Though boxing is my favorite sport and this site is dedicated to coverage of boxing I will put forth my thoughts on tonight’s big game. Football fans have been largely spoiled in the last twenty or so years when it comes to super bowl Sunday. I can only recall three uninteresting games in a sea of back and forth battles and great scoring games. There was a time when the super bowl was considered the worst game of the year with blowouts or low scoring affairs but the last couple have largely been phenomenal games. This match up might be the best one on paper that I can remember and I expect a shootout in this game. Both of these teams have high powered offenses and opportunistic defenses that make the most out of the other team’s mistakes. I spent a lot of time over the last two weeks watching the NFL’s Youtube channel which had a fantastic twenty-six minute breakdown and the ESPN+ paywall articles went very much in depth on the X’s and O’s for tonight’s game. I’m not going to go that deep into a prediction as it is less of my expertise as an analyst though I did play football myself and spent lots of time in the film room during my final three seasons. This is more of an off the cuff prediction than an in depth analysis.
Prediction: Chiefs victory something in the realm of 35-28 or 35-31 to be closer to the spread. The line is 3.0 moved down from a starting point of 3.5. The over under is 56 and I think that will be achieved but I do keep in mind the Buccaneers-Packers NFC title game stayed just below the under. I like these team’s abilities to get into a shootout and expect a high scoring game. Oddly enough the Chiefs for their high powered offense did not break over 40 points this season and were in some fairly close games.
Factors into my Chiefs Prediction:
Experience: The Chiefs are the returning champs with numerous key pieces back from the title team and not to mention some solid additions. The Chiefs had to comeback in all three playoff games last year to win the Lombardi Trophy and I think that their proven ability in big games and the ability to comeback are pivotal. Obviously the Buccaneers have Tom Brady and Gronkowski who are deeply experienced and tough to bet against but the rest of the team is not so experienced in this level of spotlight. I remember Evans dropping some important passes against the Packers in the NFC Championship and it felt like the moment got to him. I can see those mistakes cropping up again in this game, though the Buccaneers remain calm as Brady instills an insane level of confidence in this team this may be decided by an error somewhere in the game.
Coaching: I give the advantage to Kansas City in the coaching department as I believe Andy Reid is the superior coach. Andy Reid has been a top head coach for roughly two decades with four or five NFC Championship Game appearances and a Super Bowl in Philadelphia before making it to two Super Bowls in Kansas City. Bruce Arians got on my radar as the Arizona Cardinals coach when they had Carson Palmer and were a top team in the NFC. Todd Bowles has coached a hell of a defense this year with Tampa and they have played fantastic in the post season with key takeaways and pressure on the quarterback. However, Steve Spagnulo (spelling) is an even more experienced coordinator and has experience in shutting down Tom Brady in the Super Bowl. I look forward to the way these defense play these powerful offenses as they have immense challenges in front of them. I like the creativity of Reid’s play calling and his gutsy risk taking to prevail here.
Home Field Advantage?: A lot has been made around the fact that the Bucs are at home in the comforts of their home stadium and city but I’m not sure how big of an advantage this is. Yes there will be a crowd of 20,000 or so but this capacity probably will not be loud and proud Bucs fans. With ticket prices ranging from $5,200 to $23,000 I expect the usual rich people, teams families, celebrities and reporters to make up the crowd. Does this crowd cheer loud enough at that capacity in a partisan way that would make a difference in a normal home game? I don’t think so. The lack of capacity led to a big difference in the game this season with higher point totals, less offsides, and more fourth down conversions. I don’t see Patrick Mahomes and that offense being stifled by a Super Bowl Sunday twelfth man. Obviously not travelling and being in your comfort zone is an advantage but I think its minor here.
Injuries: Both teams are banged up which is no surprise after 18 and 19 games of football. The Bucs have some questionables but no one ruled out except TE Brate who did not practice but is questionable. The Chiefs have OL Fisher and LB Gay listed as out and some other players effected include Mahomes and Bell. WR Sammy Watkins looks to play after missing the entire playoff. Antonio Brown has a knee injury but was practicing this week and both safeties for Tampa practiced despite both being out versus Green Bay. Who does this harm more. The OL injuries for Kansas City are my biggest confidence killer in picking Kansas. The front six for Tampa is incredible and bring the heat. The injuries to the secondary of Tampa can be shielded by pressure on Mahomes who has a toe injury that can be a mobility hinderer and a change at the line. Yes the Chiefs have play calling and Mahome’s athletic ability to stifle blitzers but this is a serious problem.
Wild Card Factor: Andy Reid’s son was involved in a multiple car crash just days before the game and will not be present in Tampa. This will obviously play some sort of a distraction for head coach Andy Reid though we cannot know for sure. The son is also a linebackers coach for the team so this is a real personnel changer on the sidelines as well.
The Brady Factor: It is hard to deny the presence of Brady on the field. He is playing in his tenth Super Bowl and looking for number seven. He is chasing Peyton Manning as the only man to win a Super Bowl on two teams and the first to win in both conferences. While I mentioned Spagnulo vs Brady there is also Brady’s win over Reid when Reid was coaching the Eagles and his playoff victory over Mahomes and Reid in 2018.
Mahomes on the Brink: Mahomes is possibly the most exciting young QB in football. He is going for two titles in four years as a pro and that is a rare feat. He reminds me much of Favre who took the Packers to back to back Super Bowls with a great victory over the Patriots and a disappointing loss to the legend John Elway and the Broncos. This is sort of similar with the young Mahomes playing against the aging veteran Tom Brady and Elway like Brady had a wealth of Super Bowl experience. This a game for greatness, a legend securing his place and the young lion starting his own pride.
Comment what you think, I feel we have a hell of a game on the way!