Super Bowl 55 Preview & Takeaways from Conference Championship Week
Updated: Feb 7
Photo Credit: SN illustration
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Super Bowl Pick/Spread
By Brandon Caputo & Miklos McMaster
Check out this week's Podcast episode by clicking the image below 👇
As we arrive back from our week off at everyone's favourite Pro Bowl, which took place virtually this year
(if it couldn't get any worse) we are ready to go for a pandemic Super Bowl to finish off what's left of a difficult 2020 season for players, coaches, off-field staff, & fans.
Tampa Bay is the site for the Super Bowl this year, which given their lack of restrictions as of late should be an interesting crowd attending this year's festivities that will sure have its critics & sceptics on whether the capacity for the stadium is safe given the height of the pandemic that we're currently battling through.
Nonetheless, the Buccaneers are the 1st team in NFL History to play in a Super Bowl as the host city. We will see what type of advantage that may give them, although their famous cannon is not allowed to go off after scoring plays to adhere to the "neutral site.'
Our Conference Championship week picks were basically decided by the "Battle of the Bay's" between the Packers & Buccaneers, as we were both on opposite sides along with each other picking that game as their most confident picks of the week.
With the Bucs coming out on top, Brandon secured the W with 2-0 on Spreads & hitting his most confident pick of the week; although not pleased about it in a nightmare scenario, as a Bucs Divisional Rival & a burning despise of Tom Brady for ripping the heart out of every Atlanta Falcons fan in the Super Bowl a few years back.
Miklos made up for going 0-2 on the spreads by correctly picking that both the AFC & NFC Championship games would be shootouts & go over the projected point total.
Photo Credit: Curtis Compton/AP
Conference Championship Week Spreads
Conference Championship Over/Under's
Most confident picks of the week
Gold Pick: Green Bay over Tampa Bay ❌
Gold Pick: Tampa Bay over Green Bay ✔️
Super Bowl 55
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Kansas City Chiefs (3.0) Over/Under 56.0 Points
Miklos: Tampa Bay Over 56.0
Well, it's the matchup that everyone expected. Not something that occurs very often in the NFL but we have it here. The "goat" verses the kid, The old legend against the new gunslinger, call it what you will this matchup is going to be one for the ages. Will it be a changing of the guard or will it be the old man showing he still has what it takes to be the champ? Both teams are unbelievable on both sides of the ball, both are coached by two terrific coaches, and as we all know both are quarterbacked by two of the best in the League.
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Kansas City has been far more consistent throughout the season, but Tampa Bay seems to be catching heat at the right time. Patrick Mahomes and companies seem unstoppable, but we all know what happens when we bet against Tom Brady. It could be anyone's game.
I think the X factors will be Tampa Bay's ability to run the ball and how their defense works to stop Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill. While I think Kansas City has the edge, I have been burned far too many times to ever bet against Tom Brady regardless of the odds. Tom Brady is also the last person to prevent Patrick Mahomes from reaching a Super Bowl and I think he just might do it again.
Brandon: Kansas City Over 56.0
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio
Although I picked the Buccaneers to run the table as a wildcard team when the playoffs started, with the opportunity to host a Super Bowl on the line, I still believe in the quote of the legendary Ric Flair:
"To Be The Man, You Gotta Beat The Man!"
In this case, Patrick Mahomes & the Chiefs are the defending Champs and until someone knocks them off, it is almost impossible for me to pick against them. Although, you could also make a fair case that Brady with his 6 rings is still "The Man."
However, Brady being in his 10th Super Bowl & going for his 7th Super Bowl ring is something we may never see again & I do feel that Mahomes has a lot to gain by winning his 2nd Super Bowl in 3 seasons, but also has a lot to lose by losing to "the goat" at age 43. It could be a changing of the guard & a passing of the torch if Mahomes can get it done on the biggest stage, establishing himself as the "little goat" on a career trajectory that could quite possibly have him attempting to reach as many Super Bowl's as Brady if his career longevity & elite on-field talent allows him to do so.
As for the other players in this game, both of these offenses are loaded with playmakers all over the field so it will be interesting to see which defense can step up & make that key stop or possibly even create a turnover to secure the victory. Although, I still firmly believe whichever team has the ball in the final 2 minutes of the game will be victorious in the "last team to score will win" cliché. I believe that superstar defensive lineman Chris Jones for the Chiefs will be an x-factor in this game & if he can get to Tom Brady making him uncomfortable and forcing him into throws under duress, he just simply does not have the mobility at age 43 of some of the young agile quarterbacks we see in the NFL Today who are able to escape the pocket under pursuit.
Team Statistics, Player Statistics, Injury Reports
Offensive & Defensive Team Statistics
Team Statistics provided from TheScore.com
Tom Brady vs. Patrick Mahomes: Previous Matchups (2-2 overall record)
Oct. 14, 2018 (Week 6) – Patriots defeated the Chiefs 43-40. Brady threw for 340 yards and 1 TD. Mahomes threw for 352 yards, 4 TD, and 2 INT.
Jan. 20, 2019 (AFC Championship Game) – Patriots defeated the Chiefs 37-31, in overtime. Brady threw 348 YDS, 1 TD, and 2 INT. Mahomes finished with 295 YDS, and 3 TD
Dec. 8, 2019 (Week 14) – Chiefs defeated the Patriots 23-16. Mahomes totaled 283 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT. Brady had 169 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT.
Nov. 29, 2020 (Week 12) – Chiefs beat the Buccaneers 27-24. Mahomes threw for 462 YDS with 3 TD. Brady finished with 345 YDS, 3 TD, and 2 INT.
*Head-to-Head statistics provided by Mary Omatiga of NBCSports.com
Offensive Player Statistics
Player statistics provided from profootballreference.com
Defensive Player Statistics
Player statistics provided from profootballreference.com
Injury Reports provided from profootballreference.com
Conference Championship Takeaways
By Miklos McMaster
Photo Credit: The Kansas City Star
1. Buffalo vs Kansas City
What an incredible game this was! I really think this game came down to a lack of experience and difficult matchup. I think it was fairly evident that the Bills lack of experience was one of the factors in this game.
Josh Allen looked uncomfortable for a lot of the game and made some errant throws that he hasn't made all season. Now lots of credit is due to the Chiefs defense who made Josh Allen extremely uncomfortable and also made his job incredibly difficult, with some unbelievable coverage on his receivers down the field.
Josh Allen needed to be perfect in this game and in his first time under the bright lights on the big stage he just wasn't up to the task. But take heart Bills Mafia because you will be back here soon and Josh Allen is going to take what he learned from this game, I would come back better than before I have no doubt about it.
The good news is the Bills should return a lot of their offense next season and have an opportunity to reload and get better in the offseason. On the other side of the ball, the Bills just had no answer for Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. Both players absolutely torched them and became the first tandem to go over 100 yards receiving in a championship game. Now this isn't really a knock against the Bills as every team has had difficulty matching up with these two. But in order to have a chance you need to try and take away at least one of them.
The Bills weren't able to take away either and it was smooth sailing for Patrick Mahomes and the rest of the offense. The AFC still belongs to the Chiefs, but the Bills are definitely knocking on the door and I'm excited to see how they respond to this set back next season. Will they come back hungrier than ever? Or will they fall apart and fall back into the basement of the AFC where they have been for so long? My guess is the former.
Photo Credit: buccaneers.com
2. Green Bay vs Tampa Bay
This game was surprising but not for the reason I thought it would be. I had mentioned that defense would be a big factor in this game and my goodness it was! Both defenses did an incredible job slamming the door in the opposing quarterback's face. After being down big the surprising thing was the inability of Aaron Rodgers to turn the turnovers that his defense got him into points.
Tom Brady does not turn the ball over very often and whenever your defense forces him to turn the ball over not once, not twice, but three times! You need to make him pay. Everyone who has watched the NFL for the past two decades knows that giving Tom Brady extra chances is how you lose football games. The inability to turn turnovers into points is what caused Green Bay in this game.
Tom Brady took those extra chances and scored touchdowns making sure the Packers never mounted the comeback that they needed to get back in this game. Overall it was an entertaining game and Tampa Bay seems to be getting better with each passing week and are now going to be the first team ever to host the Super Bowl in their own stadium. It is going to be a matchup for the ages and will see if Tom Terrific adds another notch to his already unprecedented Hall of Fame career.