Jordan versus LeBron.
Mike is the undisputed GOAT, with his six rings and ability to completely change the culture of the sport of basketball facing off with LBJ, the phenomenon who has always surpassed the hype in a hype-drenched social media world whilst doing everything with class and brilliance.
Tom Brady has incredibly similar traits to Jordan. Both have six titles, both have altered the way the game has been played and both are widely considered as the runaway GOAT – with few even trying to label anyone other than MJ as basketball’s lord of the hardwood.
Patrick Mahomes has got next. He’s a quarterback with other-worldly talents who has the NFL universe at his mercy thanks to his own skill set but also a variety of Pro Bowl teammates and an offensive guru as a head coach.
Super Bowl LV (55) looms as one of the greatest of them all because it possesses two of the greatest we may ever see – and not just at quarterback.
Rob Gronkowski – whilst nowhere near the dominating force he was as a Patriot – is among the best two Tight Ends ever to play and Kansas City’s Travis Kelce has already started breaking records that Gronk himself set just a short while ago.
Tyreek Hill can also lay claim to being one of the greatest deep threat speed receivers ever – his 17 touchdowns can attest to that.
Now, onto the ball game – held at Raymond James Stadium in suburban Tampa, Florida.
There were times this season when many pundits questioned both Tampa Bay and Kansas City – yet here they are, ready to square off in one of the most anticipated Super Bowls in living memory.
After a handful of games, questions were being raised about whether Brady’s move to Tampa was a smart one and whether the offensive philosophy of head coach Bruce Arians was a bad fit for the methodical way Brady likes to play the game. Volatile receiver Antonio Brown was brought into the mix at Brady’s request, Rob Gronkowski made running like painful and the defence was leaky, thanks largely to injuries to key personnel.
Even as reigning champs, folks queried the legitimacy of Kansas City’s title defence because of the team’s tendency to scrape across the line instead of blowing teams away. Mahomes was moving the ball up and down the field at will but they were having some troubles in the red zone and settled for far too many field goals… thing is, they were still winning and dropped just one game for the entire season. (They lost when Mahomes, Kelce and others sat in week 17 but does that even count?)
Let’s go inside each phase of the game and see whether we can work out who wins this baby…
BUCCANEERS O v CHIEFS D
This is the battle of a star-studded, albeit slightly over-the-hill, offence coming up against an undersold and underrated defence, led by a couple of franchise faces and backed up by some very unheralded players.
Tom Brady drives this offence, but players around him have stepped up late in the season. Leonard Fournette looked lacklustre and slow at times during the season but ‘Playoff Lenny’ has sprung to life and is again the ground and pound force he was in his early NFL seasons in Jacksonville.
Mike Evans’ yardage has dipped but his red zone prowess remains whilst Chris Godwin and Cameron Brate are very reliable receivers for Brady. Gronkowski has been almost invisible in the pass game but his work as a blocking tight end is incredible. You can be guaranteed those inside the Bucs building are aware of what Gronk is still getting done for that offence.
And, this is a Super Bowl, #87 will make a play or two!
Ronald Jones II will have enjoyed the extra week to rehab his thigh issue and having him back to 100% healthy will be crucial whilst Antonio Brown – who missed the Conference Championship game – is a game-time decision but would add even more weaponry.
And I have not even been able to mention Scottie Miller and talented rookie Tyler Johnson. Yes, Kansas City has a loaded offence but this Bucs squad is not exactly bereft of talent.
The KC defence will have its hands full dealing with everything TB12 can throw at you and the weapons he has to hurt you but Chris Jones and Tyrann Mathieu are All Pro performers who make plays.
Worryingly, KC has given up a TD on 76% of opponents’ red zone visits, good for worst in the NFL. That’s alarming!
The Chiefs are also awful on short-yardage plays meaning any time Tampa can get into 3rd or 4th and short then you can be sure Arians are Brady will be stiff-arming the kicking unit and saying, LFG!
EDGE: You have to give the edge to Tampa Bay, due to some glaring weaknesses in the Chiefs defensive squad.
CHIEFS O v BUCCANEERS D
This Bucs defensive unit has picked up their game in the past month. When things have seriously mattered, Devin White and LaVonte David have dragged this Buccaneers defence into relevancy.
They forced Aaron Jones into a pair of fumbles and turned over Aaron Rodgers before halftime which allowed the Bucs to go up 28-10, ultimately ending the game.
White is a man we need to discuss. The former LSU standout has risen to levels few have seen at linebacker. Last week I recall seeing his tackles over/under at 10.5 and I thought there was no way he’d surpass that. Well, he made 15 tackles and scooped up a fumble. He’s a maniac right now and is making all the right moves. He will be tasked with pressuring Mahomes, covering Kelce and getting the Buccaneers D into positions to trouble the Chiefs O.
Speaking of that Chiefs O, here’s your dilemma.
Mahomes is the greatest quarterback talent the game has EVER seen. Kelce is not far from overtaking Gronk as the best TE in history, Tyreek Hill is the fastest and most deadly deep threat the league has to offer and whilst all these NFL teams are looking for the next offensive genius, the real guru of the offence is Andy Reid and he has every conceivable tool at his disposal.
Teams double-cover Hill and play soft coverage which just allows Kelce to gobble up yards between 5-15 yards. Then, defences press up and Hill – or Sammy Watkins or Mecole Hardman – blow by you for a 60-yard bomb.
Rookie first-round pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire has plenty to offer as well. He can catch the rock and is a more furious runner than his frame suggests.
Kansas City has been explosive starters this season, outscoring their opponents by 24 across the season. Keep that in mind when placing a few prop bets on the big game.
EDGE: Kansas City are a special offensive squad with generational talents at QB, WR, TE and head coach.
Seeing Brady drag the hometown Buccaneers to an unlikely Super Bowl – Brady’s 7th – would be an incredible story and would forever solidify TB12 as the GOAT.
But, Mahomes is probably more talented than Brady from a physical point of view and has a bevy of weapons to unload on against fearful defences.
I expect KC to start hot, Brady and the Bucs will figure it out and make it close before Mahomes ultimately seals the deal and wins back-to-back Lombardi Trophy’s.
TIP: Kansas City 33, Tampa Bay 26.
Sportsbet has more than 250 markets available for Super Bowl LV. Here a few I’ll be getting involved in…
Super Bowl Match Props
- Opening kickoff to be a touchback ($1.30) – Let’s just take our 30% profits and kickstart the day with a winner!
- Harrison Butker +7.5 points ($1.74) – The Chiefs put up points but have misfired in the red zone, meaning Butker will get his looks.
- Harrison Butker +1.5 FG attempts ($1.54) – As above. Chiefs go up early, take the FG to keep extending.
- Chris Jones (KC) to record a sack ($2.51) – The Chiefs best pass rusher will get to Tommy at least once.
- Most passing yards – Patrick Mahomes ($1.61) – Brady may be in catch up mode but Mahomes can throw for 300 in his sleep.
- Tampa Bay successful 4th down conversion ($1.71) – Arians will be in an aggressive mindset, especially should they fall behind.
- Patrick Mahomes 1st quarter TD ($2.07) – Mahomes starts most games on fire!
Same Game Multi
I like this monstrous and very ambitious six-leg Sportsbet SGM to carry us home…
- Kansas City win
- Kansas City -2.5 alternate line
- Kansas City 1-13 points
- Travis Kelce anytime TD
- Darrell Williams -30.5 rush yards
- Leonard Fournette -48.5 rush yards
For this big boy, we get $15. As Tom Brady says, LFG.
Enjoy Super Bowl 55 from Raymond James Stadium down in Tampa, Florida. What a magical and memorable game this should be.