Roache's Super Bowl Preview
Not to throw myself under the bus here but there are at least two other people contributing to this site with a far better grasp on the game of football than I. Since they haven't previewed the game yet, I figured I'd try to beat them to the punch. So without further shenanigans, here it is.
((In case this blog hits the big time, the above image is property of the NFL))
Tampa Bay vs. Kansas City. Tom Brady vs. Patrick Mahomes. According to Pro Football Reference, the #3 Bucs offense vs. the #11 Chiefs defense. #6 Chiefs offense vs. #8 Bucs defense.
What all that means to me is we are in for a good one! I'm seeing something similar to the Patriots vs. Chiefs AFC Championship Game lined up for this weekend. That year, the Patriots, with Brady, were the 4th ranked offense and the Chiefs and Mahomes were top of the list. In that game, if you forget, the Patriots were up 17-7 heading into the final quarter at Arrowhead and the Chiefs stormed back to not only take a lead with two minutes left but then give up a field goal, only to get one back in the final 10 seconds to send it to OT. Brady, of course, stomps down the field on a 13 play drive and watches Rex Burkhead jump into the end zone for the win that sends them to SBLIII with a 37-31 win.
Will that happen to a T in SBLV? Of course not, no two games are exactly the same. I do see some similarities to it where one of these two teams will jump out to an early lead of 10+ points with the other mounting a comeback and having this go down to the wire. I see the Bucs coming away with the win despite a lot of the advantages leaning to the favored Chiefs.
Some areas I want to look at are the obvious ones:
Quarterback: I give the edge to Brady here, only by the slightest bit because as much of a doubter of Mahomes that I was two years ago, and last year too, I can't keep this going too long. This could be one of my last opportunities to doubt him, so I'm going to keep it going while I have time. Brady is the greatest quarterback of all-time and arguably the greatest football player of all-time so I'm giving him the edge, based on his relatively high level of play this year and his history in the big game.
Wide Receivers: Tyreek Hill is the best wide receiver on the field on Sunday. I don't think the Chiefs have the best WR core in this game. The combo of Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and, surprisingly productive (TD grab in each of his last five games), Antonio Brown. Those names and the production (2,329 rec. yards, 24 TD's) they've had this season alone is better than the likes of Hill, Sammy Watkins and MeCole Hardman (2,257 rec. yards, 21 TD's). Keep in mind - it took a few weeks to get Brown up to speed down there and all of his TD's came to close out the regular season when the Bucs needed wins to stay alive in the playoff picture. All that being said, Hill is still the best one on the field and gives the Chiefs the edge, as crazy as that may seem.
Tight Ends: Travis Kelce is better than Rob Gronkowski. Career-wise, time will tell but right now Kelce is the best tight end in the NFL, therefore the best in this game.
Running Backs: I'm leaning Clyde Edwards-Helaire here, not just because I had him in a couple fantasy leagues and he produced for me. Both Edwards-Helaire and Ronald Jones III had over 1,000 yards from scrimmage on the year with CEH grabbing almost 300 yards receiving in the regular season. I think that is going to be the way Andy Reid utilizes him as they are playing a tough run defense that surrendered 85 yards to Alvin Kamara in the divisional round and only 27 yards rushing to Aaron Jones in the NFC Championship Game. CEH will outproduce Jones mainly because they will use him in the flat and Jones' role will be reduced when Brady needs to throw to win.
Defense: As I mentioned above, the Bucs run defense is pretty good this year and on top of that they have three guys with eight or more sacks in the regular season. The Chiefs have zero [guys with 8 or more sacks on the season] and everyone knows that the best way to beat Brady is the fluster him out of the pocket. If, and only if, the Chiefs can at the very least collapse the pocket on him, will I switch my pick to them on the D side.
Coach: Reid is better. Prove me wrong. The only thing the Bucs have going for them is that Bruce Arians idea to let Brady coach the team throughout the game could get him a ring. Genius.
Final Prediction: Tampa Bay 38, Kansas City 33
MVP: Tom Brady, duh.