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Roundtable: Picks to win Super Bowl 55

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady sits at the podium and answers questions from the media ahead of Super Bowl 49 in Phoenix, Ariz., in February of 2014. "Tom Brady responds to reporters at Media Day" by WEBN-TV is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

One of the most exciting days in all of sports is finally here. This year's Super Bowl features two of the best quarterbacks in the league with a ton of implications on the line. Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady is one of four quarterbacks to start a Super Bowl game for multiple teams and is searching for his seventh Super Bowl ring. Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs are hoping to become the first team to win back-to-back championships since Brady and the New England Patriots back in 2004. 

The stage is set so here are our picks to win Super Bowl 55.  

Jacob Mennuti - Buccaneers win 28-24

This game screams picking the over but I’m actually coming in with a hot take and going with the under here. Super Bowls tend to have slow starts and the over is, as I’m currently writing this, 56 points which is pretty high. I’ve also learned to never bet against Tom Brady unless he’s facing the 2015 Denver Broncos. I’m taking the Bucs here because their defense has already proven several times how elite they can be, particularly the defensive line. Kansas City is riddled with injuries on its offensive line and I can already see Ndamukong Suh, Vita Vea and Jason Pierre-Paul tossing around the Chiefs’ backup o-linemen. As a Broncos fan, I really, really… really hope the Chiefs lose on Sunday and I actually think they will. Fingers crossed. Give me the Buccaneers to win the rematch game on the biggest stage of the year.  

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Ari Koslow - Chiefs win 34-23 

I am expecting a lot of action in this game in what should be a relatively high-scoring game despite some big playmakers on both defenses. There are some major injury issues on the offensive line for Kansas City, including left tackle Eric Fisher who was injured after tearing his Achilles in the fourth quarter of the AFC Championship against the Buffalo Bills when the game was practically out of reach. We have seen what Patrick Mahomes can do with his legs, so I still believe he'll be able to make his magic happen while scrambling, but that'll be the biggest key of the game for Tampa Bay is pressuring Mahomes early and often. They are going to need Vita Vea and Jason Pierre-Paul to make their presence known early.

The games are typically won in the trenches, and the Buccaneers have the more productive backfield led by Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones II. We saw what Damien Williams was able to do in the Super Bowl last year for the Chiefs though, so we'll see if anyone in the Chiefs backfield can repeat that Super Bowl magic this year.

I am expecting a tight game heading into the final quarter, but I ultimately have Kansas City pulling away late with a Travis Kelce touchdown to solidify the victory and back-to-back Super Bowl victories for Mahomes and the Chiefs. 

Seth Litwin - Buccaneers win 24-21

I picked against both these teams in their conference championship games and I wish I could have a mulligan on that. The injuries to the Chiefs' offensive line worry me especially against a Bucs' front seven that can rush the passer and shut down the run. While the Chiefs' defense does not get enough credit for how good they have been, Tom Brady and co. will be able to do just enough to win this game. Bold prediction Bucs' linebacker Devin White will make a play that gives the Bucs a win.  

Sean Fagan - Buccaneers win 28-24

I will never, ever, EVER bet against Tom Brady. I am still baffled that people do. If you want to set aside everything he did with New England, fine. In his first year with a new team, he took a dead franchise in Tampa Bay and turned them into NFC champs. He defeated a good Washington team, he outdueled one of the greatest quarterbacks ever in New Orleans and he embraced the frozen tundra of Green Bay and shut them down. In case you are wondering if I made a mistake by my repeated use of “he”, it is no mistake. Sure, the defense played great in the playoffs, but they played their hardest because Brady is their quarterback. He fights for his team harder than any quarterback, and in response, his team fights back for him. He gave them the fuel to make the playoffs, to win three games on the road and become NFC champs. On Sunday, he will give them the fuel to become Super Bowl champions. They don’t call him the G.O.A.T for nothing. 

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C.J. Lala - Buccaneers win 31-28

The defending champions Kansas City Chiefs will face off against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV. This year’s game will be hosted in Tampa, which will make this year the first time ever a team is playing the Super Bowl in their home stadium. These two teams did face each other in week 12 of the regular season, where the Chiefs won 27-24. In this game, the Buccaneers had no answer for Tyreek Hill as he had 13 catches for 269 yards and three touchdowns, it will be difficult for Hill to repeat his performance from last game. With this year being Tom Brady’s tenth career appearance in the Super Bowl, it makes it hard to bet against him. It is also difficult to beat the same team twice in the NFL let alone beating Tom Brady twice. I am picking the Buccaneers to win 31-28.

Jordan White - Chiefs win 35-24

There’s the old adage that says “defense wins championships.” But in the modern era of football, it does not. I predict that Kansas City will win because, in an offensive league, their offense is the best. They have a generational talent at the quarterback and tight end position with Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce, and they have countless other weapons like Tyreek Hill, Mecole Hardman and Clyde Edwards-Helaire. They also have one of the best minds in the league in head coach Andy Reid. 

If Kansas City’s offense is firing on all cylinders, it does not matter how well Tampa Bay plays. As good as their offense is with Tom Brady, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, etc., it simply is not enough. Also, breakout rookie safety Antoine Winfield Jr. and Antonio Brown are also expected to be limited due to recent injuries. Even though it’s very hard and usually unwise to bet against Brady, I think Kansas City will pull out the win. I predict a high-scoring game with the Chiefs winning by two scores.

Bryan Savic - Buccaneers win 34-28

There are a plethora of headlines going into Sunday's game. It pivots the greatest of all time against a player who could eventually become the latter after his career is all said and done. Tom Brady, without question, makes my Mount Rushmore of quarterbacks and will remain the G.O.A.T. regardless if he wins or loses on Sunday. Furthermore, I know it’s still early in his career and I don’t want to jump the gun, however, a win on Sunday would be a huge step forward in the G.O.A.T. conversation for Patrick Mahomes. Moreover, if the Chiefs are victorious, would that cement Mahomes and Reid as the new Belichick/Brady tandem? Winning would mean that the Chiefs become the first team to repeat as Super Bowl champions since the Patriots did it back in 2003 and 2004. In addition, they become the new dynasty of the NFL and a team that other teams will have to contend with for years to come.

The biggest question going into this game is if home-field advantage has any meaning in this game. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the first team in NFL history to be hosting a Super Bowl on their own turf. However, will home field be a factor at all against a team that welcomes a very explosive offense with speed that kills? The bigger question is: Can Tampa Bay’s defense keep up with all that speed? One way to mitigate this threat is to get to Mahomes with a consistent pass rush. Rattle him all game and force him to make bad decisions. They must do the same thing that they did to Aaron Rodgers in the NFC Championship game if they’re to have any chance in winning. In addition, they must establish the run game, control the clock and win the time of possession game. This way you keep Mahomes and that dangerous offense off the field as much as possible. I believe the Bucs will win their first Super Bowl since 2002 if they check the mark on all these things. Regardless of who takes the cake, it should be a Super Bowl for the ages, and it will go down as one of the greatest Super Bowls of all time.


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