Team mascots facing each other
Illustration by Amelia Madarang

Chiefs and Bucs face off in Super Bowl LV

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs will square off in Super Bowl LV on Feb. 7, marking the first time since 1979 that the two franchises have met in the playoffs. The #1 seed Chiefs, led by explosive quarterback Patrick Mahomes, are favored to win due to their league-leading offense, which averaged 303 passing yards per game this regular season. The Buccaneers boast a stifling run defense that has proven to be somewhat spotty against the pass, making the Chiefs’ potent passing attack the X factor in this heavyweight matchup.

For the Chiefs, receivers Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce will look to build off of two straight 100-yard performances. They have accounted for nearly 80% of the Chiefs’ total receiving yards in the playoffs, giving them one of the highest usage ratings for any receiving duo in the National Football League’s (NFL) playoff history. It will be interesting to see how the Bucs’ defensive coordinator, Todd Bowles, approaches Hill and Kelce given how impressive they have been throughout the postseason.

Aside from the Chiefs’ receivers, their defensive secondary (which includes the cornerback and safety positions) will look to contribute in a big way. They performed well in their other playoff matchups, holding their opponents to an average of 245 receiving yards, but the real test for them will come against the #2 ranked Tampa Bay offense. Bucs quarterback Tom Brady is known for his accuracy in the short to intermediate areas, making it crucial for Kansas City to apply pressure and force Brady into taking shots deep downfield — something he has struggled with all season.

The Buccaneers are counting on Brady to limit his mistakes and take advantage of the Chiefs’ defense, which is reeling from injuries. In his regular season matchup against the Chiefs, Brady had two costly interceptions and finished with a quarterback rating of only 61.4 (the league average is around 90). The Bucs went on to lose that game 24 to 27, following a season-long trend of losing every game in which they scored 24 points or fewer. If Brady can avoid turnovers and be his usual accurate self, the Bucs could have a solid chance of winning their first ever Super Bowl.

Of course, the Bucs’ fortunes might simply depend on the performance of their defensive line, which has done a fantastic job all season long of stopping the run and disrupting the rhythm of opposing offenses. The Chiefs do have one of the better ranked offensive lines in the NFL. However, with veteran offensive tackle Eric Fisher going down in the AFC Championship game with a torn Achilles tendon, it will be an uphill battle against the Bucs’ stout D-line. Although Mahomes can throw fairly accurately while on the run, a clean pocket would truly allow his “big play” ability to shine through, making his offensive line’s performance critical in this year’s Super Bowl.

Ultimately, Super Bowl LV will feature two incredible offenses going head-to-head in what has become one of the most hyped-up sporting events in recent memory. It will also feature highly anticipated performances from Grammy award winning singer The Weeknd and inaugural poet Amanda Gorman. For those interested in watching, Super Bowl LV will be broadcast live on CBS at 3:30 p.m. (PST) and available to stream for free on CBSSports.com as well as the CBS Sports App.                  

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