Ahead of Super Bowl LV between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sportsnet writers will break down why each team can win the Lombardi Trophy on Sunday. First, we looked at the Buccaneers. Now, it's time to size up the Chiefs. You can’t talk about Super Bowl LV without a ton of GOAT references – it’s inevitable when we’re talk about the NFL’s Greatest Of All Time going for championship win No. 7 against the 25-year-old kid (we mean that in the baby-GOAT sense, of course) who’s looking for his second straight title. We know that GOAT conversation is locked up (for now), so if Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs are going to beat Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers this Sunday, it’s going to come down to this: A wolf, a giraffe, a cheetah and Honey Badger. Asked during Super Bowl media week what he’d like his spirit animal to be, Mahomes chose a wolf. "I would like to be a wolf, kind of run around with my pack and being able to be a leader, someone that continues to attack and continues to lead as much as possible," he said. Mahomes was then asked what animal would best serve as tight end Travis Kelce’s spirit animal. "It's got to be something funny … I think he'd be a giraffe. He's kind of just out there, grazing around the field, trying to make something happen,” said Mahomes. “He's always a good time." Patrick chooses a spirit animal for him and Travis Kelce @Bose pic.twitter.com/2nixQqdftr — Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) February 1, 2021 Wide receiver Tyreek Hill is the fastest man in the football kingdom with his cheetah-like speed (it's also his Twitter handle), and we all know the Honey Badger: safety Tyronn Mathieu plays as tenaciously now as he did back in college when he earned the nickname for his fearlessness on the field. So, what do you get when you pit a GOAT against these four? You get a Chiefs Super Bowl victory and the league’s first back-to-back champs since Brady and the New England Patriots last won two straight in 2003 and 2004. Patrick Mahomes Mahomes’ one and only post-season loss came in 2019, hand-delivered by Tom Brady himself on his way to winning the Super Bowl with the New England Patriots. Now equipped with a Super Bowl win of his own after winning last year’s championship, Mahomes looks poised to run it back and do something Brady never did: win back-to-back Super Bowl MVP awards. Mahomes enters Sunday’s showdown riding a personal 12-game win streak (including regular season and playoffs) and his numbers are otherworldly during that time span: 320.5 passing yards per game, a 29-5 touchdown-to-interception ratio, 32 passes of 25 yards or more and a quarterback rating of 110.1. Just when we think we have a grasp of how good he is, Mahomes goes and does something outrageous – a no-look pass, a flawless pumpfake, etc. – and makes it look effortless. Perhaps the biggest obstacle working against Mahomes is actually his own wolfpack (that’s what we’re gonna call the offensive line now). Pieced together through injuries and ailments all season, Mahomes’ ability to work his magic behind this group is a testament to his own ingenious and the offence around him, coached by Eric Bienemy. He’ll have his work cut out for him against a Buccaneers defence that has been dominant all season and even better in these playoffs. Tampa’s fearsome front four will be relentless, and Mahomes’ ability to thrive under pressure, as we’ve seen all season at the expense of anyone who dares try to blitz him, will be put to the ultimate test. Travis Kelce & Tyreek Hill Having one of Travis Kelce or Tyreek Hill would give any offence a massive advantage. Put ‘em together and have Mahomes throwing to them, and you’ve got an offensive trio that’s just downright unfair. Kelce is unguardable in the red zone and boasts the kind of speed, physicality and versatility that make him one of the best tight ends to have ever played. Hill, meanwhile, has some of the surest hands in the game and is simply impossible to keep up with. Hill’s 15 touchdown receptions this season were a career-best and ranked him second league-wide, and he’s coming off his best post-season showing yet – he tallied 172 yards through the air against Buffalo in the AFC Championship – and is just seven yards shy of setting a new franchise record for the most yards in a single post-season. And it just so happens that the finest game of Hill’s career came just a few months ago against the Buccaneers: his 269 receiving yards and three touchdowns against Tampa Bay back on Nov. 29 could be a sign of what’s to come this Sunday. Kelce, meanwhile, is also playing some of his best football right now. He’s riding a six-game touchdown streak and finished the 2020 regular season second in receiving yards (1,416) behind just Stefon Diggs (1,535). These two are gonna be a problem in Tampa Bay. Tyrann Mathieu Between their defensive line and a pair of linebackers who have wreaked havoc on some of the league’s best this year, it’s clear that Tampa Bay holds the advantage when it comes to defence in this matchup. But Kansas City holds the wild card in Tyrann Mathieu – the star safety who’s about as versatile as they come. His six interceptions in the regular season (including one against Brady in that November matchup in Tampa) ranked him third league-wide in the category, and his ability to lock down opponents is simply special – just ask the Buccaneers. This matchup is extra significant for Mathieu, who was drafted by Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians in Arizona back in 2013. During a media availability this week, Arians called Mathieu his "favourite draft choice of all time.” “I just love him, his passion for football, but I am so proud of the man he's become," Arians said.
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