Bucs fans, it is officially Super Bowl week and your team is in the big game!
This is not a drill or a joke! Enjoy every second of it.
To kick off the week, let’s take a look at the comparison between each position group on the Bucs and Chiefs’ rosters, seeing where each team might have an edge in Super Bowl LV.
Table of Contents
Bucs: Tom Brady
Chiefs: Patrick Mahomes
There won’t be many match-ups where Brady doesn’t have the edge at quarterback, but this is one of them. I don’t think there’s a quarterback in the NFL as good as Mahomes, especially when he’s playing his best football. There really aren’t many weaknesses with Mahomes, and his biggest strengths (ability to throw with velocity from all angles, accuracy on the move, feel for pressure) are among the best we’ve ever seen at the position. Brady has still had an elite season however, and is capable of having a better game than Mahomes on a given Sunday, which is more than you can say for most quarterbacks in the NFL. Edge: Chiefs
Bucs: Leonard Fournette, Ronald Jones, LeSean McCoy, Ke’Shawn Vaughn
Chiefs: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Darrel Williams, Le’Veon Bell, Darwin Thompson
Bucs fans might disagree, but I think the most valuable things a running back provides their team is what they do in the passing game, and that’s where the Chiefs have the two biggest standouts in this game. Edwards-Helaire isn’t featured in a starring role for the Chiefs due to the nature of their offense, but he’s been a standout when healthy this season. Williams is averaging 5.0 yards per carry and has a touchdown run in the postseason. Jones is the Bucs’ best runner, but can’t even out-snap Fournette because of his deficiencies in the passing game. To Fournette’s credit, he has played his best football in the playoffs, and might be the hottest of all the running backs in this game heading into Sunday, although that isn’t saying much. Edge: Chiefs (slightly)
Bucs: Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown, Scotty Miller, Tyler Johnson, Jaydon Mickens
Chiefs: Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, Mecole Hardman, Demarcus Robinson, Byron Pringle
The Bucs have four of the Top 5 wide receivers in this game, but the Chiefs probably have the best one in Hill. Tampa Bay is more talented across the board however, although Watkins’ ability to erupt in a starring role for the Chiefs when you least expect it is always something you have to consider. It should be noted that while the Bucs are loaded with stars at wide receiver, the group has been inconsistent in the playoffs and must take their game to another level in the Super Bowl if Tampa Bay is going to pull off the upset. Edge: Bucs
Bucs: Rob Gronkowski, Cam Brate, Tanner Hudson, Antony Auclair
Chiefs: Travis Kelce, Nick Keizer, Ricky Seals-Jones
The Bucs have much better depth at tight end, but Kelce is in the midst of a season for the ages at the position. There is simply no way Tampa Bay or any other team in the NFL in 2020 can get the edge against Kansas City with this position group, but the Bucs have more than enough at the position to hold their own in a one-game showdown. Edge: Chiefs
Bucs: LT Donovan Smith, LG Ali Marpet, C Ryan Jensen, RG Aaron Stinnie, RT Tristan Wirfs
Chiefs: LT Mike Remmers, LG Nick Allegretti, C Austin Reiter, RG Stefen Wisniewski, RT Andrew Wylie
With the exception of right guard, the Bucs are significantly better at every spot on the offensive line, which could be a huge edge on Sunday. The Bucs have created pressure and sacks at a rate near the top of the league, and Todd Bowles should have some special packages ready for the Super Bowl, preparing to attack a Chiefs offensive line that saw left tackle Eric Fisher go down with a torn Achilles in the AFC Divisional Playoffs.
Mahomes is outstanding under pressure however, so the bigger story may be if the Bucs’ elite offensive line can play to that level against an aggressive Chiefs defense that blitzed Tampa Bay on almost 50 percent of snaps in the two teams’ Week 12 meeting. Right guard Aaron Stinnie may have his hands full, as Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones is one of the few defensive players in the league that can take over a game, even giving Marpet fits back in Week 12. Edge: Bucs
Bucs: OLB Jason Pierre-Paul, OLB Shaq Barrett, OLB Anthony Nelson, DT Vita Vea, DT Ndamukong Suh, DT Steve McLendon, DT Rakeem Nunez-Roches, DT Will Gholston
Chiefs: DE Frank Clark, DE Alex Okafor, DE Tanoh Kpassagnon, DT Chris Jones, DT Derrick Nnadi, DT Mike Pennel, DT Tershawn Wharton
Similar to the wide receiver group comparison between the two teams, the Chiefs have the best defensive lineman in this game in Jones, but the Bucs are far deeper and have a much better starting four. Kansas City has the run-stuffers in Nnadi and Pennel to contend with the Bucs in the A-gaps, but they lack the pass rush pop outside of Jones. Clark was supposed to be that guy, but it was another listless season for the Chiefs’ big trade target from two years ago.
Meanwhile, the Bucs get a healthy Vea back in action with Barrett and Pierre-Paul hitting their stride in time for a couple of favorable match-ups. It all may not matter one bit if Mahomes hits unbeatable mode, but on paper this is another area of the game that favors the Bucs. Vea didn’t play in the first game in Week 12, so he could present a surprise element against Kansas City’s offensive line. Edge: Bucs
Bucs: Devin White, Lavonte David, Kevin Minter
Chiefs: Anthony Hitchens, Damien Wilson, Ben Nieman
Easily the most lopsided positional comparison of the nine groups. The Bucs have one of the best linebackers in the NFL in David and an ascending star playing the best football of his life in White. The Chiefs’ best linebacker may have been Willie Gay, who they lost to a knee injury in practice last week. Kansas City’s linebacking corps is suspect in pass coverage and not very effective when blitzing. Edge: Bucs
Bucs: Carlton Davis, Jamel Dean, Sean Murphy-Bunting, Ross Cockrell
Chiefs: Bashaud Breeland, Charvarius Ward, L’Jarius Snead, Rashad Fenton
The Bucs have the better cornerback room, but it isn’t by as much as people think. The Chiefs might have a bunch of no-name, but Snead has been terrific for them as a rookie playing a big slot role recently, and Breeland has revived his career in Kansas City as their best starting outside cornerback. It’s amazing what defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has done in developing such an unsung group the past few years, and their ability to execute an ever-changing scheme is a big reason why Kansas City has checked the box defensively without having to spend big on the unit.
On the other hand, the Bucs have spent significant draft capital to get this cornerback room right, and it really appears to be paying off over the past few games. Week 12 notwithstanding, Davis has become a lock-down, press man corner, while Murphy-Bunting has turned his play around after an ugly regular season, recording interceptions in three straight playoff games and showing far more awareness in coverage. Those two and Dean will have their hands full with a variety of match-ups against Hill and Kelce on Sunday. Dean could be an X-factor as he didn’t play in Week 12 due to injury. Edge: Bucs
Bucs: Antoine Winfield Jr., Jordan Whitehead, Mike Edwards
Chiefs: Tyrann Mathieu, Juan Thornhill, Daniel Sorenson
For most of the season, the Bucs’ safety group has played at a higher level than the Chiefs unit, but as of late this one is almost too close to call. After a season full of struggles as he returned from injury, Thornhill has been a different player in two playoffs games. That’s been true for all the Chiefs’ safeties, as the typical weak link in Sorenson has made some plays, and Mathieu has been a difference-maker yet again after a so-so season by his standards.
Tampa Bay’s safeties are also playing their best football in the playoffs, as Winfield looks to return from an ankle injury that sideline him against Green Bay. Jordan Whitehead’s status for Sunday’s game does put the Bucs’ edge here in doubt, as he’s been one of their most consistent players this year. Can he play through a shoulder injury? If not, the Bucs have had Mike Edwards playing at a high level in limited reps all season long, so he’s ready to become a pivotal contributor in the Super Bowl. The comparison between these two groups is too close to call. Edge: Push