Buc Up!…with Rob Kriete – FEBRUARY 3

Super Bowl at Raymond James Stadium

Wednesday, February 3, 2021; Fan events at Tampa Riverwalk / NFL Experience and Raymond James Stadium during Super Bowl 55 week (Steve Jacobson/ISM)

-The Buccaneers are ready for the franchise’s second trip to the Super Bowl this Sunday and the Pewter Pirates don’t even have to leave Tampa with the game being played at Raymond James Stadium. Due to the global pandemic, a muted Super Bowl build-up has probably benefited the Bucs as they were capable of preparing for the big game without the usual cacophony of craziness. Tampa Bay will have their last walk-through practice on Saturday to get ready for the 6:30 kickoff Sunday.

Fan Events at Tampa Bay Riverwalk

Friday, February 5, 2021; Fan events at Tampa Riverwalk / NFL Experience and Raymond James Stadium during Super Bowl 55 week (Steve Jacobson/ISM)

-Sunday’s game will mark the 14th time in Super Bowl history that features a rematch from the regular season. In Week 12, the Chiefs beat the Buccaneers 27-24, which is notable because the team that won the regular-season game has gone 6-7 in the Super Bowl rematch. Also, no AFC team has ever beaten an NFC team twice in one season.

Tampa Bay - host of 2020 Super Bowl

Friday, February 5, 2021; Fan events at Tampa Riverwalk / NFL Experience and Raymond James Stadium during Super Bowl 55 week (Steve Jacobson/ISM)

Tom Brady

-Catching up with Tom Brady through Zoom this week, he was discussing preparing for yet another Super Bowl: “It’s a slow build, I think for this game. It’s two weeks of prep. You feel like the physical stuff is pretty much done at this point. At this point, it’s just going through in your head different situations, scenarios, all your different calls that you have, just thinking about how they’re going to play us. Again, I think that’s where the mental prep [comes in]; you really can’t leave any stone unturned at this point. We’ve got Friday, Saturday, Sunday, just over three days left in the season. Seventy-two hours-plus and we’ve got to use it all and use it to the maximum. This is a game that’s really going to challenge us. This team is a really tough team to beat. They haven’t been beaten in a long time. They’ve got a great offense, a great defense, really well-coached, very good on special teams. Just try to chill on Sunday. Get your body mentally, physically in a good place to go out there and compete and get ready for a great game. It’s a long game; it’s a hard game. It’s a long day, but you’ve got to be ready when the ball is kicked off, and we’re going to be challenged. They’re going to challenge us, and we’ve got to go answer the challenge.”

The Original Tampa Cuban Sandwich

-The original Tampa Cuban Sandwich is the best take on the classic ham and cheese sandwich. I will be enjoying one during the game.

Super Bowl LV

-Limiting the damage that Mahomes can inflict throwing deep will be of paramount importance to the Buccaneers’ ability to win. Happily, Safeties Antoine Winfield, Jr. and Jordan Whitehead practiced this week and will play Sunday. Both were integral in helping with covering Tyreek Hill after the Tampa Bay corners were scorched early playing man-to-man coverage in their regular-season matchup.

-Other than Cameron Brate being held out of practice making him questionable for the game, the Buccaneers will be at full-strength for Super Bowl 55. Antonio Brown will be back for the Super Bowl as well.

Antoine Winfield Jr.

-Antoine Winfield, Jr. and Devin White will be the defensive keys for Tampa Bay on Sunday. Mark it.

Kansas City QB Patrick Mahomes

-Kansas City QB Patrick Mahomes on what he needs to do Sunday: “I think the biggest thing is going to be me just getting the ball out of my hands, getting it to the playmakers that I have around me. They have a really good defense, really good defensive line, linebackers, defensive backs, kind of the whole deal. For me, just trying to make positive plays and not making negative ones, relying on the guys around me to make plays whenever the critical times arise.”

-Super Bowl 55. Tampa Bay Hall-of-Famer, Derrick Brooks, my favorite Buccaneer, was #55. Coincidence? Yep. Mean anything? Nope. Like it? Absolutely! Go Bucs!

-Most experts believe this Super Bowl has the makings of a classic, and virtually all are predicting a very tight game. With a damp weekend in Tampa Bay, the weather could play a factor.

Football coached at Super Bowl LV 2021

Friday, February 5, 2021; Fan events at Tampa Riverwalk / NFL Experience and Raymond James Stadium during Super Bowl 55 week (Steve Jacobson/ISM)

-Leo “the Bulldog” Haggerty, ItsSportsMagazine.com’s inimitable chief shares his prediction: “My call for the game will strictly depend on Mother Nature but both prognostications lean toward a close game. If it’s raining, I pick the Chiefs 27-24 with a late score to seal the deal. On a wet field where footing is questionable, the receivers know where they’re going, and speed is multiplied. Advantage Tyreek Hill and Kansas City. If it’s a dry day, I’m picking the Bucs in a high scoring affair. Look for THE GOAT to matriculate down the field for a last-second Ryan Succop 41 yard field goal to give Tampa Bay a 37-35 victory.”

Kansas City Chiefs vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers billboard

Friday, February 5, 2021; Fan events at Tampa Riverwalk / NFL Experience and Raymond James Stadium during Super Bowl 55 week (Steve Jacobson/ISM)

-I spoke with NFL pundit/fantasy-football-guru Charlie Blitz about Super Bowl 55: “It’s going to be a high scoring game defined by big plays. Both defenses will start strong but slowly diminish as the game progresses while the respective offenses settle in. Due to the anticipated weather conditions, I predict the Chiefs offense will start slowly then adjust later on. The second half will feature more highlight plays than the Chiefs provide on a week-to-week basis and is the main reason why I predict Kansas City comes out on top, 35 – 24.

Vince Lombardi Trophy - Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Fan events at Tampa Riverwalk / NFL Experience during Super Bowl 55 week (Steve Jacobson/ISM)

-If the weather plays a factor, I believe it will only help the Buccaneers mitigate the deep ball that Mahomes throws with ease otherwise. Tampa Bay will need to pressure Mahomes to force earlier throws and keep the passes in front of them. This Buccaneer defense has played stronger every game since their last matchup with the Chiefs, and they will need to play their best game yet to take home the Lombardi trophy. The offense, led by a 43-year-old Tom Brady, who broke every important franchise quarterback record, will most likely need to score more than their average 30.7 points per game to secure the title. Super Bowl LV will be a high-scoring event, with the losing team scoring 30 or more points. Alas, I predict Tom Brady leads the Bucs offense to a 4th quarter win over the Chiefs, and we plan a boat parade for Riverwalk next week.

-Prediction: Bucs 35 – Chiefs 31

-Be safe, everyone. Go Bucs!

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