Breaking down the Chiefs and Buccaneers’ positional matchups

Breaking down the Chiefs and Buccaneers’ positional matchups

Hint: When Pat Mahomes has the ball, Kansas City will have the edge.
Hint: When Pat Mahomes has the ball, Kansas City will have the edge.
Image: Getty Images

Believe it or not, there are actually players other than Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady taking part in this Super Bowl. I know, I’m as shocked by this media revelation as you are. While those two deserve their headlines, and contribute largely to the plot of this Sunday’s theatre, they alone will not decide the outcome. Let’s take a little journey through the depth charts to see how different groups stack up against each other.

On paper, this year’s contest looks to favor the Bucs. The Chiefs, however, have a handful of truly special players that are capable of magical moments that can alter a game. One interception, one miracle pass from Mahomes that only he can make, one Tyreek Hill short catch that he takes for a long touchdown could change the outcome of this game.

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Chiefs Offensive Line vs. Buccaneers Defensive Line

Chiefs Offensive Line vs. Buccaneers Defensive Line

Illustration for article titled Breaking down the Chiefs and Buccaneers’ positional matchups
Image: Getty Images

Advantage: Tampa Bay

The Chiefs, due to opt-outs and injuries, only have one starter on their offensive line from their expected preseason starters. That’s less than ideal. The Buccaneers, on the other hand, just got back formidable big man Vita Vea to their defensive front. The Chiefs are clearly outmatched here, and Mahomes will have his hands full.

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Chiefs Running Backs vs. Buccaneers Front Seven

Chiefs Running Backs vs. Buccaneers Front Seven

Illustration for article titled Breaking down the Chiefs and Buccaneers’ positional matchups
Image: Getty Images

Advantage: Tampa Bay

The Buccaneers had the best run defense in the NFL this year, allowing only 80.6 rushing yards per game, a full ten yards less than the second best unit in the league. Kansas City doesn’t ask much from their running back position, but they will need to get creative to generate yards on the ground. Luckily, Kansas City has the most creative offense in the NFL.

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Chiefs Passing Game vs. Buccaneers Secondary

Chiefs Passing Game vs. Buccaneers Secondary

Illustration for article titled Breaking down the Chiefs and Buccaneers’ positional matchups
Image: Getty Images

Advantage: Kansas City

Mahomes vs. anyone is going to be an advantage for Mahomes. He’s the best quarterback in the game, can make throws nobody else can make, and has the most elite offensive weapons duo in the NFL with Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill. The last time these teams met, Tyreek Hill posted 269 receiving yards and three touchdowns.

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Buccaneers Offensive Line vs. Chiefs Defensive Line

Buccaneers Offensive Line vs. Chiefs Defensive Line

Illustration for article titled Breaking down the Chiefs and Buccaneers’ positional matchups
Image: Getty Images

Advantage: Tampa Bay

The defensive front for Kansas City is pretty mediocre, if we’re being honest. They allowed 122.1 rushing yards per game during the regular season, and generated only the 19th most sacks with 32. Tampa Bay has a decently strong front, and Brady holds them to a high standard. They surrendered the fourth-fewest sacks in the regular season with 22. According to PFF’s OL/DL matchup tool, Tampa Bay has a 16% advantage in the passing game, and a massive 41% advantage in the running game.

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Buccaneers Running Backs vs. Chiefs Front Seven

Buccaneers Running Backs vs. Chiefs Front Seven

Illustration for article titled Breaking down the Chiefs and Buccaneers’ positional matchups
Image: Getty Images

Advantage: Tampa Bay

“Playoff Lenny” is a real thing. Leonard Fournette looks revitalized and like the physical bruiser of a back we’ve seen over the last several years. While he only ran for 55 yards in the NFC Championship Game, he did add a touchdown to the mix. He did what was asked of him and did so efficiently. If Tampa Bay can keep things close with Kansas City, Fournette could be a big part of keeping the ball away from Mahomes and company. As I said earlier, the Chiefs allowed 122.1 rushing yards per game in the regular season. This is definitely something to watch.

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Buccaneers Passing Game vs. Chiefs Secondary

Buccaneers Passing Game vs. Chiefs Secondary

Illustration for article titled Breaking down the Chiefs and Buccaneers’ positional matchups
Image: Getty Images

Advantage: Tampa Bay

Brady isn’t exactly surrounded by slouches. Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, Scotty Miller, and a seemingly-spry Rob Gronkowski are a tough bunch to handle. The Chiefs secondary has been playing tougher as of late, and only surrendered one touchdown in the first three quarters to the potent Bills offense. Having ballhawk Tyran Mathieu on the back end certainly helps, but I have to give the advantage to the Buccaneers here as well.

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