The NFL comes to its thrilling conclusion on Sunday as the Chiefs and Buccaneers square off in Super Bowl 55. In what is already a historic matchup, a matchup between Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady could go down as one of the best we’ve ever seen on the NFL’s biggest stage. With umpteen lines being offered across every single one of the best sportsbooks, it’s going to be challenging to settle on just one.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Monday, February 7, 2021 – 06:30 PM ET at Raymond James Stadium
Before we get into how both teams match up, here’s a broad overview of what you’ll need to know surrounding the Super Bowl. First off, this will be a historic occasion because this Sunday’s game in Tampa Bay marks the first time that a team has had the advantage of playing the game in its home stadium. And, despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there will be a limited crowd on hand, perhaps giving even more of a boost to the host Buccaneers, though the NFL will be flying in plenty of frontline workers for the game who may not have a rooting interest in the game and thus dilute the home field advantage.
Kansas City enters as three-point favorites and -165 on the moneyline, identical to the odds they had in the AFC Championship Game, where they beat the Buffalo Bills. Tampa Bay is in a near-similar spot for a second-straight game as well, checking in as three-point underdogs and +145 on the moneyline after being four-point dogs to Green Bay in the NFC Championship Game.
The over/under is set at a high 56.5 for this one, just a half-point shy of tying the highest total in Super Bowl history which was set four years ago.
Defense, Defense, Defense
We don’t think of defense when it comes to the Kansas City Chiefs, yet that’s been the unit that has truly shined the most this postseason. The Browns entered the playoffs with one of the best rushing attacks in football, and Kansas City limited Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt to just 101 yards. The next week, they faced the lethal passing attack of the Buffalo Bills, and held Josh Allen in check with 287 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. It wasn’t a bad game, but it certainly wasn’t great, and not nearly up to the standards the Bills had set for themselves.
Defense wasn’t exactly what the Chiefs were known for this season, but it has been a driving force behind their playoff success and created truly impossible circumstances for opponents when you consider how lethal the offense is.
On the other hand, it’s exactly what the Buccaneers are known for. Of course, their offense is pretty good, and the secondary has been suspect at times this year, but Tampa Bay ranks No. 1 across the board in rushing defense and boasts perhaps the best pass rush in the league with Jason Pierre-Paul, Shaq Barrett and Ndamukong Suh. Most will focus on the matchup between the offenses, but the defensive battle will be what’s worth watching here. There are legitimate stars on both sides of the ball, from those names to Lavonte David, Tyrann Mathieu and Frank Clark.
Both of these teams met in November, and while the scoreline looks close (a three-point win for Kansas City), it was really not a contest whatsoever. Patrick Mahomes threw for 462 yards and three touchdowns, getting the Chiefs out to a 27-10 lead late in the third quarter before the offense became complacent with running the ball and the defense got tired, allowing the Buccaneers back in to make it a game before the Chiefs ran the clock out with one of their soul-crushing drives.
It’s worth looking at this Week 12 meeting because of how greatly the Buccaneers defense failed at containing Mahomes, and how the Chiefs defense flustered Brady into two interceptions. I’m willing to read into the three quarters which Kansas City dominated the Tampa Bay secondary and discard the lazy fourth quarter as something the Chiefs will shore up this time around. Many will take a look at the Chiefs -3, and that’s for good reason. I’d recommend taking them up to -5.