This year’s Super Bowl matchup is one everyone wants to see. The longtime legend, Tom Brady will face off against the young phenom, Patrick Mahomes. With two of the NFL’s best quarterbacks on the biggest stage, it will be quite the contest. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense will have to continue their exceptional play against the Kansas City Chiefs’ high powered offense.
The Bucs defense has stepped up their play in the postseason, shutting down lethal offensive units. One specific part of their defense should be able to impact the Super Bowl immensely. That is because the Chiefs will be missing one of their most reliable and valuable players on offense.
Chiefs LT Eric Fisher won’t play in the Super Bowl
The Chiefs will have to worry about who will protect Mahomes’ blindside for the big game. Their starting left tackle, Eric Fisher, isn’t playing for the Chiefs in the Super Bowl because he tore his right Achilles. He suffered the injury during the AFC Championship game against the Bills. This is a massive blow to the Chiefs, who are already thin at O-Line.
Now that Fisher is out, Kansas City won’t have either of the starting tackles in two weeks for the Super Bowl. Their right tackle, Mitchell Schwartz, has been out since Week 6 with a back injury. Mike Remmers replaced Fisher at left tackle when he left the game injured. It is expected that Remmers will get the start at LT for the Super Bowl. Nevertheless, losing an anchor on the line like Fisher will make things harder for the Chiefs.
Even though their situation at O-line looks dire, head coach Andy Reid is confident in whoever he puts out there for Super Bowl Sunday.
“They’re talented guys. In some cases, we’ve had some young guys step in and … we’ve had some older guys step in. That combination has been able to get us through some games here. Most of all, I think the quarterback trusts them, as do the running backs,” said Reid per ESPN.
Tampa Bay’s defense is getting after the quarterback
When it comes to getting after the quarterback, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are among the best teams at doing that. They have talented edge rushers in Jason Pierre-Paul and Shaquil Barrett, who put constant pressure on the quarterback. The two had a combined 17.5 sacks during the regular season. The Bucs as a team ranked fourth in the NFL with 48 sacks, per Covers.com.
In their three playoff games, Tampa Bay has been able to get to the quarterback. They have seven sacks in their three playoff games. They got five out of their seven against the Green Bay Packers. Barrett and Pierre had two sacks each in the NFC championship game. They are peaking at the right time, bringing the heat against opposing quarterbacks.
The pass rush the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ defense is generating is helping out the secondary also. Tampa Bay has five interceptions during the playoffs, tied with the Cleveland Browns for most in the postseason. The Buccaneers’ defense has led them to the Super Bowl, no matter how much credit Tom Brady and the offense get.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers can take advantage of the Chiefs’ O-line
Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs should be concerned about their O-line going into this game. Being without their two starting tackles isn’t a recipe for success in the Super Bowl. With the makeshift line Andy Reid will have out there, the Bucs have to be licking their chops.
Both Barrett and Pierre-Paul should be excited about their matchups on the edge. Remmers has been at the guard spot most of the season, so he will need to adjust to tackle. Using outside rush moves should work for either pass rusher. Remmers won’t be able to keep up with their speed and quickness. The Bucs also have Vita Vea, who returned in the championship game, giving them another weapon in the pass rush.
The lack of O-line depth could end up hurting the Chiefs in this game. They might have to commit more players to stay in to assist in blocking the Bucs front. It takes those players away from the passing game, but it allows Mahomes more time to throw. They will have to attack this Bucs defense and be smart about protecting Mahomes with offensive line injuries.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers can use the Chiefs’ injuries on the offensive line to their advantage. With replacements coming, Tampa’s defense should be ready to bring their best pass rush moves to the table. If they can abuse the reserve tackles on each edge, it could wind up being the difference-maker in Super Bowl 55.