By Josh Hatt
The 55th edition of the Superbowl will take place this Sunday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Here is my preview of the big game!
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa will feel right at home, as the game will be played in their own stadium. This is the first time a team will have played a Superbowl at home, and I’m sure there will be plenty of Tampa fans roaring them on (25,000 fans will be allowed in).
One player who will also feel right at home is Tom Brady, who is contesting his 10th Superbowl. Brady has won 6 of these, and can further establish himself as the greatest player of all time by hoisting the Lombardi Trophy for a 7th time on Sunday. Brady has had a good debut season in Tampa, although he did struggle in the second half of the NFC Championship game when he threw 3 interceptions. Brady has plenty of weapons to throw to however, such as Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski, who has experience of winning the big game with Brady in New England.
Tampa Bay’s defence is going to have to be at their best to stop the Chiefs high powered offence, something that they struggled to do in week 12 when these two teams last played. Kansas City raced out to a 17-0 lead, and ultimately won 27-24. The Bucs defence has been impressive in the playoffs however, forcing multiple turnovers against New Orleans and Green Bay. Shaq Barrett, Ndamakung Suh and Jason Pierre Paul will hope to generate pressure on Mahomes, and force him to make mistakes. The Bucs pressured Mahomes on 42% of his drop backs in week 12, and will need similar production in this game to stop KC.
This is Tampa’s first Superbowl since 2002, when they dominated the Oakland Raiders. I expect this game to be a much sterner test for them, but with Brady at the helm, home field advantage and an aggressive defence, it is a challenge they are more than capable of taking on.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs are certainly no strangers to the Superbowl, having won last years edition against San Francisco. The defending champs are just as formidable this time around, with QB Patrick Mahomes looking to win his second straight Super Bowl, and potentially begin hunting down Brady’s record of 6. The Chiefs are an excellent squad, but things change quickly in the NFL and it will certainly not be easy to win 2 Superbowl’s, let alone 6.
The Chiefs offence is electric with Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce the main weapons in their arsenal. No lead is safe when they are on the field, and the running game has improved significantly this year with the addition of dynamic rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
Defensively the Chiefs are certainly no pushovers, with veteran Tyrann Mathieu the star at the backend. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has masterminded a defence to Superbowl success over Brady before, wining Superbowl 42 with the heavy underdog New York Giants against a previously undefeated Patriots team. Brady spent much of that game on his back, and Spagnuolo will be hoping he can achieve the same result on Sunday.
This is an exciting matchup between two great quarterbacks, one at the beginning of his career and one nearing the end. The weather forecast looks like there is the potential for rain, which could benefit defences as it becomes harder to throw the ball. I predict that the Chiefs will become the first repeat champions since Brady’s Patriots won it in 2003 and 2004, but with Brady the Bucs certainly have a legitimate chance.