20 weeks of football later, the 2020 NFL season has reached its final game, and it just so happens to be the most important of them all: Super Bowl LV.
After all of the doubts and uncertainty created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the NFL will finally be able to breathe a sigh of relief and relax when Super Bowl LV kicks off on Sunday, February 7.
As if the game itself wasn’t enough of a cause for celebration, the league and its fans will be treated to one more cherry on top: a Super Bowl matchup between Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes.
Just two years after the two quarterbacks met in the AFC Championship game in Missouri, Mahomes’ Kansas City Chiefs will be forced to travel to the first Super Bowl to be held in a team’s home stadium. In this case, that home stadium happens to be the humble abode of Brady and his Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The game will be the second meeting between Brady’s Buccaneers and Mahomes’ Chiefs in the 2020 season, with the latter coming out on top in a 27-24 game in Week 12.
But, the bigger story is the fact that Super Bowl LV will serve as a series-decider for Brady and Mahomes, who each hold two wins over the other quarterback in their respective careers. As if the Lombardi Trophy wasn’t good enough, a win in Super Bowl LV could give either quarterback an upper hand that could last for the rest of their lives.
Despite the impacts of the pandemic on stadiums across the country throughout the regular season, approximately 25,000 fans will be in attendance when Brady and Mahomes go to battle, alongside approximately 30,000 cardboard cutouts to make sure the stadium is packed.
But, what do you need to know if you’re going to be watching the game on the big screen come Super Bowl Sunday? Which players on either side of the ball should you watch out for, and what should you expect as the game progresses?
To help you prepare for the last game of the 2020 NFL season, here is our official guide for Super Bowl LV:
Who: Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Kansas City Chiefs
When: Sunday, February 7, 2021 at 6:30 p.m. ET
Where: Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida
When these two teams met in Week 12 of the 2020 season, offense was the name of the game.
Patrick Mahomes put up one of his best performances of the year, and Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill had himself a career day.
Mahomes went 37-for-49 with 462 passing yards and three touchdown passes, while Hill caught 13 passes for 269 yards, scored three times, and recorded 203 receiving yards and two touchdowns in the first quarter alone.
With such a stellar first half, you would think the Chiefs ran away with it in Week 12, right? Unfortunately for Mahomes and company, a litany of adjustments from the Buccaneers turned the game into a tale of two halves, despite what the end result may show.
A 14-point fourth quarter from Brady and the Buccaneers’ offense made it a three-point game late, and Tampa Bay’s defense was able to stifle Hill and tight end Travis Kelce after a poor showing in the first half. They held Hill to just 66 yards after the explosive first quarter, and Kelce was only able to gain five yards in the entirety of the second half.
While Brady’s bunch didn’t pick up the win when time ran out, the second half alone should lead to both confidence for the Buccaneers and some uncertainty for the Chiefs.
Tampa Bay went on a tear after that Week 12 loss, making a run to the postseason and keeping up the momentum as they knocked out Drew Brees’ New Orleans Saints and Aaron Rodgers’ Green Bay Packers en route to the Super Bowl.
Meanwhile, Kansas City looked solid as usual, losing just once in a meaningless Week 17 game before wins against the Cleveland Browns and Buffalo Bills in the playoffs.
Now, the attention turns to which version of each team will show up when Super Bowl LV kicks off on February 7.
Can Brady and the Buccaneers’ offense pick up where they left off against the Chiefs about two months prior? Or, will a lackluster second half against the Packers after a fire-powered first half create some doubt for the 43-year-old Brady?
On the other end, will Mahomes and company keep the train rolling en route to a repeat? Or, will Tampa Bay’s defense be able to make the proper adjustments off the bat to keep the Chiefs’ offense in check?
As much as the focus will be on the two quarterbacks and their respective offenses, each team’s defensive stars could turn out to be the real MVP’s of this game.
Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu, a threat in so many different ways, will look to wreak havoc on Brady both at the line of scrimmage and in the secondary, while defensive linemen Chris Jones, Derrick Nnadi and Frank Clark will try to disrupt Brady in the backfield.
Meanwhile, the dangerous Buccaneers secondary, including cornerbacks Carlton Davis and Sean Murphy-Bunting, will be tasked with wrangling in Hill, Kelce and the rest of the Chiefs offense. Safety Antoine Winfield Jr.’s status is up in the air as he works his way back from an injury, and his absence would leave a huge hole in the passing game for Mahomes to take advantage of.
In the end, you can expect this one to be a high-scoring affair, considering the fact that two of the sport’s greatest quarterbacks of all time will be going at it on the grandest stage of them all with two powerful offenses.
But, despite the elder quarterback’s edge as it relates to experience, and that old “age before beauty” adage, Mahomes’ Chiefs seem like they will be too much for Brady’s Buccaneers as Super Bowl LV rolls along.
If all goes according to plan, Mahomes should become the first quarterback to pull off the repeat since Brady did it with the Patriots in the 2004 season, and the Chiefs should be celebrating with a trophy and all sorts of confetti at the end of the night.
Prediction: Chiefs beat the Buccaneers 30-24 to win Super Bowl LV