Super Bowl LV Preview


Courtesy of CBS Sports

Joseph Frescott, Co-Editor in Chief




Buccaneers Road to the Super Bowl

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were one of the most highly anticipated NFL teams heading into this season. The hype began on March 20, 2020, when 6 time Super Bowl Champion Tom Brady announced that he would be signing with Tampa Bay. Pairing himself with an elite receiver core and defense, it was clear from that day on that the Buccaneers were going to be serious contenders in the NFC. However, Tampa didn’t just stop there. The Bucs also reunited Brady with his good buddies TE Rob Gronkowski and WR Antonio Brown, while also drafting key rookies such as OL Tristian Wirfs and S Antonie Winfried Jr. that have each played a crucial role this season. After dominating headlines all offseason, fans around the world were excited to see how this Bucs team would play with Brady at QB.

 The regular season could not have been more of a roller coaster for this team. After starting the season losing to their division rival Saints, Brady and the Bucs bounced back with three consecutive wins, before losing by a narrow margin to the Nick Foles led Bears. This pattern continued throughout the rest of the season, as Tampa never really found any consistency on either side of the ball. To Tampa’s credit, injuries plagued them much of the season, and a much shortened offseason hurt this team’s ability to gain that much needed chemistry. With this being said, Brady and Co. put it all together late in the season, as they ended the year on a four game win streak, winning by an average margin of 18 point per game. This late season stretch boded well for the Buccaneers come playoff time. 

After securing the five seed in the NFC, the Buccaneers had an easy matchup on paper against the 7-9 Washington Football Team. However, with most fans expecting a blowout from the Buccaneers, this was not the case. A Washington team led by backup Taylor Heinke refused to go away the entire game, and it came down to Tampa’s defense stopping Heinke’s late game heroics on the final drive. This close win against such a lowly opponent had fans questioning whether the Buccaneers would even be able to compete against a Saints team that they had already lost twice to in the regular season. Like most of the season, Brady again silenced the doubters, as the Buccaneers forced three turnovers and rallied late to beat the Saints by 10 in the Divisional Round. This all led to the NFC Conference Championship game against the number one seed Green Bay Packers. This game marked the fourth time Brady and Rodgers have played each other, and the first taking place in the playoffs. This game was an instant classic, but after the Bucs jumped out to a 21-10 lead going into halftime, they never looked back, despite some late game heroics by the likely league MVP Aaron Rodgers. 

Chiefs Road to the Super Bowl

The Kansas City Chiefs had a much less complicated road to their second consecutive Super Bowl. Coming off their first Super Bowl since 1970, NFL fans expected nothing less than complete domination from this stacked Chiefs roster. Early in the season, Kansas City did just that, as they started with four straight wins. The first (and only real) hiccup in their season came week 5 in a classic back and forth Sunday night game against the division rival Los Vegas Raiders. This was one of the best games of the season, and was a prime example of how unpredictable division games can be. Following that heartbreaking loss, the Chiefs looked unbeatable the rest of the season, and finished the year at the top of the AFC with a 14-2 record. 

Mahomes and the Chiefs were arguably the hottest team in the NFL heading into the postseason. They started their playoff run against the number six seed Cleveland Browns. Through the first two quarters, Kansas City looked unbeatable, going into half with a 19-3 lead. This all changed when former league MVP Patrick Mahomes was knocked out of the contest with a neck injury in the middle of the 3rd quarter. This left the door open for a Brown comeback, which they came so close to capitalizing on. With 11 minutes left in the game, the Brown were a score away from taking the lead. However, thanks to a late defensive stop and masterclass coaching by Andy Reid, the Chiefs were able to survive and make their third consecutive AFC Conference Championship appearance. Luckily for this Chiefs team, their star QB was able to return for the AFC Conference Championship against the Buffalo Bills. Unlike the previous week, the Chiefs started out slow, and after a muffed punt by Mecole Hardman, the Bills were leading 9-0 through the first quarter. After this slow start, the Chiefs looked unbeatable, scoring 21 in the second quarter and dominating the rest of the game to earn another Super Bowl appearance. 


Heading into this historic Super Bowl matchup, there are a few players that can be considered X-Factors. The first of these is Buccaneer CB Carlton Davis. Considered the Buccaneers top CB, his performance will be crucial in the Buccaneers ability to stop the red hot Chiefs offense. In the regular season, Davis had his best year to date, having a career high 4 INTs and 62 tackles. This postseason, his performance has been inconsistent. After playing great against the Saints, Davis got torched in the Conference Championship by Packers WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling on a deep TD. This blown coverage in such a crucial moment in the season is a cause for concern, as the Buccaneers can ill afford such a mistake against the best offense in the NFL. For this reason, the Buccaneers will be heavily reliant on the 24 year old CB to limit the production of the Chiefs speedy WRs. 

As for Kansas City, the biggest X-factor for them is WR Mecole Hardman. The 22 year old hasn’t taken that next step this season, as his numbers are relatively similar to that of his rookie year. To make matters worse, he has not been much of a factor in the return game either, an area where he thrived his rookie season. With this being said, the speedster will likely be thrust into the spotlight come Super Bowl Sunday, as WR Sammy Watkins is unlikely to return this season. With all of the focus being on stopping TE Travis Kelce and WR Tyreke Hill, Hardman is bound to play a huge role in the Chiefs success this upcoming Sunday. Being as explosive as he is, Hardman only needs one play to make a huge difference in this game. For this reason, WR Mecole Hardman could make or break the Chiefs offense in this game. 

Key Matchups

In every Super Bowl, there are a few matchups that you should look out for. With all the attention being placed on Mahomes vs. Brady matchup, there are a few underrated matchups that fans should be aware of before Super Bowl Sunday. The first of these is Tyrann Mathieu vs Tom Brady. Anyone who has watched the Chiefs play this season, they would know that Tyrann Mathieu is the glue that holds this defense together. His ability to sniff out what the offense is running and make plays all over the field is one of the main reasons why the Chiefs defense was above average this season. He will face his toughest test all year when he faces Brady in the Super Bowl. The chess match between these two will be fun to watch, and whoever gets the better of this matchup may decide this game’s outcome. 

Another matchup that will be crucial in this game is the Chiefs O-Line vs. Bucs Front 7. The Buccaneers have one of the best Front 7s in all of football, and they have played a key role in their success this season. As for the Chiefs offensive line, they will be without their starting OTs for the Super Bowl. This will leave the Chiefs with two backup O-Line men that will be forced to defend against the likes of OLB Jason Pierre Paul and Shaquill Barret. It will be interesting to see how Andy Reid and the Chiefs will address this major issue. If the Bucs are able to pressure Mahomes, they may be able to eliminate the Chiefs biggest threat, the deep plays down the field. More than anything else, this matchup will be crucial in the result of this game. 


Super Bowl LV is slated to be an historic matchup. With the New and Old G.O.A.T. narrative being pushed throughout the media, it will be interesting to see how these two top tier QBs play. In my opinion, I believe that the Chiefs will be able to capitalize on the Buccaneers inevitable turnovers and this will be the difference in this game. My prediction is that the Chiefs go back to back, winning Super Bowl LV 31-20.