The matchup for Super Bowl 55 is set. The Kansas City Chiefs will take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Tampa Bay. This is the first time in NFL history that a team in the Super Bowl will play within their own stadium. Check out the NFL Super Bowl preview and the conference playoff recap below.
Green Bay Packers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Aaron Rodgers vs. Tom Brady. A matchup between two of the better quarterbacks in NFL history. This is Brady’s first year in the NFC and Rodgers’s 15th year.
Back-and-forth scoring between both teams was the theme of the first half. No surprise from the Green Bay Packers, they are the highest-scoring offense in the NFL this season averaging 31.5 points per game.
To cap off the first half, however, head coach Bruce Arians made a bold call by forcing his offense onto the field on 4th and short with just a few seconds on the clock. Green Bay Packers’ cornerback Kevin King slipped up for the second time in the game, letting up a 39-yard touchdown to Scotty Miller.
The Packers did not back down. In the third quarter, the Packers’ offense scored two more touchdowns. After a Tampa Bay touchdown to start the half, Robert Tonyan and Davante Adams both scored touchdowns to bring the game within one score.
Coach Matt Lafleur then made a fatal mistake at the end of the fourth quarter. He refused to go for it on 4th and goal and sent Mason Crosby on the field to kick a 26-yard field goal. Once Tom Brady had the ball back in his hands, he did not give it up. The Bucs burned the 2:05 left on the clock in seven plays to secure themselves a Super Bowl berth.
Tom Brady, in his first year in the NFC, has the same amount of NFC championships as Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees. Ironically, those were the two quarterbacks he beat to get there. See you in Tompa Bay for Tom’s 10th career Super Bowl.
“It wasn’t my decision”Aaron Rodgers in post-game interview
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Buffalo Bills
After Chiefs fans nervously awaited the status of their star quarterback’s health, they got their answer on Wednesday, January 20th. Patrick Mahomes was cleared from concussion protocol after going down hard against the Cleveland Browns two weekends ago.
Mahomes did not disappoint. He put up 325 yards, three touchdowns, and zero interceptions for a 127.6 passer rating against the Bills’ tough secondary.
The Bills got off to an excellent start in the game. After a field goal to start the game, Mecole Hardman muffed a fumble near the goal-line for the Chiefs. This set up a three-yard pass from Josh Allen to Dawson Knox.
The Chiefs struck back hard. They put up three unanswered touchdowns in the second quarter. Mecole Hardman immediately made up his mistake with a three-yard touchdown to begin the quarter. Darrel Williams and Clyde-Edwards Helaire both ran for touchdowns.
The Chiefs coasted in their win from that point on. The Chiefs went for 439 yards on offense on just nine total drives. They went ⅚ in the Red Zone and put up 38 points on the Bills. Mahomes and the Chiefs will have a chance to repeat as Super Bowl champions in two weeks.
The Super Bowl Preview
The Kansas City Chiefs are back in the Super Bowl. Patrick Mahomes has had a standout year with the Chiefs. He is third in yards, touchdowns, and passer rating this season. But, Tom Brady was better than him in all of those categories this season except for passer rating.
Both teams have many weapons in their receiving core. The Chiefs have two receivers, Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill, that ranked in the top three for receptions and receiving yards. But, the Bucs have a deeper receiving core of Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown, Scotty Miller, and Rob Gronkowski.
The Buccaneers have the best rushing defense in the league this season. They have allowed the least amount of rushing yards per game and lowest rushing yards per attempt this season to their opponents. This will prove worrisome for the short-sided running back core of the Chiefs.
The Bucs have proven to have one of the best pass rushes in the NFL. They produced the fifth-most sacks this season with the seventh-best sack rate. They pressured Aaron Rodgers last week more than he ever has been this season.
The Chiefs also possess one of the best defenses in the NFL this season. They have allowed just 22.4 points per game this season, which ranks 10th in the NFL. They prove to be stronger in the passing game too, allowing the fourth-lowest completion percentage to opponents this season. This will prove helpful against one of the best quarterbacks of all time.