Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
February 26, 2021

Highlights and predictions for this weekend's Super Bowl

By ERIC LYNCH | February 5, 2021

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COURTESY OF ROSIE JANG

Super Bowl LV has the potential to be one of the greatest Super Bowls in recent memory.

The Super Bowl is the most watched event in America year after year, and there’s no reason to expect this year to be an exception. A great matchup, an exciting halftime performer and nothing better to do on a Sunday evening: These things are all a part of the formula that makes the Super Bowl so fun to watch. Let’s dive into my expectations for this weekend’s event.

The Matchup

Super Bowl LV will feature the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Chiefs are the defending champions, and the Buccaneers are led by the winningest quarterback in National Football League history, Tom Brady. These factors indicate the game will come down to the fourth quarter, as it will be hard for either team to build a commanding lead. Ultimately, what makes both teams so impressive are their rosters. Full of talented and experienced players, it is hard to predict who will shine the most.

The Players

As with most successful football teams, both the Chiefs and Buccaneers are built around star quarterbacks. The word “star” might be an understatement. As I said before, Brady is the Buccaneers quarterback and holds the record for most wins by any quarterback in history. He is a six-time Super Bowl champion, a four-time Super Bowl Most Valuable Player (MVP), a three-time regular season MVP and he boasts 14 Pro Bowl selections. Although I refuse to praise Brady, I will acknowledge that his professional career has been quite good. 

The main caveat for Buccaneers fans is Brady’s age. At 43 years old, Brady is at a point when nearly every athlete in history has declined significantly. Unfortunately for Brady haters, he had one of the best seasons of his career this year. Nevertheless, the Super Bowl is an entirely different beast than the regular season. Brady’s mindset and experience would indicate that he will have no problems, but surely, he can’t keep winning Super Bowls at this age, right?

Chiefs quarterback and reigning Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes will be attempting to cement his position as the face of the league by dethroning Brady. Although he is only 25, Mahomes has clearly shown his ability to win in the big moments. I expect Mahomes to put on a clinic and hopefully put the old man in his place. In last year’s Super Bowl, he threw two touchdowns for 286 yards with two interceptions. The Buccaneers’ defense is tough but watch for Mahomes to improve on his MVP performance after a year’s worth of preparation.

There are a few other players on the Buccaneers roster I would like to highlight. Linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul was the team’s only Pro Bowl selection. He is a significant part of the team’s defense, leading the team with 9.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and two interceptions. I predict he will finish the game with at least one or two of those measures. Linebacker Devin White and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh are also significant parts of the defense that might also be seen sacking Mahomes or breaking up important plays. 

For the Chiefs, Travis Kelce has stood out as the best tight end in the league by a decent margin. Kelce led the league in receptions per game among tight ends, and defenses are not used to playing teams that use their tight end so much. Wide receiver Tyreek Hill is an explosive player who completes the team’s range of offensive potential. And players like Tyrann Mathieu and Chris Jones create this same unpredictability on the defensive end. 

The Predictions

There are two major questions everyone is trying to answer this week: Who is going to win the Super Bowl and who will be the MVP of the game? I’ll start with my predicted winner.

This may be predictable due to my disaffection for Brady, but I predict the Chiefs to pull out the victory. I think the Chiefs are a more well-rounded team. Additionally, the Chiefs have an extremely unique mix of youth and experience. Meanwhile, the Buccaneers feature Brady, Rob Gronkowski and Antonio Brown as some of their key players. These players have been around for so long that the Chiefs should easily be able to figure out what works best against them. In the past, Brady has been able to put his team on his shoulders and carry them to victory. But this time, he’s up against an opponent who can do that just as well as he can. 

In some ways, the MVP award is very hard to predict, yet in other ways, it is incredibly difficult. The majority of the time, the MVP award simply goes to the quarterback of the winning team. Predicting Mahomes as the back-to-back MVP is an easy choice if you subscribe to that method of choice. Nevertheless, a fair share of wide receivers and linebackers have won the award as well. Desmond Howard, a punt returner, won the 1997 Super Bowl MVP. 

However, my choice for the MVP of this game is Travis Kelce. I know a tight end has never won the award before, but Kelce plays like a wide receiver sometimes anyway. I could easily see him catching a key touchdown or two and outshining Mahomes just enough to get the award. It’s a fringe pick, but it’s certainly possible. 

Whether it’s a small gathering with family or a virtual watch party with friends, get ready to grab your snacks and be entertained. This Super Bowl has the potential to be one of the best of all time, so make sure you’re a part of it. 

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