Now Reading
Forget About Brady and Mahomes: Why Super Bowl LV will be Won in the Trenches

Forget About Brady and Mahomes: Why Super Bowl LV will be Won in the Trenches

by Tanner KernFebruary 5, 2021

The main storyline heading into Sunday has been all about Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes. There’s no denying that both of these players will be critical for the success of their respective squads in Super Bowl LV.

However, the spotlight needs to be taken off these two Super Bowl MVP quarterbacks…

The game of football is won on the line of scrimmage. Growing up, I always heard the phrase, “It’s not about the X’s and the O’s. It’s ALL about the Jimmy’s and the Joe’s.” Obviously, strategy is necessary for success in the NFL, but FOOTBALL IS WON IN THE TRENCHES.

The winning team in Super Bowl LV is going to have the offensive and defensive line that enforces their will on the opposition for the majority of the game.

What offensive and defensive line is this going to control the trenches on Sunday? Let’s take a look.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Offensive Line vs Kansas City Chiefs Defensive Line

The Run Game 

The Tampa Bay offensive line had trouble in 2020 dominating their opponents in the run game. Offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich relied heavily on the pass game throughout the season, but Tampa Bay has shown signs of promise with Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones II.

For the Buccaneers offensive line to have ground success, center Ryan Jensen and guard Ali Marpet will need to be efficient working their combinations up to the second level. I imagine that the Buccaneers offensive line and the Chiefs defensive line will produce a lot of stalemates, but only time will tell.

The Chiefs can be exploited between the tackles. Derek Nnadi is the Chiefs most forceful presence up the middle. Chris Jones’ speed presents some issues, but Jensen, and Marpet are winning this battle in the run game if they get into his chest.

Aaron Stinnie could have some problems with Nnadi and Jones, but having Jensen lined up by his side has made him have an above average 2020 campaign. Jensen has not graded out well this year, but he is one of the nastiest offensive linemen in the NFL.

  • TRENCH WINNER: Buccaneers

The Pass Game

This is the matchup that every football fan is going to want to watch in Super Bowl LV. The Buccaneers have been sensational protecting Tom Brady this season. Although, the Chiefs have Chris Jones, who is the best pass rushing interior defensive lineman in the NFL.

Tom Brady has been under pressure 24% of the time this season which is 5th in the league. Tampa Bay’s offensive line has only allowed 22 sacks this season.

Jones has compiled seven sacks this season. Chiefs DE, Frank Clark, has racked up six sacks. I do not expect Clark to make too much noise against Tampa Bay. Buccaneers RT, Tristan Wirfs, is only a rookie, but he graded out at an 82.2 this season by Pro Football Focus.

I’m betting on Wirfs to contain Clark if the Chiefs line him up on the rookie.

Tampa Bay will need to know where Chris Jones is positioned all night. Chiefs’ Defensive Coordinator, Steve Spagnuolo, is going to throw exotic pressures at Tampa Bay, but this offensive line has proven that they can hold up against the best defenses in the NFL.

  • TRENCH WINNER: Buccaneers

Kansas City Chiefs Offensive Line vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defensive Line

The Run Game

Kansas City will not have Eric Fisher in their starting five on Super Bowl Sunday. Fisher injured his Achilles tendon in the AFC Championship Game. The Chiefs have Patrick Mahomes under center but losing Fisher will hurt their entire offense.

The Buccaneers only gave up 80.6 yards per game on the ground in the regular season. Buccaneers’ linebackers, Devin White and Lavonte David, fill gaps with a vengeance.

Ndamukong Suh has silently caused havoc all season. Suh has the potential to tear up Kansas City’s interior linemen like Nick Allegretti, Austin Reiter, and Andrew Wylie. These three are athletic, but Tampa Bay’s big men in the middle should neutralize Kansas City’s run game on Sunday.

When these two teams met in Week 12, Kansas City was limited to 87 yards on the ground. Clyde Edwards-Helaire was the team’s leading rusher with 37 yards.

  • TRENCH WINNER: Buccaneers

The Pass Game

The Chiefs lost Mitchell Schwartz in Week 6 of the regular season because of a back injury. He has not appeared in a game since this date and he will not play in the Super Bowl. Additionally, the team lost their other Pro Bowl tackle, Eric Fisher, in the AFC Championship Game.

The Chiefs have Patrick Mahomes, who is the best quarterback in the NFL. He is able to escape pressure with ease.

Nevertheless, he was under duress a lot in 2020. Mahomes was pressured on 64 occasions this season, but he was only sacked 24 times.

The Buccaneers will need to do a great job keeping Mahomes in the pocket. They will be able to pressure the reigning Super Bowl MVP, but Mahomes still has the ability to hurt them while scrambling.

I’m going to say that the Chiefs have the advantage in the passing game. The Buccaneers’ defensive front is better than the Chiefs’ offensive line without Eric Fisher.

This does not matter…

Patrick Mahomes makes the Chiefs’ offensive line elite.


Tampa Bay’s strength in the trenches will allow the franchise to win their first Super Bowl since 2002.

What's your reaction?
Love It
Hate It
About The Author
Tanner Kern
Tanner Kern is a former Division I football player at Lafayette College and a graduate of the University of Connecticut. He is a former writer for USA Wager and!