The Chiefs’ defensive backs will be tested against a deep and talented Tampa Bay receiving core.
When it comes to talent at wide receiver, the Chiefs and Buccaneers have both been dealt and acquired some of the most gifted receivers in the game today.
To add spice to the mix, the Chiefs secondary will be going against quarterback Tom Brady. The man who has won six Super Bowls and this will be his tenth appearance in the big game.
Limiting Brady and their weapons must be an all-defense assignment. But to ensure a second-straight Super Bowl victory, the Chiefs will have limit their weapons and win their matchups.
Bashaud Breeland vs. Mike Evans
Headlining for the Buccaneers is wide receiver Mike Evans, who barely grazed over the thousand yards mark with 1,006 receiving yards. Evans with 13 touchdowns showed to be their No. 1 scoring threat as well.
After serving a four-game suspension to start the season, Breeland has stayed grounded and been a nice piece for the secondary. Since Evans lines up out wide, Breeland will likely see a significant amount of snaps against him.
This matchup is an important one, in their Week 12 matchup, Evans totaled just 50 receiving yards on three catches. But he was able to score two touchdowns on those three receptions, according to Pro Football Reference.
The Chiefs will need to limit Evans’ playmaking ability and force Brady to put the ball in the hands of less-lethal players.
L’Jarius Sneed vs. Chris Godwin
As the second receiving option, wide receiver Chris Godwin hauled in 840 receiving yards with seven touchdowns. With just 12 games played, those numbers could have been much higher for the 24-year-old receiver.
Another young prospect in this game is rookie cornerback L’Jarius Sneed. Who also had to sit out time to rest a broken collarbone early in the regular season.
Despite only playing in nine games, Sneed had three interceptions, eight passes defended and two sacks. The blitz packages and disguised coverages could be key to their matchup against Brady.
Godwin and Sneed are two young up-and-coming talents that will be one of the most intriguing matchups to watch on Super Bowl Sunday.
Chauvarius Ward vs. Antonio Brown
After all the legal and personal trouble, wide receiver Antonio Brown could change all his misfortune and bad decisions with a great performance on Sunday.
Brown will finally play in the Super Bowl after years of competitiveness with the Pittsburgh Steelers. But is that even the same player from a couple years ago?
One could argue yes, despite starting his season in Week 9, Brown reached the end zone four times and almost reached 500 receiving yards. With all the talent and lack of playing time, he showed flashes of his old self this season.
In their Week 12 win, the Chiefs silenced Brown. limiting him to just two catches on 11 yards. I could see the Chiefs putting cornerback Chauvarius Ward on him, a now seasoned veteran who has appeared in all three AFC Championship runs since 2018.
Limiting a big time playmaker as talented as Brown is crucial. One could argue he is the most accomplished wide receiver on the roster, which could lead to a major shootout if not limited by Ward and company.
X-Factors for both teams
For the Chiefs, safeties Juan Thornhill and Tyrann Mathieu may look to utilize disguised coverages to throw off Brady and their explosive offense. Assisting their corners may be essential to completing the Run it Back tour.
Another safety to look out for is Daniel Sorensen, who has proven times after time to have the ability to make big-time plays in the postseason.
For the Buccaneers, tight end Rob Gronkowski returned from retirement to play a significant role in Tampa Bay. Expect the Chiefs to potentially use linebacker Anthony Hitchens, with the safeties to match up with Gronkowski and try to contain him.