Archive for February, 2021

Super Bowl LV Pick

February 7th, 2021 Comments off

OK, lets’ just get this over with.

Or, actually, first I’ll just say that I don’t think I’ve ever felt less excited about a Super Bowl. It’s nothing to do with the teams. Or the players. It’s not that I think we’re in for a bad game.

It’s just context. The world was spinning in the wrong direction when this season started, and it’s still spinning in the wrong direction as this season ends. I’ve found it almost impossible to care about football since September. And if I’m to be honest now, I have to admit that a big part of me just wants to get to the other side of this game so I can start looking forward (and counting down) to what I hope will be a season I can focus on starting in the fall

But for the nonce … in for a penny, in for a pound, I suppose. Here’s what not to expect.

Kansas City (-3) vs. Tampa Bay
If this game turns out to be shootout everyone’s expecting, the Chiefs should repeat as champions. The Bucs can put up some points. There’s no question about that. But if Tampa can’t find a way to slow the Kansas City passing attack, and if the Bucs offense becomes one dimensional in an attempt to keep up, then you can expect the O line issues that Tom Brady has been disguising down the stretch are going to show up as the game wears on. And that would spell dome for the Buccaneers.

Conventional wisdom says that for the Bucs to succeed, their secondary has to come up big. Or at the very least, the Tampa DBs need to play well enough to give their pass rushers time to chase down Patrick Mahomes. And, sure, if those things happen, the Bucs D can succeed by forcing Mahomes to make some difficult choices, and to make mistakes down the stretch.

But I really think this game is about ball control. I think Tampa’s objective needs to be to take advantage of Kansas City’s questionable run D, mix in a good bit of those short, high-percentage passes Brady made such good use of in New England, and grind clock. And if they finish drives, the Bucs can beat Mahomes’ Chiefs the way the Patriots used to beat Manning’s Colts, by limiting the QB’s opportunities to hurt you and forcing him into believing he’s got to win the game on his own. It’s under those conditions that gunslingers make fatal mistakes.

I don’t know if it’ll happen. And I don’t much care whether it does. But if I’m looking at anything at all from this game, it’s that. The Chiefs get the ball right around the two minute warning with a chance to win it with a touchdown at the end of regulation. And Mahomes throws the pick that decides the game.

Buccaneers by four.

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