After an NFL season unlike any other, the first weekend of February is finally on the horizon and Super Bowl LV is upon us.
Following his six Super Bowl titles in New England, Tom Brady will lead a talented Tampa Bay Buccaneers team into battle with the defending Super Bowl-champion Kansas City Chiefs.
The Vanderbilt Hustler sports staff gives its predictions before Sunday kickoff:
Simon Gibbs, Sports Editor
Never bet against Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr. in the Super Bowl, unless he’s playing the New York Football Giants.
Prediction: Buccaneers 31, Chiefs 24
Betsy Goodfriend, Deputy Sports Editor
If I’ve learned one thing from Tom Brady’s 20 years dominating the AFC and winning many games against my Houston Texans, it’s to never bet against him.
Give him the ball with a minute left, down six, and he’ll get you the touchdown every time. He would probably kick the extra point himself if he could.
This game will be competitive, so I’m betting on the biggest competitor in sports winning his seventh ring.
Prediction: Buccaneers 34, Chiefs 31
Alyssa Muir, Deputy Sports Editor
No one is more fun to watch play than Patrick Mahomes, and he’s going to win multiple Super Bowls in the next decade. But this year won’t be one of them. Tampa Bay has Tom Brady, and you just can’t pick against the greatest to ever do it. The Bucs are going to squeeze out a close victory in their home stadium (shoutout to my Tampa sports for the Bucs, Lightning and Rays all making it to the championship), and 43-year-old Brady is going to put on a show. It’ll be 7 rings and 5 Super Bowl MVPs for Brady when it’s all said and done on Sunday night.
Prediction: Buccaneers: 35, Chiefs 31
Justin Hershey, Lead Sports Analyst
I can’t side with Brady. Plus, Tampa Bay can’t win two big four professional sports championships in one year. Go get another one, Andy Reid.
Prediction: Chiefs 38, Buccaneers 27
Immanual John Milton, Editor in Chief
In life, there are only so many GOATS; so when your generation has the opportunity to witness one, you have an obligation to watch and even cheer on that excellence. We’re going to have to wait a long time to see another Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr. (as Skip says), so while he’s here, let’s enjoy and appreciate it.
Prediction: Buccaneers 35, Chiefs 31
Sam Curtis, Staff Writer
I didn’t think Tom Brady would get through the Saints in New Orleans. I didn’t think Tom Brady would get through Aaron Rodgers at Lambeau. So, did I learn my lesson to never bet against Brady? No. I’m betting against Tom Brady again because of the ketchup-loving freak on the other side of the contest. But Sam, the game’s in Tampa, it’s the first-ever home Super Bowl! Yeah, and you know how many away games Patrick Mahomes has lost in the last 2 seasons? 1. He’s 15-1 when playing away from Arrowhead Stadium in the past 2 seasons, and I don’t see that trend changing anytime soon. I think both quarterbacks will be dealing to their plethora of weapons come Sunday, but ultimately, (despite Eric Fisher’s absence) the Chiefs win on a late, game-winning drive from Mahomes & Co.
Prediction: Chiefs 34, Buccaneers 31
Bryce Smith, Staff Writer
Do I pick against Mahomes? Do I pick against Brady?! This year’s Super Bowl is not only a battle of the best from the AFC and NFC, but also a battle of narratives as the aspiring GOAT, Patrick Mahomes, goes up against the somehow-still-going GOAT, Tom Brady in Brady’s home stadium.
I’m picking the Chiefs in this one simply, because they have fewer flaws than the Bucs at this point. Yes, Tampa has gone into New Orleans and Green Bay and won back to back, but this time their defense is getting Mahomes not a shell of Drew Brees and a peculiarly passive Aaron Rodgers. Keep in mind, this was a team that had to hold off Taylor Heinecke and Washington in the first round (and let my Bears and Nick Foles beat them earlier on). Kansas City will win this game assuming Mahomes is healthy for four quarters on Sunday, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see Brady fool me yet again.
Prediction: Chiefs 31, Buccaneers 28
Jaime Perez, Staff Writer
In a matchup that feels like it was written for a gritty sports drama, the greatest player of all time, 43-year-old Tom Brady, will face off against the best player in the game today, the much younger Patrick Mahomes. It would not be surprising if the GOAT achieved another storybook ending and clinched his 7th title (his first outside of New England) to add to his already towering legacy.
I find it difficult to pick against the sport’s greatest winner on its biggest stage, but I believe the Chiefs are going to win a close one. Eric Fisher’s absence on the offensive line should worry Kansas City, especially with how well Tampa Bay’s defense is playing, but I expect Andy Reid to come up with a gameplan that will make it easier for Mahomes to lead the Chiefs to victory. The Chiefs quarterback seems destined and determined to challenge Brady for his place in the record books, and this is an incredible opportunity he has in front of him; I expect him to make the most of it.
Prediction: Chiefs 30, Buccaneers 27
Bobby Kent, Staff Writer
This is a really tough one that I’ve been going back and forth on. Despite the star power of Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense, experience (and dominance) will win the day as Brady will capture his 7th title. As he likes to say, his favorite ring is the next one.
Prediction: Buccaneers 31, Chiefs 28
Anish Mago, Staff Writer
The Chiefs have one of the most explosive offenses in NFL history. While the Buccaneers defense is undoubtedly elite, ranking in the top eight in both points allowed per game and total defense this season, nobody has been able to stop Mahomes and Kansas City’s offense. The Chiefs create too many mismatches on offense–as evidenced by the 351 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce combined to produce in Kansas City’s Week 12 win over Tampa Bay. Of course, Brady’s offense has been nearly as productive and efficient this year, but Steve Spagnuolo’s defenses have a track record of playoff success and have played their best defense as of late. Expect Mahomes to continue on his GOAT trajectory and the Chiefs to take down the Bucs this Sunday.
Prediction: Chiefs 34, Buccaneers 30
Set up as a passing-of-the-torch between two of the league’s greatest quarterbacks, Super Bowl LV has garnered the hype needed to make it a potential classic. Coming into the game, the Chiefs have won 25 of their last 26 games started by Patrick Mahomes. It is quite the task to stop the momentum of Kansas City’s offense right now, led by the dominant force of Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and Tyreek Hill.
However, if there is one thing I’ve learned from my years of watching NFL football, it’s to never bet against Tom Brady. With enough weapons around him to complement his unrivaled experience, “playoff Brady” has successfully relocated to Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers defense also has quite a bit of momentum on their side as they have shut down Drew Brees and likely-MVP Aaron Rodgers in back-to-back weeks. I believe Todd Bowles’ defensive squad could slow down the Chiefs just enough to give Brady and company the edge. For only the second time in his career (and first time since the 2001 season), Tom Brady’s team is listed as the underdog days before the Super Bowl. What better incentive to give the greatest quarterback of all time?
Prediction: Buccaneers 31, Chiefs 27
Bowman Talbot, Staff Writer
There is no denying that Tom Brady is extremely talented and shows no signs of decline. However, Patrick Mahomes is just a different breed. The Bucs will test the young quarterback without a doubt, but Mahomes has shown the ability to remain calm under pressure and manage the game when he has to. Each team is red hot right now, but look for the Chiefs to take the lead late in the fourth quarter and come up with a huge defensive stop within the last two minutes.
Prediction: Chiefs 27, Buccaneers 24
Andy Carr, Staff Writer
It’ll be a close matchup, but I think the Bucs and Tom Brady pull away in the 4th quarter. I am rooting against a repeat Super Bowl winner and in favor of an NFL scorigami (32 – 26).
Prediction: Buccaneers 32, Chiefs 26
Nitin Prabakaran, Staff Writer
Tom Brady passes on the torch to Mahomes in a close contest. But the Chiefs offense is going to prove to be too much for the Buccaneers.
Prediction: Chiefs 30, Buccaneers 27
I see this game as one that will come down to the wire, because I believe the Chiefs edge rush is underrated at getting to the passer. In addition, the Chiefs offensive line is a mismatch against the Bucs defense. Starting LT Eric Fisher will be out for the Chiefs, so look for Mahomes to be pressured often. I see the Chiefs edging out with a victory on Sunday, because their skill players on the perimeter (Hill, Kelce, Hardman, Watkins) are too much for the Buccaneers to handle with their two safeties coming back from injury.
Prediction: Chiefs 32, Buccaneers 30
Ethan Stern, Staff Writer
Like many football fans, I have been in awe of what Patrick Mahomes has done in his short career. Simply put, we have never seen someone come on the scene with such a perfect mix of talent, leadership and ability to win. So, what will happen when a young winner like Mahomes faces the greatest winner in NFL history?
To be honest, I have concerns about the Chiefs’ offensive line, as they are missing both of their tackles. Mitchell Schwartz is a pro-bowl talent at right tackle and Eric Fisher is certainly an above=average left tackle. I’m not certain the Chiefs’ backup tackles will be able to keep Jason Pierre-Paul and Shaq Barrett from getting to Mahomes. Mahomes struggled in the first half of last year’s Super Bowl because of the 49ers’ star-studded pass rush, and you could make the argument that Tampa’s front seven is just as good. Without the tackles in place, I am really questioning whether the Chiefs have this. Also, you never bet against Brady. Sorry Pat, but I have to go with Tom’s crew on this one.
Prediction: Buccaneers 35, Chiefs 31
Christopher Hugh, Staff Writer
As much as I hate to admit it–Tom Brady is aging like fine wine. As a diehard New Orleans Saints fan, I was stunned that the Buccaneers made it this far. After delivering two lackluster performances against the Saints in the regular season, Brady has clawed his way back to the big game once again. But 2021 will not be the year that no.12 secures his seventh ring. When these teams clashed back in Week 12, the Chiefs narrowly edged out Tampa Bay 27-24 in a deceivingly close contest. The Chiefs out-passed, out-ran, and turned the ball over less than the Bucs yet won by just a field goal. Since Week 12, the Chiefs have only gotten stronger, and on Sunday, Mahomes will throw for 406 yards and 4 TDs en route to a second straight title for Kansas City.
Prediction: Chiefs: 34, Buccaneers: 28
Luke Mukandan, Staff Writer
Tom Brady can’t keep winning everything, right? He dominated the AFC for nearly 20 years and already has climbed to the top of the NFC mountain in his first season with the Buccaneers. To paraphrase DJ Khaled, all Tom Brady does is win, no matter what. However, there is reason to believe that this upcoming Sunday will turn out differently against the Kansas City Chiefs. When playing up to their potential, the Chiefs maintain one of the most potent NFL offensive attacks in recent memory. Opposing teams can only hope to slow their offense down, let alone stop them in their tracks. This Sunday, I think that Tom Brady and the Buccaneers will only be able to keep up with Patrick Mahomes and co. for so long. While I think the game will stay close for a while, the Chiefs should pull away in the end to defend last year’s Super Bowl title.
Prediction: Chiefs 35, Buccaneers 24
Brett Needelman, Staff Writer
Tom Brady may be the goat now, but Mahomes is the most talented player to ever touch a football and will prove it on the big stage (again).
Prediction: Chiefs 34, Buccaneers 28
Jesse Goldman, Staff Writer
Yes this is Tom Brady. Yes the Buccaneers’ offensive line is healthy and the Chiefs’ is decimated. I understand that going against Tom Brady is basically writing your own obituary. Still, I’m gonna do it. Everybody has spent the entire football season finding reasons why the Chiefs are not as good as we think they are. Offense looks stagnant at times, redzone efficiency is bad, defense is no good, o-line is hurt. ALL THEY DO IS WIN GAMES. This team has lost 1 of Mahomes’ last 27 starts in a weird game to a division rival. Take the Chiefs, this team does not lose.
Prediction: Chiefs 31, Buccaneers 27
Thought I’d unsubscribed from the Tom Brady show.
Prediction: Chiefs 34, Buccaneers 21