensive line will be tested after former Pro Bowl left tackle Eric Fisher tore his Achilles vs. Buffalo and will not play in the Super Bowl. Chiefs coach Andy Reid also said he’s “not optimistic” that starting right tackle Mitchell Schwartz (back) will be available for the game either. On defense, the Chiefs were middle of the pack during the regular season, allowing 358.3 yards a game, but 11th in scoring defense (22.6).
The Bucs beat Green Bay without two key players in stellar rookie safety Antoine Winfield and former All-Pro receiver Antonio Brown. Both are expected to go in Super Bowl 55 with the extra week off. Brady wasn’t his best in the NFC Championship, throwing for 280 passing yards and three touchdowns, but also threw three interceptions. Brady left the door open for the Packers in the final quarter by committing those errors. Fortunately, it was the defense that stepped up, sacking Rodgers five times for a loss of 32 yards and eight hits. The tandem of Shaquil Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul wreaked havoc in the trenches, as they combined for all five sacks and six QB hits. The Bucs defense was solid throughout the 2020 season, ranking No. 6 overall and eighth in scoring (22.2). Their dominant front seven helped the team rank No. 1 against the run at 80.6 yards per contest.
This is one of the toughest Super Bowls I’ve had to predict. It wouldn’t shock me if either team won by 10 points, but I’ll go with Brady and the Bucs. The Tampa defense was ferocious against Rodgers and the Packers and Mahomes has been slowed a bit by turf toe. Kansas City will also be without two starting tackles on the O-line. I give the Bucs a slight edge playing at home even though there won’t be a ‘home’ crowd.
Pick: Bucs +3
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