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Chiefs vs. Buccaneers staff picks: Who will win Super Bowl 2021?

The Baltimore Sun sports staff makes its predictions for Super Bowl LV on Sunday between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

C.J. Doon, editor

Chiefs 31, Buccaneers 30: It’s easy to see why the Chiefs are favored. They have the league’s best quarterback, an unstoppable offense and the swagger of a defending champion. But Tampa Bay’s defense is capable of slowing down quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Co., especially if the Chiefs’ backup offensive tackles can’t hold up against Shaquil Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul. Not to mention, the Bucs have a fearless attitude that comes with having Tom Brady at quarterback. Brady, a bunch of playmakers on both sides of the ball and this Tampa Bay coaching staff is perhaps the best combination yet to stop these Chiefs, but as long as Mahomes is healthy, I’m siding with Kansas City in a big game.

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Daniel Oyefusi, reporter

Buccaneers 28, Chiefs 20: It’s always difficult to pick against Tom Brady in a big game, but the same can also be said for Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs, who with a second straight championship would validate talk of being the next NFL dynasty after the Brady-led Patriots. In the teams’ November meeting, a 27-24 Kansas City win, the Chiefs raced out to a 17-0 lead in the first quarter, but the Buccaneers outscored them 24-10 the rest of the game. I take more from the adjustments made in the final three quarters than the initial one. Throw in Kansas City’s injury situation on the offensive line and an extra week of preparation for Brady, and I think Tampa Bay’s magical season ends with a win on their home field.

Mike Preston, columnist

Chiefs 30, Buccaneers 24: Tampa Bay has had an impressive run through the postseason and the Bucs will present Kansas City with a tough challenge, but the Chiefs have too much creativity on offense and they also have the NFL’s most dominant offensive player, quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

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Jonas Shaffer, reporter

Chiefs 35, Buccaneers 30: It’s tempting to pick the team with Tom Brady because, well, he’s Tom Brady. It’s also tempting to pick against the team taking on a scary Buccaneers defensive front without its starting tackles. But Patrick Mahomes has ascended to a plane where triumph feels inevitable. Kansas City won’t run unless it has to, and why would Andy Reid even bother? Kansas City’s receivers have a clear advantage over Tampa Bay’s secondary.

Childs Walker, reporter

Chiefs 33, Buccaneers 27: The Bucs are better rounded, but they won’t have as much success pressuring Patrick Mahomes as they did Aaron Rodgers in the NFC title game. We’ve seen the impossibility of containing Mahomes, Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill for 60 minutes. That elite skill talent, aided by Andy Reid and Eric Bieniemy’s creative game planning, will be the difference.

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