Who has the advantage? We take a look at each position to find that out.
I think that it’s safe to say that as a salty Bills fan, I’m not too happy about this Super Bowl matchup. The Bills had a chance to take revenge against Tom Brady for the years of tyranny he inflicted on the Bills over his illustrious career in New England by defeating him in the Super Bowl. Unfortunately, Patrick Mahomes and co. had other plans and utterly dominated the Bills to punch their ticket to their second consecutive Super Bowl.
That doesn’t take anything away from this matchup though. Mahomes versus Brady is arguably one of the best matchups between quarterbacks in the Super Bowl of all time. There’s already the previously established G.O.A.T.; Tom Brady, who’s succeeded more than any other quarterback in the history of the NFL. Then there’s Patrick Mahomes, who is already on his way to maybe becoming the next G.O.A.T. in the league with his insane skill set at the quarterback position. Brady is looking to secure his seventh championship ring, while Mahomes is looking to become the youngest quarterback ever to win back-to-back championships.
This game just has a spread of three points with the Chiefs favoured, but there is no overwhelming favourite to this game. But where does each team have an advantage over one another. That’s where we take a look at each position and see which team has the edge.
Mahomes vs. Brady
While Brady is the greatest of all time, he just isn’t on the same level as Patrick Mahomes this year. This season, it seemed like Mahomes took a step forward from his previous MVP season, completing 66 percent of his passes for 4,740 yards with 40 total touchdowns and just six interceptions on the year.
While Brady did have a great year in his age 43 season, completing 65 percent of his passes for 4,633 yards with 43 total touchdowns and 12 interceptions, he’s been far more inconsistent than Mahomes throughout the season.
Mahomes also has the edge when it comes to this year's playoff statistics as well, averaging 25 completions (75%) for 290 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, and a 118.5 rate in two games while Brady has averaged 20 completions (55%) for 286 yards, 2.3 TDs, 1 INT, and a 90.8 rate in three games.
While Mahomes doesn’t have the career statistical advantage over Brady, it’s safe to say that going into Super Bowl LV, the Chiefs have the advantage over the Buccaneers at the quarterback position
Chiefs Running Backs vs. Buccaneers Running Backs
This one isn’t as clear-cut, as both running back cores are decent in their own rights.
Leonard Fournette has been leading the Buccaneers backfield after performing well while Ronald Jones has been dealing with a nagging quad injury. While Darrel Williams has played decently in relief for Clyde-Edwards Helaire after he suffered an injury that kept him out until the AFC Championship, they just haven’t been performing as well as Fournette during the postseason.
During the playoffs, Fournette has upped his average to 4.4 yards per carry and totaled 313 yards and three touchdowns in three games. While Edwards-Helaire may be the best running back heading into the Super Bowl, we’ll give the advantage to the Buccaneers due to their success on the ground game compared to Kansas City during the postseason.
Chiefs Wide Receivers vs. Buccaneers Wide Receivers
This is another one that’s really tough to analyze. But because of the Buccaneers plethora of wide receiver depth, I’m going to give Tampa Bay a slight advantage over the Chiefs. The Bucs receivers feature Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown as their top three receivers. You also can’t forget about speedster Scotty Miller, who’s last second touchdown at the end of the first half against Green Bay was a huge boost to helping the Bucs win the game.
Kansas City features Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins and Mecole Hardman as their top receivers. Tyreek Hill was better individually over all the Tampa Bay receivers, finishing the year with 1,276 yards for 15 touchdowns.
Still, it’s hard to say the Buccaneers have a worse receiving core than Kansas City. Evans and Godwin combined for 1,846 yards and nine touchdowns on the year with both battling injuries throughout the season. Factor in Antonio Brown, who’s shown flashes of his old self in the season, and you have a near perfect receiving core. When you look at the Buccaneers three postseason games, Godwin has 14 receptions for 223 yards and a touchdown while Evans has 10 receptions for 173 yards and two touchdowns. Hill has 17 receptions for 282 yards and no touchdowns in two postseason games.
When you factor in both regular season and postseason performances between both these cores, I think it’s safe to say that Tampa Bay has a slight advantage over Kansas City in the wide receiver position.
Chiefs Tight Ends vs. Buccaneers Tight Ends
Travis Kelce is the best tight end in the league, so it’s safe to say he gets the advantage over one of the best tight ends to ever play the game ever; Rob Gronkowski. Kelce set records at the position, having the most receiving yards ever in a season (1,416), and scored 11 touchdowns on the year. He also has three touchdowns in his two postseason games this year.
While Gronkowski and Cameron Brate are two above-average tight ends in the league, they just don’t come close to what Kelce is right now. Gronkowski led the way in the regular season with 45 receptions for 623 yards and seven touchdowns, but Brate has surpassed him during the postseason, as he has 11 receptions on 16 targets for 149 yards and a touchdown, while Gronkowski has two receptions on just seven targets for 43 yards. We give the Chiefs the advantage over the Buccaneers here.
Chiefs Defensive Line vs. Buccaneers Defensive Line
The Chiefs boast Frank Clark and Chris Jones as their stars on the defensive line, while the Bucs line contains the likes of Vita Vea and Ndamukong Suh.
The Chiefs have been inconsistent this year when it comes to stopping the run and generating sacks from their defence. They finished 14th out of 32 teams in sacks, while the Buccaneers finished fifth with 48 sacks on the year. The Chiefs are also in the middle of the league when it comes to stopping the run, while the Buccaneers are the best in the league.
Because of that, we give the advantage to the Buccaneers over the Chiefs here.
Chiefs Linebackers vs. Buccaneers Linebackers
This one isn’t much of a debate. The Chiefs have been dealing with injuries to their linebacker core throughout the year and have had to depend on their front four to get most of the job done. This isn’t the same case with the Buccaneers.
Tampa Bay has one of the better linebacker corps in the league, featuring Jason Pierre-Paul, Devin White and Shaq Barrett. All three have surpassed eight sacks on the year, and should be difference makers against a Chiefs offensive line that’s not at full strength. We give the advantage to the Buccaneers over the Chiefs in this one.
Chiefs Secondary vs. Buccaneers Secondary
The Chiefs secondary has played pretty well this year, allowing 246.2 passing yards at a 62.3 percent completion rate compared to the Bucs 270.3 yards at a 67.9 completion percent rate. The Chiefs' secondary is aggressive, as they play press coverage more than any other team, while they also send six or more defenders after the quarterback more than any other team. They’ve shown they can shut down elite quarterbacks, showcased by their domination over the red-hot Bills and Josh Allen in the AFC Championship. Leading the way is safety Tyrann Mathieu, who’s versatility helps them to play aggressively and take it to opposing receivers.
While the Buccaneers secondary hasn’t played as well as a whole compared to the Chiefs, they do get a nice boost from their front seven pressuring opposing quarterbacks. They can create turnovers to help their team win games, with safety Jordan Whitehead forcing two fumbles in the NFC Championship game being a prime example. Overall, it’s very close between these two teams when you factor in both of their front sevens, but I’m still going to give the Chiefs a slight advantage.