Ladies and gentlemen, it's officially Super Bowl week, which is kind of a big deal, because five months ago, I was only about 10 percent sure there would even be a Super Bowl.
There are lot of things over the past year that I never thought I would witness in my life -- like a worldwide pandemic or the Browns being good -- but if there's one thing I definitely never thought I'd see in my lifetime, it's a Super Bowl where one quarterback is basically the same age as the other quarterback's mom, but here we are. I'm pretty sure that was the final thing that needed to be crossed off my Super Bowl bucket list, so thanks to Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes' mom for helping make that happen.
The one thing about the Super Bowl this year is that nothing is going to be normal. The Buccaneers are the first team ever to play at home, the Chiefs are staying in Kansas City until the day before the game and I'm following Backstreet Boy Nick Carter on Twitter for football updates from Tampa.
This game will mark the 14th time in Super Bowl history that we'll be getting a rematch from the regular season and if the first 13 games are any indication, the Chiefs could be in trouble. Back in Week 12, the Chiefs beat the Buccaneers 27-24, which is notable, because the team that won the regular season game has gone 6-7 in the Super Bowl rematch. Also, no AFC team has ever beaten an NFC team twice in one season.
So what exactly is going to happen in this game?
Let's get to the pick and find out.
Actually, before we get to the pick, here's a quick reminder to check out the Super Bowl picks from all of our other CBS Sports NFL writers, which you can do by clicking here. If you need more Super Bowl content, then I recommend clicking here and subscribing to the Pick Six Podcast. Will Brinson, Ryan Wilson and I will be putting out new podcasts every day during Super Bowl week, which means you get more of me, which I have to think is a good thing.
For our latest podcast, we ranked Super Bowl storylines, because Super Bowl week can't start until you've ranked the storylines.
Alright, let's get this thing started, because the sooner we get this started, the the sooner I can make one of these two fan bases hate me.
Looking for prop bets for the Super Bowl? We've got you covered here.
Super Bowl LV Pick
Kansas City (16-2) vs. Tampa Bay (14-5)
Time: 6:30 p.m. ET (CBS)
Location: Raymond James Stadium (Tampa)
How to stream: FOR FREE on CBSSports.com and the CBS Sports App on your phone and connected TV devices
I'm not going to say I was secretly rooting for a Super Bowl involving Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady... Actually, I am going to say it, I was secretly rooting for a Super Bowl involving Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady. Sure, rooting for Brady to get to the Super Bowl is like rooting for a billionaire to get richer or rooting for a hedge fund to win a short-selling battle against everyone on Reddit. You definitely don't feel good about yourself rooting that way, but I did it anyway. I want to see Brady and Mahomes play at least once per season for the rest of time.
When these two teams met back in Week 12, I wrote that we should be rooting for as many games as possible between the two quarterbacks. The Brady-Mahomes rivalry has basically turned into the Fast and the Furious series: We should be all be hoping for as many installments as possible because every single one is awesome.
The Super Bowl will mark the fifth time that Brady and Mahomes have met on the field, which is kind of fitting, since the best Fast and the Furious movie was "Fast Five." Am I saying that just because I was in it? Yes.
I studied for weeks to play the train passenger below just like I have studied for weeks to make this Super Bowl pick.
Not only is the series between Brady and Mahomes tied 2-2, but they've almost tied in the scoring department too as Mahomes and the Chiefs have outscored Brady's teams 121-120.
In news that you've probably heard at least 7,000 times over the past week, the Buccaneers will be making NFL history on Sunday when they become the first team ever to play a Super Bowl in their home stadium, which might not be a good thing. I mean, the last time a team "hosted" the Super Bowl, their quarterback and mascot got kidnapped two days before the game and that's the last thing the Buccaneers need to be dealing with.
Although playing at home sounds like an advantage, I'm starting to think it's not going to be an advantage at all. As a matter of fact, if the Buccaneers are smart, they should be on the phone right now trying to get this game moved. Also, if they do get the game moved, they should probably push for it to be played in Kansas City because that's only place where Patrick Mahomes seems to be beatable. The man is basically unstoppable in road games and the Super Bowl qualifies as a road game. Over the course of his career, Mahomes is 21-4 on the road and those four losses weren't even his fault because the Chiefs averaged 38.5 points per game. In the 2020 season alone, the Chiefs went 8-0 on the road and averaged 31.6 points in those games.
If you want to stop Mahomes and the Chiefs offense, you have to be able to stop the pass, which isn't great news for the Buccaneers, because if their defense struggled with one thing this year, it's stopping the pass. The Chiefs got to witness that first-hand back in Week 12 when Tyreek Hill put up more than 200 yards in the FIRST QUARTER. I can't even put up 200 yards in one quarter in a game of Madden and Hill did it in real life. One big problem for the Buccaneers is the fact that their secondary is going to be banged up going into Sunday with Antoine Winfield Jr. (ankle) and Jordan Whitehead (shoulder) both dealing with injuries.
If the Buccaneers are going to win, they're going to have to take advantage of the fact that the Chiefs will have a makeshift offensive line on the field that won't include left tackle Eric Fisher, who tore his Achilles in the AFC title game. Of course, even if Shaq Barrett and the rest of Tampa Bay's pass rush are able to take advantage of Kansas City's hobbled O-line to put pressure on Mahomes, it might not matter, because Mahomes somehow plays BETTER when he's under pressure.
I'll be honest, if pressuring him doesn't work and not pressuring him doesn't work, I have no idea how you beat him and I'm not sure Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles is going to be able to figure it out either. Maybe if he had six months, he could come up with something, but I'm not sure two weeks is going to be enough time.
On the other hand, the recipe for beating Brady is simple (in theory), it's just highly difficult to pull off: If you put serious pressure on him, you're probably going to win. If you need proof, just pop in the tape from any of his Super Bowl losses and you'll notice one thing: They're all basically the same. Brady gets beat up for four quarters and his team ends up losing. One person who knows all about that is Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who was the Giants defensive coordinator in 2007 when New York shocked Brady's undefeated Patriots 17-14.
If anyone can design a defense to slow down Brady, it's Spagnuolo, who has a 3-2 career record against Brady (The two losses came by four total points). Spagnuolo has been a good defensive coordinator through his career, but he's been great in the playoffs. In 11 games as a DC, he's gone 9-2, including 5-0 with Kansas City.
Another thing that can slow down Brady is THE FIRST QUARTER. In the what might go down as the weirdest oddity of Brady's postseason career: He has never led his team to a touchdown in the first quarter of a Super Bowl. Seriously. He has played in nine Super Bowls and those nine games have ended with him leading his team to a total of three first quarter points (That's 0.3 per game if you're scoring at home, which you might actually be doing since doing things at home is literally the only thing anyone has done for the past 11 months).
If there's one thing Brady has done exceptionally well this year, it's throwing the deep ball. He completed 36 passes of 20 or more yards in 2020, which led the NFL. Of course, he also threw nine interceptions on deep balls, which was also the most iin the NFL. The problem for Brady is that the Chiefs are one of the best teams in the NFL at stopping the deep ball. Not only did they lead the NFL with eight interceptions on passes of 20 or more yards down field, but they also held opposing quarterbacks to just a 63.6 QB rating on deep throws (To put that in perspective, the NFL average in 2020 was 94.9).
The Chiefs also have one other thing working in their favor and that's the fact that Andy Reid will be coming into this game off the bye. If you polled every coach in the NFL, I'm pretty sure they'd all be unanimously in favor of never letting Andy Reid have another bye week again. In his 22-year coaching career, Reid is 26-5 coming off a bye. The more Andy Reid wins off the bye, the more use I get out of the tweet below, so I'm not complaining.
The only thing more impressive than Andy Reid off the bye is Patrick Mahomes off the bye. In his career as a starter, not only is Mahomes 7-0 coming off a bye, but the Chiefs have averaged 35.7 points per game in those seven wins. In Mahomes' career, the Chiefs have also averaged 33.3 points per game when playing a team for the second time during a season.
I think what I'm trying to say here is that the Chiefs are going to score a lot of points and I'm not sure the Buccaneers are going to be able to keep up. The Chiefs have a chance to become the NFL's first repeat champion in 16 years and I think they're going to pull it off.
The pick: Chiefs 34-27 over Buccaneers
My Chiefs-Buccaneers Week 12 prediction: Chiefs beat Buccaneers by three (34-31).
Actual Week 12 outcome: Chiefs beat Buccaneers by three (27-24).
Record picking Buccaneers games this season: 14-5
Record picking Chiefs games this season: 16-2 (My best record picking any team)
Best pick: There is no best pick from the conference title games and that's because I whiffed on both games. All I had to do was NOT PICK against Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes, but I did the opposite. I'm never talking about either of those games again.
Since I have no best pick to share, I'm dedicating this week's "best pick" section to Tony Romo. As a matter of fact, we might just have to rename this entire section after Romo because predicting things seems to be his strong suit. After the Chiefs beat the Buccaneers back in Week 12, Romo predicted that the two teams would meet up again in the Super Bowl, which was a pretty wild prediction at the time, if only because Tampa Bay was 7-5 at the time and had just lost three of its past four.
Tony Romo casually predicting on Nov. 29 that the Buccaneers and Chiefs would meet again in the Super Bowl, "There is a better than good chance... that these two teams are going to meet here in Tampa [at Super Bowl]." #Buccaneers #Chiefs #Romostradamus pic.twitter.com/bx0frYPzpt— John Breech (@johnbreech) January 25, 2021
Usually, you have to pay big money for predictions like that, but Romo hands them out for free. By the way, Romo will be calling his second Super Bowl on Sunday and if you want to stream the game for free, all you have to do is click here.
Worst pick: Even though I just said three paragraphs ago that I never want to talk about the conference title games ever again, I've decided that I do want to re-live the horror story of my championship game picks and that's because I'm bitter -- probably not as bitter as Packers fans -- but I'm still bitter. Yes, I went 0-2 with my picks, but I'm putting an asterisk next to that 0-2 because I would have gone 1-1 if the Packers didn't have a coaching staff that absolutely melts down in big games. I'm still not sure what was worse, that MATT LAFLEUR KICKED A FIELD GOAL on fourth down late in the game or that the Packers GAVE UP A 39-YARD TD PASS TO SOME DUDE NAMED SCOTTY MILLER WITH ONE SECOND LEFT IN THE FIRST HALF.
No wonder there's a viral video of Aaron Rodgers in the back of a pickup truck carrying a 12-pack of beer. I'm guessing Rodgers' plan was to drink every single one of those beers so he could forget about every dumb call that the Packers coaching staff made in that game.
Alright guys, I have some sad news. This is the final picks column of the season, which means I am now off for the next seven months. Just kidding, that's not how things work. I'll still be writing over the next seven months but the picks won't be returning until September. If you can't wait that long, then I highly suggest you sign up for our NFL newsletter, which I'm in charge of for some reason. That comes to your email box every weekday and you can sign up by clicking here (Just look for the Pick Six newsletter).
If you sign up, I'll see you soon. If you don't sign up, I'll see you in September for Tom Brady's 51st NFL season. At least I think it's his 51st. I have no idea though, I've lost count.
Straight up in divisional round: 0-2
SU overall in playoffs: 5-7
Against the spread in divisional round: 0-2
ATS overall in playoffs: 3-8-1 (Yikes)
Final 2020 regular season record
Straight up: 170-84-1 (Ranked second overall at CBSSports.com)
Against the spread: 117-130-8 (Did not rank second overall)