The two Super Bowl LV contenders who will meet at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday, February 7, the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, have actually already played a game this year. They met back in Week 12 when the Chiefs got off to an early 17-0 lead and then sat back and watched Tom Brady and the Bucs whittle away at that lead until in was down to three points in the fourth quarter. That was enough for Chiefs head coach Andy Reid to rewrite the playbook, something he has been very skilled at doing. Oddsmakers have their lines in place for the upcoming NFL championship game and are definitely keeping Reid on their minds.
Andy Reid, The Football Machine
In that Week 12 game, Reid had had enough so he “called out the horses” and put the ball in the hands of Clyde Edwards-Helaire to take over the game and run the clock out. It worked and the Chiefs held on to win that one by a final score of 27-24. But the Super Bowl is something else again. It means something different to every player and coach out on the field and just being there is the thrill of a lifetime. Except perhaps for Brady, who already has six Super Bowl Championship rings, so some of the thrill may have worn off by now.
Oddsmakers this time around for Super Bowl LV are playing it pretty close to the chest so far, with ten days to go. Kansas City is favored in the spread at DraftKings by just 3.5- points and the Over/Under is set at 56.5. But, that could change as we approach kickoff time. If you want to win $100 betting on the Chiefs’ moneyline, you will have to risk $175 as the money lines for now are posted at Chiefs (-175) and the Buccaneers (+143), but keep an eye on those numbers.
NFL Tackles COVID-19 Effectively
Everyone around football from Commissioner Roger Goodell to the guys selling beer and popcorn are keeping their fingers crossed that there will be no new interventions of COVID-19 in the big game. The NFL, so far, seems to be doing a first-rate job of keeping risks to a minimum.
While rain and wind are still possibilities for the game, the numbing cold weather that both of the Conference Championship Games were played in will not become a factor. Raymond James Stadium is an open facility, but it is way down south and usually basking in warm weather.
Young Vs. Old For The Win
Many analysts believe that Super Bowl LV will come down to a battle of the quarterbacks, and that’s probably true. The matchup of young Patrick Mahomes, aspiring to greatness, and seasoned veteran Brady, approaching retirement, is the stuff of movie scripts and should make for a fascinating back-and-forth all game long. While Brady is 43 years old now, do not expect him to run out of gas in the later stages of the game. That’s not going to happen, at least it never has so far.
The other, more subtle, matchup that fans will see during Super Bowl LV will be between two of the craftiest, well-seasoned head coaches in the NFL. Reid and Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians will try to outsmart each other without outsmarting themselves. This could get very interesting when it comes down to a fourth-and-one situation near midfield late in the game.
Of course, Reid has the slight advantage of having won the Super Bowl last year. He is looking to make his Chiefs the first team to win back to back Super Bowls since Brady did it with the New England Patriots.
2020 Season Exits With A Bang
Another fact worth mentioning is that Super Bowl LV will be the first Super Bowl in which the game is played in the home stadium of one of the participating teams. Both Goodell and Arians are trying to get as many fans, as long as they have cleared COVID protocols, into the stands to give the game some semblance of a crowd. The NFL is even giving away 7,500 seats to vaccinated health care workers in an enviable gesture.
To many students of the game of football played at its highest level, which of course this is, it will be the defensive and offensive line play that makes a difference in the game. Either defense might go the whole game without scoring a point, but, play by play and all game long, watch those big guys down in the trenches for clues as to which team is winning the game.