Some people say that Christmas is “the most wonderful time of the year.” Here at TGH, we respectfully disagree. It’s the NFL playoffs, which are finally among us after a tumultuous season.
Here are the TGH staff’s picks for the Super Bowl matchup, winner and MVP ahead of “Super” Wild Card Weekend.
The Kansas City Chiefs looked very beatable at multiple points during the season, but the optics matched the outcome only twice (one of their losses coming in Week 17 without Patrick Mahomes and other starters). The Buffalo Bills, on the other hand, have looked like an unstoppable force late in the season, culminating in a 56-point performance over one of the best-coached defenses in the NFL.
These two teams look to be on a collision course for the AFC Championship Game. No matter what, the game will be fascinating and electrifying, but the smart money here is on the Chiefs. It is hard to pick against Mahomes and that offense after what they did to the AFC playoff field last season and how it carried over to the Super Bowl. Their experience alone is enough to give them the edge here.
In the NFC, the two best teams look to be the Green Bay Packers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Although, with the way the seeding has turned out, an NFC Championship Game matchup between the two teams is very unlikely. The Pack will have to settle for beating Tom Brady in the Divisional Round this year.
Instead, look for a rematch of the 2014-2015 Championship Game between the Packers and the Seahawks. Rodgers has certainly not forgotten the humiliation of losing that game (which they had in the bag if not for a botched onside kick recovery) and he will shred the up-and-down Seahawks defense.
This scenario sets NFL fans up for what could be one of the best Super Bowls in history. Rodgers vs. Mahomes. The old guard vs. the new guard. Battle between the MVP favorites. The State Farm Bowl, even.
While the defenses just about wash, as Green Bay’s has been playing extremely well of late, the offenses will of course be the story here. The question ringing in the minds of every NFL fan and pundit will be, “Can each team keep the other’s quarterback off the field for long enough?”
Rodgers can. Mahomes may have the veteran offensive mastermind, but expect the tantalizing combo of Kelce and Hill and Watkins and Hardman to be too much for both of them to pass up, resulting in enough of the Rodgers-Jones one-two punch to win.
This entire Super Bowl may come down to who has the ball last. If that is the case, expect Rodgers to have the wherewithal to make damn sure that is him.
Prediction: Packers-37, Chiefs-34
Super Bowl MVP: Aaron Rodgers
The Chiefs have to make the Super Bowl, right? Standing a class above the rest of the AFC, Kansas City has presented themselves as second to none. However, in their 6-0 run from Weeks 9-16 their average margin of victory was fewer than four points. New Orleans, on the other hand, has a far more difficult path.
The Saints likely have to beat the Seahawks and/or the Packers to get to the Super Bowl. With star players returning from injury, New Orleans look like one of the most complete teams in football. Should these two rematch in February, look for the Saints defensive front to give Mahomes a tougher time than they did in their Week 15 showdown.
Prediction: Saints-30, Chiefs-28
Super Bowl MVP: Alvin Kamara
Ostensibly, the Kansas City Chiefs are the obvious choice to win the AFC, but the Buffalo Bills have been unstoppable of late, and Josh Allen and company undoubtedly have the firepower to take down the presumptive favorites. Despite winning an impressive 10 consecutive games, Patrick Mahomes was shaky in the final stretch of the season. While it is foolish to completely count the reigning champions out, a loaded AFC field will provide a formidable challenge to Andy Reid’s team.
Ultimately, a Bills and Chiefs championship game could come down to a single play, and it’s nearly impossible to predict a winner. That being said, expect the hotter team to come out on top in what should be an enthralling shootout.
On the NFC side, the road to the Super Bowl runs through Lambeau Field, and the cold weather could cause trouble for heavyweights like the Los Angeles Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and New Orleans Saints. It does not help that the team defending the frozen tundra has consistently been one of the NFL’s best. After years trapped in Mike McCarthy’s uninspired offense, Aaron Rodgers has thrived this season in head coach Matt Lafleur’s ingenious system.
Combining the NFL’s most talented and cerebral quarterback with sharp play-calling has unlocked the league’s scariest offensive unit. Left tackle David Bakhtiari will be missed, but nobody in the NFC is outscoring this Packers team, especially with an underrated secondary and pass rush.
The adage says that defense wins championships, but in a season where scoring trends reached historic highs, it is only fitting that the two best offenses face off in this year’s Super Bowl. The Bills deserve an endless amount of credit for what has been a truly special season, and the future certainly looks bright in Buffalo. However, Aaron Rodgers has put together a record-breaking season at the league’s most important position, and it is impossible to bet against any Hall of Fame quarterback when they are playing this well.
Prediction: Packers-38, Bills-34
Super Bowl MVP: Aaron Rodgers
The Chiefs haven’t played their best football this season, but it is still hard to imagine anyone beating them in the AFC after they won 14 games. Teams may have better defenses than the Chiefs, but only a few teams have an offense that can put up enough points to really compete. They will make it out of the AFC.
In the NFC, things are much more wide open. The Packers have a bad run defense, while the Saints have had injury issues. A team that a lot of people are overlooking is the Seahawks. They have a relatively easy first round matchup against the Rams, who will be starting either John Wolford or an injured Jared Goff. If the Seahawks can get past the Rams, they could go on a run because of their ability to run the football when they are healthy and because they have started to “let Russ cook”.
If these two teams meet in the Super Bowl, it will be a shootout. Neither defense is really that good. Anyone who is betting on this being a show of offensive firepower would be crazy to pick against the Chiefs. Patrick Mahomes will find Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce often to lead the Chiefs to victory and in doing so will win the MVP.
Prediction: Chiefs-38, Seahawks-28
Super Bowl MVP: Patrick Mahomes
The 2020-2021 NFL season has been an action-packed one, as it has showcased the most points scored in a season. Look for that to continue through the postseason with teams like the Chiefs and Saints making it to Super Bowl LV.
How can anyone go against Mahomes and the Chiefs? They have been dominant all season long, losing only one game when all their starters play. Picking against Kansas City is unfavorable at best. They have a top three head coach, the best quarterback, the best tight end and a top-five-wide receiver. They are going to be tough to stop.
In the NFC, the Saints will make it back to the big stage after some very unfortunate playoff exits in past years. They have lost at the hands Minneapolis Miracle and the infamous pass inference no-call, but this may the year they finally put it all together. Drew Brees’ last rodeo mixed with a dominant defense will get the Saints to the Super Bowl.
The Super Bowl itself will be headlined by the battle between the Chiefs’ offense and the Saints’ defense. Mahomes and the Chiefs will be too much for the Saints, resulting in a 34-28 Super Bowl LV victory. Mahomes will go on to win consecutive Super Bowl MVP awards and the Chiefs will be the first back-to-back Super Bowl champions since the New England Patriots in 2003 and 2004.
Prediction: Chiefs-34, Saints-28
Super Bowl MVP: Patrick Mahomes
What else is there to be said about Tom Brady? After six championships with the New England Patriots, he finally decided it was time to play in some warm weather for a change in hopes to win one more before he’s 50. This man just lives and breathes winning, so much so that he has refused to shake the hands of QB’s that beat him in the Super Bowl.
Even though Brady is surrounded by some of the best weapons he has ever had on the offensive side of the ball, the real highlight for Tampa Bay has been their stellar defense. The top 5 run defense has been dominant for most of the season. Their secondary leaves a little to be desired, but thanks to the speedy pass-rush of the front seven, the Buccaneers defensive backs easily capitalize on forced or errant throws.
On the other side of the ball, the Browns have become one of the best rushing teams in the league. Nick Chubb is a bonafide star that has cruised to another 1,000 yard rushing performance, without playing the entire season. Kareem Hunt looks to be back in form, notching over 800 yards rushing despite sharing the load with Chubb. The prolific rushing attack has opened up Baker Mayfield to play a much more level game.
Mayfield is a lot like Brady in a sense – both players just want to win and prove everyone wrong. While Mayfield wants to prove to fans that he has what it takes to save the Browns, Brady is still fighting to show people he’s still the best to ever play the position. This Super Bowl matchup has all the storylines the audience could possibly want. But at the end of the day, it’s the weapons around the QB that will make the difference.
Prediction: Buccaneers-27, Browns-24
Super Bowl MVP: Tom Brady
Featured Image courtesy of NFL
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