Sports staff predicts Super Bowl LV

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Perry Knotts | Associated Press

NFL football commissioner Roger Goodell speaks at a press conference ahead of Super Bowl 55, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021, in Tampa, Florida.

Northern Star Staff

Here’s the Northern Star Media sports staff’s predictions for Super Bowl LV. Super Bowl LV features a matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs of the AFC and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the NFC.

James Krause, reporter: Chiefs win 39-38

The Chiefs set the tone of the season in Week 1 by running roughshod over the Houston Texans with an offense I then dubbed football’s “Death Star.” If any team has the roster to be the rebel force to take them down, it’s the Buccaneers and their baby-faced pilot, Tom Brady.

Brady has received tons of credit for elevating the Bucs to their first Super Bowl since 2003, but could have been taking the blame this past week after throwing three interceptions that allowed the Green Bay Packers to stay in the NFC Championship game. Brady can’t afford to give the Chiefs extra possessions and will need to protect the ball.

Kansas City Chiefs offensive tackle Eric Fisher reacts after getting injured during the second half of the AFC championship NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Jan. 24, 2021, in Kansas City, Missouri. (Charlie Riedel | Associated Press)

The X-factors for the Chiefs may not be their playmakers on the field, but the lineman off of it. Tackle Eric Fisher is out with a torn achilles while fellow tackle Mitchell Schwartz is doubtful with a back injury. These injuries come ahead of facing a Buccaneers pass rush that averages three sacks a game.

This is a toss up and ultimately will probably come down to the final possession. The edge goes to the Chiefs with a late drive and field goal by kicker Harrison Bucker.

 

Wes Sanderson, reporter: Buccaneers win 33-27

I said at the beginning of the season when Tampa Bay played Kansas City on this same field that the match-up could be a potential Super Bowl preview. Fast forward two months and here we are. 

The storyline is going to be a tale of two quarterbacks. Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, the oldest quarterback in the league this season, pinned against Patrick Mahomes who was just five years old when Brady was drafted into the league in 2000.

Both of these offenses can score. During the Bucs’ playoff run, the team has scored at least 30 points in each of its games. While the Chiefs are averaging 30 points-per-game in it’s two playoff appearances.

In what will most likely be a shootout, I’m hard pressed to side against playoff Brady, who continues to defy the odds at his age and find a way to win.

Brady and the Bucs will be the first team to win a Super Bowl on its home turf, and Brady will break the record he set in 2019 as being the oldest QB to win a Super Bowl and claim his seventh ring in 10 appearances.

 

Jarrett Huff, Sports Editor: Chiefs win 30-23

This Super Bowl matchup may have been the easiest to predict heading into Week 1 of the 2020 NFL season. The Kansas City Chiefs seemed prime to repeat as AFC Champions with most of 2019’s team returning. Outside of the Baltimore Ravens previous to the start of the season, no other team appeared to have a realistic chance of topping Kansas City.

In the NFC, if you had believed in the hype of the loaded Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offense with the additions of NFL legend Tom Brady and unretired tight end Rob Gronkowski, then you may not be too surprised they made it either. While the first few weeks looked a little disjointed for the Bucs’ offense at times, Brady came in and led a much more disciplined Tampa Bay team to only 17 turnovers this season. The team had 41 by the end of last season.

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes celebrates after throwing a 5-yard touchdown pass to tight end Travis Kelce during the second half of the AFC championship NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Jan. 24, 2021, in Kansas City, Missouri. (Jeff Roberson | Associated Press)

While this matchup may have been predictable, it does not mean this Super Bowl won’t be exciting. Fans have the privilege to watch the undisputed greatest NFL player of all-time in Brady, face off against the quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the man with arguably the best chance at surpassing him. 

Even if the Chiefs start off slow, like in Super Bowl LIV, they’ve shown time and time again that a deficit at any point in the game is no problem. Mahomes and the Chiefs’ loaded offense is capable of crazy comebacks, or creating separation if given the opportunity.

While the Super Bowl is Brady’s domain, his accuracy at times has led to costly turnovers down the stretch that has given opponents opportunities to take the game away from the Bucs, like what Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers almost did in the NFC Championship game.

While I am a Chicago Bears fan and thankful for what Brady did to Rodgers and company, it’s time for him to pass the torch to Mahomes. I was right in my prediction last year, and I’ll be right again. The Chiefs will win this game whether down early, late or running up the score.

 

Abby Hostman, reporter: Buccaneers win 37-28

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have not been to the Super Bowl in 18 years, since Super Bowl XXXVII, and the Buccaneers won that game 48-21 against the Oakland Raiders. Tampa Bay is looking to score another win in a Super Bowl with a new quarterback, and they will do it in Super Bowl LV.

The Buccaneers won three straight away games to make it where they are now. With their home field advantage, they will continue their winning streak to take it all. With a tough 7-9 record for Tampa Bay last season, it turned itself around this season to dominate the game.

While the Chiefs had made it to the Super Bowl last year and won, quarterback Patrick Mahomes has suffered some injuries in his last few games that he is still trying to fully recover from. Even though he can play, his injured toe and his concussion might be a problem for him during the game. The Buccaneers will take advantage of these injuries against him.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady reacts after winning the NFC championship NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers Jan. 24, 2021, in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Buccaneers defeated the Packers 31-26 to advance to the Super Bowl. (Matt Ludtke | Associated Press)

Super Bowl LV will be an exciting game to watch between two teams that could have easily been predicted to make it here since Week 1. Both teams had a remarkable season with both offenses that can score well. However, Tom Brady’s offense is going to dominate and Tampa Bay will come out on top as the first team to win a Super Bowl on their home field. 

 

Justin Kelley, reporter: Chiefs win 34-31

Heading into Super Bowl LV, it’s hard to forget the last time that quarterbacks Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes faced off in a significant game. This game was the 2018-19 AFC championship between Brady’s New England Patriots and Mahomes’ Kansas City Chiefs.

In that meeting, Brady led the Patriots to a 37-31 victory over the Chiefs, but there seemed to be a changing of the guard. For the most part, Mahomes outplayed Brady in the 2019 AFC championship game. 

Mahomes threw for 295 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions, but did have one fumble. Brady, on the other hand, did not have as good of a game; he threw for 348 yards but had two interceptions and only one touchdown. 

After that game, the Patriots and Brady defeated the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 to earn the franchise its sixth championship. Brady played one more season for the Patriots, then packed up his six Super Bowl rings and headed to Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Things have changed a lot for Mahomes as well, last year he led the Chiefs to its first championship in 50 years. It also seems like the Chiefs are on track to be the next great dynasty, like the Patriots were the last 20 years.

When it comes to this season, the Buccaneers and the Chiefs have already played each other in week 11. The Chiefs won that 27-24 surviving a late push by the Buccaneers in the fourth quarter of the game. Brady and Mahomes both had good games and combined for 804 yards of passing.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) evades a tackle as he looks to pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half of the NFC championship NFL football game Jan. 24, 2021, in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Mike Roemer | Associated Press)

With that being said I feel like Super Bowl LV will be very different from the week 11 game. I feel like the run game of both teams will be a key factor in this game. The Chiefs have a star studded backfield with rookie sensation Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Le’Veon Bell.

Edwards-Helaire and Bell combined for 1,058 rushing yards during the regular season.

The Buccaneers have Lenoard Fournette and Ronald Jones slotted for the running back position. Jones led the team in rushing with 978 yards on 192 carries, while Fournette had 367 yards on 97 carries. 

Though the Buccaneers tandem rushed for more than the Chiefs running backs I still have to give the edge to Kansas City. I give them the advantage on the basis of all the other offensive talent Kansas City has. Like tight end Travis Kelce and wide receiver Tyreek Hill who are both widely considered to be the best at their positions.

Brady will probably make the game close, but at the end of the day Kansas City repeats as Super Bowl champions.