Super Bowl LV will take place later today at 6:00 pm Eastern time, with two formidable clubs battling it out for arguably the most challenging championship in recent memory considering this bizarre season. On one side, the Kansas City Chiefs are once again the most dominant team in the league, with an offense that operates swiftly and lethally. Nothing scares them or their young signal caller Patrick Mahomes, who has put together yet another MVP-worthy campaign. On the other side, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are rounding into form, with a team devoid of any major weaknesses and the greatest quarterback ever at the helm. They overcame some early obstacles and are playing their best football at the right time, a complementary attack that has confounded two other Hall of Fame quarterbacks en route to this position. Here are the predictions from Voice Staffers as to how it will all play out.
Andrew Arnold: Coming off a 5 sack performance against Green Bay in the NFC Championship Game, the Buccaneers will have to bring that same intensity against Kansas City if they want a chance to win this game. Luckily for the Buccaneer defense, the Chiefs’ offensive line is in tatters after Pro Bowl left tackle Eric Fisher went down with a season-ending Achilles injury against the Bills. Fisher joins tackle Mitchell Schwartz and guard Kelechi Osemele as injured linemen (along with Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and Lucas Niang, who both opted out of the 2020 season), and forces Kansas City to roll out an o-line full of undrafted free agents against the likes of Jason Pierre-Paul, Shaquille Barrett, and the recently returned Vita Vea.
However, the Chiefs also happen to have Patrick Mahomes at quarterback, so their raggedy offensive line might not matter. Mahomes is perhaps the only quarterback on the planet who can throw with strength and accuracy as he’s backpedaling away from a collapsed pocket, and Kansas City has steamrolled all the way to the Super Bowl without needing a competent o-line. Tampa Bay should not expect to hold the Kansas City offense under 30, but if they want to have any shot at beating the Chiefs this Sunday, they’ll have to take full advantage of the Chiefs’ O-line weakness and pressure Mahomes as much as possible.
If Tampa is able to get home with four against the weak Chiefs offensive line, then that lets them sit back in coverage with seven. With Mahomes, it might not matter, but if constant pressure can be applied with the occasional blitz thrown in – linebacker Devin White has 9 sacks on the year – then I think it’ll be enough for the Bucs to overcome the juggernaut Chiefs offense and squeak out a 38-35 win.
Roman Peregrino: As a 49ers fan I know alllllll about how Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs play in the Super Bowl. This is a team that is not afraid to be down early, late, or anywhere in between. They aren’t even afraid of Mahomes being out, as their spirited win against the Browns showed. So, I promise you, they are not afraid of Tom Brady. What the Buccaneers should be scared of is the fact the Chiefs haven’t even been fully unleashed on the offensive end in these playoffs, with contributors like Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Tyreek Hill being very quiet. Unlike the Chiefs, who create their own energy, the Buccaneers are a team that heavily relies on momentum. While they got their revenge against the Saints a few weeks ago, I cannot forget the Nov. 8 game at Raymond James Stadium where Brady never got into a rhythm and lost 38-3 against a New Orleans squad that forced Brady to throw three interceptions. I worry about the Buccaneers going down early and never recovering. While the Bucs’ powerful defensive front may make things tough for Mahomes and crew, I’m not a big believer in their secondary, where I think Sean Murphy-Bunting will be exposed. Chiefs 34 – Bucs 17
Nathan Chen: Forget about the unstoppable force vs. the immovable object, this matchup is an unstoppable force vs. another unstoppable force. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has the keys to the ultimate offensive machine that can score nearly at will, with a sensational supporting cast and the best play caller in today’s league at the controls. There’s not much to be said about Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady. He’s not the most talented but he’s the greatest to ever do it. Both quarterbacks have the ability to lead their teams back from the brink of certain defeat, meaning that this will be must-see TV for all sixty minutes. Defensively, Tampa Bay is clearly the superior team, and the addition of interior lineman Vita Vea to go along with the rest of their outstanding front seven will present a problem for the ailing Chiefs offensive line. But come on guys. This is Patrick Mahomes we’re talking about. So long as he protects the football and stays healthy, they will hang 30 on just about anybody, and they are rounding into form with this game on the horizon. Tampa Bay cannot cover man-to-man for sixty minutes and Mahomes can escape their edge pressure. Whoever wins the turnover battle gets the edge in this game, and I’ll perhaps stupidly bet against Brady and for Mahomes. The Chiefs win in a close one, 31-27.
Carlos Rueda: I’ve lived in Tampa Bay my whole life so I’ll admit I am a bit biased. While the Chiefs have an incredible team, it’s crazy to me how many people are counting out the Buccaneers already despite their fantastic run at the moment; they haven’t lost since November 29th against none other than the Chiefs themselves. The GOAT Tom Brady has gotten into a rhythm on offense; his chemistry with OC Byron Leftwich and his receivers has grown throughout the challenging season, supported by a dangerous one-two punch from Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones in the backfield. Despite this, the Bucs have pulled off victories in the last two rounds with relatively mediocre offense at times; it’s the defense that has brought these games home. Cornerbacks Sean Murphy-Bunting and Carlton Davis have found their game, hugely influential nose tackle Vita Vea came back against the Packers, the safeties have had great games despite injuries (and they’re expected to be ready for the big game), and one of the most dangerous linebacker duos in the NFL in Lavonte David and Devin White are playing out of their minds. The Bucs are going to need their best performance of the season to beat the star studded Chiefs, but if the defense and DC Todd Bowles can continue their great run of form and at least slow down Mahomes’ air raid by taking advantage of the injured Chiefs O-Line, and if Brady can kick it in to that final gear with Gronk, Godwin, Brown, Evans, and even the rising stars in Tyler Johnson and Scotty Miller, Tampa Bay could keep Lombardi home and win it for the first time since 2003. Buccaneers win in a shootout 38-33.
Jake Levin: Recent developments have served to reinforce just how extraordinary Tom Brady’s performance is. With Father Time having finally claimed Drew Brees and Philip Rivers, and taking a clear toll on the few peers who remain (4-interception Ben, anyone?), Brady’s continued ability to be the center of a Super Bowl caliber team is remarkable. Yet in this matchup, he faces the league’s foremost young quarterback in Patrick Mahomes, who comes equipped with offensive weapons to match (or exceed) Brady’s. For all the focus on a generational change narrative, however, from a purely football perspective the focus on the quarterbacks and flashy offensive weapons may be misplaced. After all, football is usually won in the trenches, and as my esteemed colleagues have alluded, that may be bad news for Kansas City. Missing three-fifths of their starting offensive line, Tampa Bay’s defense, anchored around its defensive line and standout linebackers, should be able to get home. In this sense both defenses are dealing with a similar problem, as each is built around a standout defensive line with more suspect secondaries (not that any corner could keep Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Chris Godwin, or Mike Evans in check anyway). The potential protection issues are even more impactful given that, outside Chad Henne, Kansas City has little run game to speak of. Without a solid offensive line to create gaps and Mahomes presumably more limited in mobility given his fresh injury experience, is a one dimensional Mahomes offense enough? He could easily make me look foolish, but I have to go with the more complete team and say that the Buccaneers will pull it off, 35-31. If Kansas City gets going though? Watch out – Mahomes is no Matt Ryan.
Hayley Salvatore: This Super Bowl is no doubt a battle of the ages, as veteran Tom Brady takes on the younger Patrick Mahomes. As much as I would like Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs to win the Super Bowl for the second year in a row and take down Tom Brady, I’m just not so sure that’s realistic. The Buccaneers have a unique advantage in that they are playing at their home field, the first team in Super Bowl history to do so. This gives the Bucs an advantage over the Chiefs because they are playing on familiar territory, probably helping to calm some nerves. Mahomes and the Chiefs have much to be nervous about, considering the Buccaneers’ unprecedented NFC run, taking down two well-respected teams: Drew Brees and the Saints as well as Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. As someone who bet against Brady in each of those games, I think it’s unfair of me to count Brady out for this one. I unfortunately have to go with the Buccaneers prevailing over the Chiefs, ultimately decided by a close score and the hope that Brady retires after getting his seventh ring.