Super Bowl 55 will be a rematch between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. The reigning champs secured a 27-24 victory against Tampa Bay, but Super Bowl rematches have tended to favor the regular-season loser in recent years. History might not be on the Chiefs’ side, but I think they can overcome the odds to become just the eighth team in NFL history to win two straight championships.
Kansas City won its second-ever Super Bowl last year and has been favored to repeat from the start of the 2020 season. The reigning champs were favored on the moneyline in all but two of their games during the regular season, and their only legitimate loss came against the Los Vegas Raiders in Week 5. Kansas City has had some close calls this year and won by three or fewer points five times en route to the final stage. Kansas City opened as 3.5-point favorites, but that line has moved to -3 ahead of kickoff. While Kansas CIty’s margin of victory is expected to be small, I think Patrick Mahomes’ consistency and wealth of offensive weapons will help the Chiefs cover the spread and get the win with room to spare.
It’s not a secret that Kansas City has a special offense. While they scored the sixth-most points (473) during the regular season, they also amassed more yards (6,653) than any team in the NFL. The Chiefs’ passing success had a lot to do with that, and advanced statistics show that they’re among the cream of the crop when it comes to advancing moving the chains.
The Chiefs’ offense ranked second in DVOA (24.9%), second in passing DVOA (50%), and third in weighted DVOA (27.3) percent during the regular season, according to Football Outsiders. They achieved these numbers despite Sammy Watkins missing six games and sitting their key starters in the final game of the regular season. Although Mahomes didn’t play at all in the fourth quarter of the Divisional Round, he’s tallied 580 passing yards and four passing touchdowns with no picks in two playoff games. His postseason play has been on par with his performance during the regular season, but the same can’t be said about Brady.
Tampa Bay ranked third in DVOA (19.8%) and weighted DVOA (27.8%) during the regular season while finishing fifth in passing DVOA (37.1%) on offense. While those numbers are impressive, Brady hasn’t taken a step back in each stage of the postseason. He notched an impressive 381 passing yards against the Washington Football Team in the Wild Card Round before throwing for less than 200 yards against the New Orleans Saints and throwing three picks against the Green Bay Packers. Brady has completed less than 56% of his passes in every playoff game this year, and he’ll have to be significantly better to hold off the Chiefs.
The Buccaneers’ do have the best run defense in the NFL, though, and its top-ranked DVOA (31.4%) speaks to its greatness. However, that won’t be enough to slow down Mahomes, who threw for a season-high 462 yards and three scores by exploiting Tampa Bay’s lackluster man coverage during the regular season. The Chiefs’ run defense is in the middle of the pack in every category, as far as DVOA is concerned. However, Brady will have to recover from two weeks of below-average play in order to push them to the wire.