NFL 2020-21: Super Bowl Predictions
(originally written 1/25/21)
So it'll be yet another Tom Brady Super Bowl, number 10 for those of you tracking at home.
This time, the Tampa Bay QB is going up against the guy we're most likely to be Brady 15 years from now—as in, the guy we're sick of seeing in the big game all the time—QB Patrick Mahomes II of Kansas City. Brady, of course, knocked Mahomes out of the playoffs two seasons ago when both were in the AFC with a little help from Chiefs LB Dee Ford.
(Forgive that unnecessary shot at Ford...I'm a 49ers fan who's not too thrilled with Ford's contributions, or lack thereof, to my team.)
I originally planned to post here on TSR a number of predictions for this week's pair of Conference Championship games, but ultimately decided not to since so many of my recent predictions have turned out to be grossly off-target.
Case in point: during my 2020 Fantasy Draft, when Brady was selected in the 2nd round, I scoffed at the choice, confident beyond reason that both Brady and old/new teammate Rob Gronkowski would be injured by Week 4 and if they returned during the season, it would be to something like a 3-9 team.
There were a couple other blown guarantees, which I won't delve into; just know I was feeling it after accurately predicting the 2019 49ers would land in the Super Bowl from Week 2 on. In the end, 2020 was humbling proof that "prophet" should not be listed among my skillz.
Looking back, I saved plenty face by not publicly sharing in advance my belief that Green Bay would handle the Bucs 42-20. Sometimes, I blur the line between my wishes and my predictions, and this was one of them.
Yeah, I just about seized up from the excitement of my 2019 49ers destroying Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay twice, but that wasn't due to any animosity toward that team. Brady's already been in 100 Super Bowls so the football fan in me was pulling for Rodgers to return to the big stage and get (insert loudmouth) off his back.
I also goofed by putting my eggs in the basket of Bills QB Josh Allen. You see, two years ago I bet against Allen and it cost my buddy Ryan $500; he'd sought my advice on who to start in his Fantasy league and I did not like young Allen's chances against New England's defense.
Trusting my judgment turned out to be a pricey mistake for Ryan that week, and I've never underestimated Allen—my 2020 Fantasy Football starting QB—since. Which is why I had his Buffalo Bills upsetting the Chiefs 27-26.
Bucs TE Rob Gronkowski caught just one ball in the NFC Championship Game...but it went for 29 yards in the 4th quarter.
Now, Allen wasn't terrible against the Chiefs, but he wasn't as good as I'd predicted, either. Plus, he (like several other Bills) lost his composure as the Chiefs' two-score victory neared official status.
Certainly, I did not see Bills WR Stefon Diggs being held to 77 scoreless yards. (But I DID guarantee his teammate Cole Beasley would not get shut out in the reception column for a second straight game; Beasley caught seven balls vs. KC.)
It'll be tough for me to get up for Super Bowl 55, since neither team is the 49ers and neither team is working on a decades-old championship drought. Plus, Leonard Fournette and Antonio Brown of Tampa Bay, along with Tyreke Hill and LeVeon Bell of Kansas City, are not among my favorite NFL personnel. But let's face it, I'll still watch.
And what I'll watch is Kansas City holding the Bucs receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin to 10 total catches for 150 total yards and one touchdown, and forcing Brady to throw 45 times (completing 27) in a 38-24 Chiefs victory. Mahomes will have no fewer than one highlight for the ages, similar to his 3rd-down throw to Hill in SB 54 but to Hill or TE Travis Kelce this time, as he racks up nearly 350 yards passing.
I'm fully aware Tampa has a Top 8 defense that's allowing just 23 PPG in the playoffs, but this is the reigning Super Bowl MVP showing the world he's no one-hit wonder. (Check back in two weeks to see if I should or shouldn't quit my day job.)