Some say the Chiefs are a shoo-in for a repeat Super Bowl victory but what could be the keys to a Buccaneers home victory on Sunday?
For many, this year’s big game is a bit of a foregone conclusion, the Chiefs are the clear favourites with the bookies currently sitting at -3. However, I thought that I would break down a couple of reasons why the Buccaneers might be able to pull of the upset this week in Tampa.
The Chiefs Offensive Line
Coming into Sunday, the Chiefs are without both Mitchell Schwartz and Eric Fisher. Fisher gave up a total of 68 negative plays (QB Hits, Sacks, Hurries and Pressures) which worked out at about 9% of the snaps he played. The only player worse on a per snaps basis is Andrew Wylie who had a negative play on 10% of his snaps played.
With Fisher and Schwartz now out we should see Mike Remmers step into the fold, however, from the limited snaps he played during the regular season he was still tied for third on the Chiefs offensive line for the most penalties conceded.
Remmers was already replacing Schwartz at right tackle in the AFC championship game so they will now look to fill the RT spot it will probably be Martinas Rankin, which is someone this Buccaneers front four could look to target. With JPP one on one with Remmers, I fancy him to get the better of him throughout the game.
One way the Chiefs could combat this is more two tight end sets to give Mahomes more protection and allow him to take more deep shots down the field. However, they might have to keep Kelce in for this which in turn takes away one of his weapons as Helaire and Bell are not the best in pass protection.
This is going to be the key area where the game is won or lost for the Buccaneers.
If we could give out an MVP for the postseason I would give my vote to Devin White, he has been an absolute game-changer. I have been really impressed with him this postseason and you can tell he is already a leader on that Bucs defence.
He has his limitations, he is not very good in pass coverage, in fact against Green Bay and New Orleans he was targeted a fair bit by Rodgers and Brees. The key to this week is how Todd Bowles can use him to help in the run game, especially the outside runs that the Chiefs like to do with Hardman and Hill.
Even if they can line him up in the A gap on a couple of plays and make the Chiefs offensive line account for him, he can be a real disruptor. I think that, should the Buccaneers win, the MVP award will probably be going to Devin White.
As long as they can keep him from having to go into pass coverage 1 on 1 with the Chief’s speedsters, he should have a good game.
The last time Tom Brady threw this many interceptions in a season was 2011! Incredible, you know what’s even better, Tom Brady has only thrown for 40 or more touchdowns in a season twice, in 2007 when he had Randy Moss and now this year with his assortment of weapons.
The interceptions aren’t really a big issue, the Arians offence is all about taking risks and pushing the ball down the field. However, after the bye week, we did start to see a bit more of the old concepts that Brady has used for years creep in and the mix of the two is when the Bucs really started to fire on all cylinders.
Brady, Arians and Leftwich are starting to work well together. Unlike with Winston last year, Brady has the cache to check out of bad pass plays to a base run play and he is happy to do so. His experience in this game is going to be vital to keep everyone around him calm. His offensive line has been great this year so he should be kept relatively clean he just needs to make smart decisions. He cannot have another three-interception game, however, as the Chiefs will not be as incompetent as LaFleur at wasting those opportunities.
The bottom line is that the Bucs need to go into this game knowing that they are playing both the Chiefs and the clock. They need to ensure that they can get a couple of three and outs while following that up with long point scoring drives. If the defence forces any turnovers from Mahomes or on special teams then the Bucs must come away with points. If they squander any of these then the confetti will be falling on Mahomes and Reid once again
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