Throughout the offseason, NewYorkJets.com reporters Eric Allen, Ethan Greenberg, Randy Lange and Olivia Landis will each give their predictions to a series of questions regarding this year's Jets.
Today's question: What is your Super Bowl LV Prediction?
EA: The final game of the most unprecedented season in professional football history will pit the league's most decorated player in Tom Brady against the NFL's best player in Patrick Mahomes. Jason Pierre-Paul and Shaquil Barrett, a pair who combined for 5 sacks against the Packers in the NFC Championship game, have to feast on the Chiefs' backup tackles. If the Bucs get pressure with their front four, defensive coordinator Todd Bowles can play with seven in the back end. Maybe Devin White can neutralize Travis Kelce, but Tyreek Hill, who had 200 yards receiving in the first quarter when these two clubs met in Week 12, is going to be tough to slow down. Brady, a four-time Super Bowl MVP targeting his seventh ring, and the Bucs can't be one-dimensional and they need a consistent ground game from Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones. If the Bucs aren't winning on early downs, they are going to be in deep trouble. Brady needs time, but the athletic Mahomes literally flourished against the blitz in the Chiefs' 27-24 victory over the Buccaneers in November. The Bucs should be better equipped the second time around, but I just don't know how you can pick against Mahomes & Company.
EG: It's hard for me not to pick the Chiefs because of the variety on offense. When these teams played in November, the Chiefs won 27-24, but the game was 27-10 entering the fourth quarter. Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes threw for 462 yards and 3 TDs. WR Tyreek Hill had 13 receptions, 269 yards and 3 TDs while averaging 20.7 yards per reception. I don't think the Buccaneers' defense will play like it did against KC this game, but I'd assume Hill will garner a lot of attention. That could open up things for TE Travis Kelce, who had 13 catches, 118 yards and 2 TDs in the AFC Championship game against the Bills. Plus, WR Sammy Watkins seems to be back to full health. For Tampa Bay, however, playing in its home stadium is an interesting wrinkle where players don't have to travel. You can never count out QB Tom Brady and while the Chiefs' defense is good, the Bucs have three WRs -- Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown -- who can challenge the entire secondary. Not to mention TE Rob Gronkowski. Up front, I think Tampa Bay has the advantage on both sides of the ball. It has one of the best offensive lines in the NFL and its defensive line led by Jason Pierre-Paul, Shaquil Barrett and Vita Vea is a strong unit going up against a banged-up Chiefs OL. TB also seems like it'll have rookie S Antoine Winfield Jr. back in the secondary. I'm rooting for a close game, but the Chiefs have played more as a team more consistently this season, in my opinion, which gives them the edge.
RL: LV stands for Super Bowl 55 as well as for Las Vegas, and who wants to roll the dice for the Buccaneers on Sunday? Here's a vote for Tom Brady and the Bucs over Pat Mahomes and the Chiefs. It's a choice between perhaps the two most polished QBs in the game, and I'll take the 21-year vet over the fourth-year pro. Mahomes has been phenomenal (66.3% accuracy, 108.2 rating, 33.6% TD drive rate, 9.0% TO drive rate, 2.8 points/drive) and has had longer drives this season, but otherwise Tom Terrific has been right with the Magic Man (65.7, 102.2, 32.4, 9.8, 2.8). Specifically, Brady's TD rate is his best since 2012 and his 40 TD passes are his most since '07. Teamwise the rankings are top-10 close. One thing that stands out is that while the Chiefs posted five comebacks from 10-point deficits last year, including an NFL-playoffs-record 3 for 3, the Bucs have shown that same ability this season, with four double-digit comeback wins (to the Chiefs' 3). Finally, who can resist a quadruple TB omen? That's as in Brady, Bucs D-coordinator Todd Bowles, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tampa Bay as in this year's SB host area. Well, at least I can't resist. Bucs, 38-34.
OL: When thinking about Super Bowl LV, the first thing that comes to mind is how incredibly challenging this season has been for every player, coach and staff member. Successfully completing the seaosn during a pandemic at first seemed like a long shot, but here we are days away from one of the world's most-watched events; how incredibly lucky we are. I expect the 55th Super Bowl to be an incredible event, and while I don't have a score prediction but the chance too see Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes face off on the big stage brings added excitement. Brady, a 21-year NFL veteran, against Mahomes, one of the most-liked and most-talented young players in the game should be thrilling. Sit back and enjoy.