NFL Super Bowl LV: Chiefs/Buccaneers Preview

by Big Al Staff

Tampa Bay will be the first team in NFL history to play at home as the host of the Super Bowl. Their Raymond James Stadium is the site of Super Bowl 55. The Buccaneers earned this honor by defeating Green Bay in Lambeau Field in the NFC Championship Game, 31-26, as a 2.5-point underdog. Tampa Bay won all three games in the playoffs on the road while pulling off upsets in their last two games after they defeated New Orleans, 30-20, as a 2.5-point dog. They are 14-5 this season.

Tom Brady completed 20 of 36 passes for 280 yards against the Packers with three touchdown passes but three interceptions. In three games this postseason, Brady completed 60 of 109 passes for a 55.0% completion percentage for 860 yards with seven touchdown passes and three interceptions. In his first regular-season away from New England, the 43-year old completed 65.7% of his passes of 4633 yards with 40 touchdown passes and 12 interceptions.

The Buccaneers are 5-3 at home with a +4.6 net point differential. They scored 28.5 points-per-game while averaging 349.6 yards-per-game in those eight home games. Their defense gave up 23.9 points-per-game along with 381.0 yards-per-game. The Bucs' three losses at home were against New Orleans, the Los Angeles Rams, and these Kansas City Chiefs. Tampa Bay's 38-3 loss to the Saints was the low-point of their season. They later avenged that setback in the NFC Divisional Round of the playoffs.

Kansas City followed up their Super Bowl campaign last year with a 16-2 record to earn the opportunity to defend their championship. After defeating Cleveland in the AFC Divisional Round, the Chiefs dominated Buffalo in the AFC Championship Game by a 38-24 score. Kansas City rebounded from a Week 5 loss at home to the Las Vegas Raiders by winning 12 of their next 13 games to reach this pinnacle. Their lone loss was to the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 17, with Patrick Mahomes and other starters taking the game off for rest.

Mahomes completed 29 of 38 passes for 325 yards with three touchdown passes and no interceptions against the Bills with no setbacks from the head injury that knocked him out the previous week against the Browns. He did not appear to be 100% with his injured left toe. He ran the ball five times for only five yards. Mahomes completed 66.3% of his passes in the regular season for 4740 yards with 38 touchdown passes and six interceptions. He added 308 rushing yards with another two touchdowns. Mahomes completed 50 of his 68 passes for a 73.5% completion percentage with four touchdown passes and no interceptions in his two playoff games. He also ran the ball eight times of 19 yards with a touchdown.

The Chiefs are 8-0 when playing away from Arrowhead Stadium this season. They scored 31.6 points-per-game while averaging 443.1 yards-per-game. Their defense allowed 23.0 points-per-game and 344.6 yards-per-game.

These two teams played on November 29th in Tampa Bay. Kansas City won, 27-24, as a 5-point favorite with a total of 59. The Chiefs went into the fourth quarter with a 27-10 lead before holding off the Bucs’ late rally. Tampa Bay pulled within a field goal with just over four minutes remaining in the game, but those were the final points scored in the game.

Kansas City was on offense for almost 37 minutes. Mahomes completed 37 of 49 passes for 462 yards with three touchdown passes. Brady countered with 27 of 41 completions for 345 yards with three touchdown passes and two interceptions.

The Chiefs expect to have wide receiver Sammie Watkins and running back Le’Veon Bell available for the Super Bowl. Watkins missed both playoff games with a calf injury and a nagging hamstring issue. Bell did not play in the AFC Championship Game due to a knee injury. However, Kansas City does not expect to have either of their starting tackles on their offensive line. Left tackle Eric Fisher suffered an Achilles’ injury late in the Buffalo game. Right tackle Mitchell Schwartz is on the Injured Reserve with a back injury that head coach Andy Reid does not think will heal enough in two weeks.

The Buccaneers anticipate that both wide receiver Antonio Brown and safety Antoine Winfield will be healthy to play in the Super Bowl after missing the Green Bay game. Safety Jordan Whitehead underwent an MRI on his shoulder the day after the NFC Championship Game with head coach Bruce Arians saying it is too early to determine if he can take the field after suffering that injury against the Packers.

BookMaker lists Kansas City as a 3-point road favorite, with the total set at 56. CBS has the broadcast on Sunday, February 7th, with the kickoff at 6:30 PM ET.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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