With the days counting down to Super Bowl 55, the Buccaneers need to make sure these five Chiefs offensive studs don’t make too big a dent.
It’s a safe and dull statement to make: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs offenses will be the storyline for Super Bowl 55.
More specifically, most of the focus is going to center on the two quarterbacks, Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes, who’ll battle it out for yet another Super Bowl ring. Perhaps Brady’s last of his storied career or Mahomes’ second in his still-budding legacy.
But Mahomes isn’t the only problem Tampa Bay’s defense will have to figure out on Feb. 7.
Not unlike the Buccaneers, Kansas City’s offense is laden with star-studded talent. There isn’t any one quick fix like what Brady’s former coach with the New England Patriots, Bill Belichick, used to do by taking away an opponent’s best offensive player. In addition to Mahomes, the Chiefs already boast two other Pro Bowlers at the skill positions, and there’s even more weaponry buried down the depth chart.
So, while Brady and his offensive cast will need to be on point in the Super Bowl, the Bucs defense will also need to make sure these five Chiefs offensive standouts don’t take over the game.
No. 5: Quarterback Patrick Mahomes
The first is the obvious, and there’s no questioning Mahomes’ ability to do the seemingly undoable at any particular moment. He’s a perennial league MVP candidate already at this point in his career.
But the Buccaneers might do some good going back and looking at the film from Super Bowl 54 when a then-powerful and imposing San Francisco 49ers defense flustered Mahomes for nearly three full quarters, forcing him to toss multiple interceptions and keeping him from being the impact player he truly is.
OK. So, how?
One of the ways the Niners had some success during that Super Bowl a year ago was to mix in frequent big-nickel packages while also using some Tampa 2 coverages with a middle linebacker between the hashes, leaving the strong and free safeties to cover the outer two-thirds of the field.
This wasn’t an end-all solution (Mahomes still ended up being that game’s MVP), but it helped.
Perhaps the Buccaneers look to that strategy a bit again.