Super Bowl LV is set. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs will battle it out for NFL supremacy.
It’s the old guard Tom Brady vs. the new guard Patrick Mahomes. The Buccaneers are in their first Super Bowl since they won it all back in 2002, while the Chiefs are hoping to repeat as champions.
Today, let’s take a look at four keys for the Bucs to win Super Bowl LV, who will be playing in Tampa, the first time a team has hosted a Super Bowl in their own stadium.
Sacking Patrick Mahomes
Nothing disrupts a game quicker than a strong pass rush, and the Buccaneers have one of the best in the league. During the regular season, Tampa Bay was fourth in the league with 48 sacks and have led the postseason field with seven more.
Sacks never tell the entire story, but the pass-rush unit as a whole grades out as eighth-strongest, according to Pro Football Focus.
With Pro Bowl left tackle Eric Fisher out with a torn Achilles, it’s imperative that Tampa Bay takes advantage of the new Kansas City offensive line arrangement and sack Patrick Mahomes.
While Mahomes is one of the best quarterbacks on the move, if Tampa’s edge rushers can close in on the All-Pro from both sides, it would blow up a lot of what Kansas City wants to do on offense.
Running the Ball Effectively
The biggest offensive advantage Tampa Bay will have in Super Bowl LV is with their running backs. DVOA efficiency puts the Chiefs' run defense at 31st in the NFL this year.
Tampa has been a top ten rushing offense all year, and Leonard Fournette has had a strong postseason, rushing for 211 yards and two touchdowns in three games.
Fournette will be vital in moving the ball for the Buccaneers and keeping Mahomes and Co. off the field. In what is the biggest disparity of the game, expect Tampa to run it early and often.
Shutting Down Tyreek Hill
The last time the Chiefs and Bucs played, Tyreek Hill had a monster day. Hill finished the 27-24 win with 13 receptions for 269 yards and three touchdowns.
Tampa corner Carlton Davis was picked on repeatedly in that game, but he and this Buccaneers secondary have steadied of late since transitioning to man coverage.
This secondary has done a great job against star receivers of late. Michael Thomas was held without a catch, while Davante Adams had just 67 yards in the NFC Championship Game.
Next up is Hill, who has been as explosive as ever. While Travis Kelce is just as dangerous, shutting down Hill would do wonders to stall this Kansas City offense.
Keeping Tom Brady Upright
In Brady’s three Super Bowl losses, there has been one constant: a menacing pass-rush. While Kansas City has a strong interior defensive line, the Bucs should have an advantage in the trenches.
If this offensive line can keep Tom Brady clean and allow him time to get the ball to this deep receiver group, it would go a long way in securing a Tampa Bay Super Bowl victory.
These receivers are as talented as anyone in the league: Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Antonio Brown highlight the group. Brady has had a strong year at 43, and getting the ball to these three would make a difference.