The Kansas City blitzes If the first game is proof of anything, Spagnuolo won't hesitate to blitz. The Chiefs blitzed on 47.6% of their dropbacks in the regular-season matchup between these two teams. That was the second-highest rate the Bucs saw in a game this season and the fourth-highest blitz rate employed by the Chiefs in any of their regular-season contests. Kansas City sacked Brady only once, but it was able to influence incompletions with pressure. It also forced a Brady interception with a seven-man blitz: I think Spagnuolo's defense is going to ask Brady to make these throws -- long, deep, and down the sideline -- against pressure. In the NFC title game, we saw the difference pressure makes when Brady attempts these passes. At the end of the second quarter, without any pressure, he fired a perfect pass more than 54 yards in the air down the left sideline to Miller for a critical touchdown. Then, in the fourth quarter, instant pressure after a blown blocking assignment from Leonard Fournette led Brady to toss up a prayer to Evans, who never turned around for the ball. Packers corner Jaire Alexander came away with an easy interception. Spagnuolo will use all kinds of blitzes to create pressure from unexpected places, and as the game wears on and the Chiefs get a lead, he'll get more aggressive. The Chiefs most frequently used overloaded zone blitzes to try to overwhelm one side of the line while dropping someone from the opposite side into coverage. They also tried to just overwhelm Tampa's protections with sheer volume, sending six- and seven-man pressures while playing Cover 1 and even occasionally Cover Zero. Playing without any deep safeties against the Chiefs would be extremely dangerous. It's risky against the Buccaneers too, but Spagnuolo trusts his cornerbacks to hold up in coverage against Tampa's receivers. Of course, Brady has seen a few blitzes in his day, and he knows where to go with the football when the opportunity arises. Here, the Chiefs send a five-man pressure to try to overload the weak side of the protection. They play Cover 2 behind and drop defensive end Alex Okafor (57) off of the line of scrimmage to serve as the hook defender. Rob Gronkowski (87) runs a classic Cover 2 beater with a seam route, and there's no way Okafor is going to be able to run with the legendary tight end. Brady is under pressure quickly, but he has an easy target available and hits Gronk for a 29-yard completion. How Brady will fight back Brady, Arians and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich will have more than one solution for the Chiefs' defense. One thing we've seen the Bucs do as this season has progressed, per ESPN's Seth Walder, is run more crossing routes. The Patriots ran plenty of crossers in years past, and while Arians prefers vertical routes, the crossers help make life easier for Brady and create opportunities for yards after the catch. If the Chiefs want to play man or Cover 1 behind those blitzes, crossers will help create picks and get Antonio Brown and others to the sideline with an opportunity to break a tackle for big gains. While it wasn't on a crossing route, Ronald Jones scored a 37-yard touchdown on a checkdown against the Chiefs in Week 12 after making Damien Wilson miss and jumping over a tackle attempt from Daniel Sorensen. Brady will take easy completions to his backs and tight ends and challenge those guys to tackle in the open field. Speaking of his tight ends, I wonder whether Arians will try to use more two-tight-end groups to try to get the Chiefs into their base defense while masking his intentions. The Bucs were generally an 11 personnel team, using one running back, one tight end and three wideouts 56.2% of the time. They used 12 personnel (one back, two tight ends) 20.4% of the time, but by NFL Next Gen Stats' definition of success, they were more effective on offense working out of 12 personnel (54% success rate) than they were in their base 11 personnel (49%). They've repeated both those general usage rates and success rates in the postseason. The Chiefs went back and forth in dealing with 12 personnel, playing their base defense just under 42%, their nickel package just over 47% of the time and their dime package for the remaining 16 snaps. They were much better defending 12 personnel out of nickel than they were out of base, allowing a 36% success rate with five defensive backs on the field to a 48% success rate with four defensive backs. They've faced only six snaps of 12 personnel in the postseason and matched up with their base defense all six times. My first guess is that they would keep that up in the Super Bowl, in part because Gronkowski is such a devastating blocker. Arians is relatively inflexible when it comes to week-to-week game plans, so the Bucs might just do whatever they typically do and dare the Chiefs to stop them. One other thing the Bucs might do is something I haven't discussed much in this piece: run the football. The Chiefs rank 31st in rush defense DVOA and have been the worst team in the league at stopping opposing rushing attacks in power situations, like third- or fourth-and-short. Ke'Shawn Vaughn's fumble against Washington was similarly damaging. It has become clear that Tampa is better off using Fournette as its primary back; in addition to having better hands than Jones, Fournette has averaged right around 0 EPA to Jones's minus-0.21 EPA per rush. Then again, when your optimal choice isn't adding any expected points, maybe you're better off just throwing the football anyway. No risk it, no biscuit? The decision-making of the two coaches made a huge difference in Super Bowl LIV. 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan dialed things down before halftime and kicked a field goal on fourth-and-short, while Reid initially sent out his punt team before a fourth-and-short in the first quarter before changing his mind. He sent out his offense instead, with the Chiefs converting on fourth down and scoring a touchdown two plays later. By all accounts, we can expect Reid to stay aggressive with his dominant offense. The Chiefs famously went for it on fourth-and-1 in the divisional round, with Chad Henne hitting Hill for a short completion to end the win over the Browns. Reid's Chiefs also picked up a fourth-and-1 against the Bills in the first half last week, extending a drive that eventually produced a touchdown. The future Hall of Famer was a liability on fourth downs and late in games for a long time, but Reid appears to have turned a corner after getting Mahomes. Bucs coach Bruce Arians, on the other hand, might have had his own moment last week. Facing a fourth-and-4 from the Green Bay 45-yard line with 13 seconds left to go in the first half, it seemed likely that he would punt and push the game to halftime. Instead, just like Reid the prior year, he sent out his punting unit and then changed his mind. Arians called timeout, with Brady converting to Fournette to move the chains. On the next play, Brady threw deep and hit Scotty Miller for a 39-yard touchdown. Those seven points came in handy in a game the Bucs won by five. Overall, though, Arians has a mixed record. He's known for famously espousing a "No risk it, no biscuit" philosophy, but that was hardly borne out by his decision-making. He will certainly get aggressive in situations where teams are expecting him to run, to the extent that you can call out his decisions to throw the football in advance. In terms of his fourth-down decision-making, though, he is wildly inconsistent. Against the Saints, for example, he went for it on fourth-and-1 from his own 34-yard line with a Brady sneak. Great. Later on that drive, with Tampa facing a fourth-and-1 from the New Orleans 8-yard line, Arians ... called for his team to kick a field goal. In December, with an untimed down before halftime and the ball on the 1-yard line, Arians chose to kick a 19-yard field goal instead of attempting to score. You could argue that Arians might have been trying to keep Brady fresh for the postseason, but the legendary QB sneaker plunged six times during the regular season and twice more during the playoffs. In a single game, this might not matter. Heading into last year's Super Bowl, though, Shanahan had made some curious fourth-down calls, only for those decisions to fly under the radar because his team was winning. Against the Chiefs, they mattered more. Neither of these coaches is Bill Belichick or John Harbaugh when it comes to fourth-down decisions, but I have more faith in Reid to make the right call. Which team has the special-teams advantage? In just about every season before 2020, comparing the Chiefs and Buccaneers would have revealed a huge mismatch with special teams. Under Dave Toub's stewardship, the Chiefs have consistently enjoyed some of the best special-teams work in football. The Bucs ... not so much. Licht has wandered through the kicking wilderness for the entirety of his run in Tampa, cycling through everybody from Kyle Brindza to Matt Gay to second-round pick Roberto Aguayo. This season, though, the gap isn't quite as significant. Tampa's special teams are still bad, finishing 26th in the league, but the Chiefs fell all the way from second in Football Outsiders' special-teams statistics a year ago to 17th. They were great on kickoff returns, but they were well below average on kickoffs and one of the league's worst teams at returning punts. Kansas City kicker Harrison Butker was solid for most of the regular season, but he missed an extra point and a 33-yard field goal attempt in the win over the Browns in the divisional round. There were anxious Chiefs fans when Butker lined up in the AFC Championship Game, but he went 6-for-6 on his kicks there. The two failures against the Browns are the only kicks he has missed during the second half of the season. I'm not overly concerned about him heading into the Super Bowl. Ryan Succop missed an extra point on a sloppy field in Washington but has otherwise been perfect this postseason, going 8-for-9 on extra points and 8-for-8 on field goals. He was just below league average during the regular season. The Bucs were below average or worse across the board, including subpar marks on punts (25th in the league) and kickoffs (26th). Hardman is a threat to break a big kick return in this game. The pick It wouldn't shock me if the Bucs won Sunday. They're stronger on both sides of the line of scrimmage than the Chiefs, whose tackles are the most obvious weak point for either team at any position. Brady and one of the best offenses in league history famously lost against the Giants in Super Bowl XLII because they weren't able to block four-man rushes all night. There's a chance that the Chiefs won't be able to hold off the Buccaneers' rush, and if Tampa can get pressure without needing to blitz, it can play safe coverage and take away most of the big plays that destroyed the Bucs during the regular season. Last year, though, the Chiefs were facing a team with an even better front four and a dominant running game. I picked the 49ers because they could control the line of scrimmage, and for three quarters, I felt very smart. In the fourth quarter ... I did not. The pass rush tired, Mahomes took over and Jimmy Garoppolo wasn't able to keep up. Andy Reid outcoached the guy on the other sideline, and the Chiefs won. The prediction is the least interesting and meaningful part of these sorts of previews, but like everybody else, I'd like to be right. To be right, I had to spend the entire Super Bowl LIV watching every single Chiefs snap counting on Mahomes to not do something magical. That was torturous. There's no fun in that, and I swore to myself that I wouldn't do it again if (or when) the Chiefs made it back to the Super Bowl. Well, here we are. Before the season began, I went on SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt and predicted that the Chiefs would beat the Buccaneers in the Super Bowl, 31-17. I think things will be a little closer than my preseason projection, but I'm not sitting through another Super Bowl expecting Mahomes to struggle. Brady getting back to a 10th Super Bowl is incredible, but this is Mahomes' era. Chiefs 31, Buccaneers 24.