3 Keys to Buccaneers Winning Super Bowl 55
By Max Staley
For the first time since his first-ever Super Bowl appearance, Tom Brady is an underdog in Super Bowl LV. In his record-setting 10th Super Bowl appearance, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are currently 3-point underdogs to the Kansas City Chiefs just days ahead of the game, per FanDuel Sportsbook.
If they're going to pull off this upset, the Buccaneers are going to need to dominate in a few key areas of this matchup. Here are three keys to Tampa Bay knocking off Kansas City in Super Bowl LV.
Chiefs vs Buccaneers Super Bowl
3. Pressure Patrick Mahomes Without Blitzing
The Buccaneers' biggest advantage on the defensive end is their dominant pass-rushing unit. Tampa Bay ranked No. 3 in the NFL in pressure rate (27.9%) and it generated the fourth-most sacks in the league (48). That unit could be particularly effective against a KC offense playing without its two best offensive linemen in Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz. But Tampa Bay tends to generate most of its pressure via the blitz, as the Bucs blitzed at a top-five rate in the league this season. That's a recipe for disaster against Patrick Mahomes, who was ProFootballFocus' highest-graded QB when blitzed in 2020. Tampa Bay's best hope of slowing down this offense is having studs like Shaquille Barrett, Jason Pierre-Paul and Vita Vea to dominate the backups on KC's O-Line without being overly reliant on bringing extra rushers.
2. Get Chris Godwin the Ball
The Chiefs have one of the best secondaries in the league, receiving a top-10 coverage grade from PFF while surrendering the second-fewest receiving yards per game to opposing wideouts. But this unit does appear to have an Achilles heel: covering slot wide receivers. In the second half of the 2020 season, KC surrendered 8.3 yards per attempt to slot receivers compared to 7.2 YPA to receivers lined up out wide, per Warren Sharp. For reference, 8.3 YPA would've been the second-best mark in the NFL among all QBs, while 7.2 is about league average. That means Tampa Bay can attack Kansas City's biggest weakness by throwing to Tom Brady's favorite target, Chris Godwin. Godwin is Tampa Bay's preferred option out of the slot and he torched this matchup advantage when these two met in Week 12, putting up 8 receptions for 97 yards. Godwin has uncharacteristically had drop issues in the postseason, but Tampa will need him to put those behind him and post a truly dominant showing for this offense to reach its ceiling.
1. Protect Tom Brady
Tom Brady is a dramatically different quarterback when he's pressured. When kept clean in 2020, Brady led the league with 3,958 passing yards and his 36 touchdowns were good for second-best. His passer 115.1 passer rating was also the seventh-best mark, per PFF. When pressured, however, that passer rating fell to 54.5, putting Brady at No. 21 in the NFL – one spot behind Sam Darnold. It's hard to see Tampa moving the ball if Brady is under duress all game, as that could force the Bucs to abandon the longer-developing deep routes, where Brady has really shined in 2020. The GOAT took 8 QB hits when these two met in Week 12, and if that happens again it could result in another losing effort for Tampa Bay. The battle between KC's superstar DT Chris Jones and backup RG Aaron Stinnie might be the most important individual matchup of the game.
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Max Staley is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Max Staley also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mstaley1212. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.