Prior to the start of the 2020-21 NFL season, pundits had their eyes on the Chiefs to find their way back to the Championship match. However, opinions diverged when it came to who would be facing the Chiefs.
Many had their eyes on the Packers, others on the Ravens or the Bills. The pre-season is a popular time for punters to wager on which team will take next year’s Lombardi, but few were backing the Buccaneers in the 2020 offseason.
Despite having powerhouse talents in the Brady-Gronk duo, as well as Lavonte David, Shaq Barrett, Ali Marpet, and Devin White, pundits doubted the Buccs’ ability to push through the playoffs. Unfortunately, an unexpected Super Bowl face-off between the Chiefs and the Buccs turned into a surprisingly dull championship match.
The Buccs took an early lead, and the Chiefs couldn’t come back. Even worse for the Midwestern squad, the Chiefs had a looming disaster to deal with at home after assistant coach, Britt Reid, was involved in a near-fatal accident only days before Sunday Funday.
Months later and well into the NFL’s offseason, pundits and fans have turned their attention back to the league. Sites that aggregate odds from various sportsbooks already have odds for futures markets on divisions, conferences, and the Super Bowl. Those who prefer to focus on the regular season have access to NFL betting odds for September’s start of play.
Though many will wait to see how teams advance past Week 1 of play before placing their wagers, seasoned punters often take advantage of futures bets—both approaches have turned their attention back to the Chiefs and Buccs.
Chiefs Bolster Their Offense
The Chiefs had plenty of work to do on their offensive line following their inability to batter through the Buccs’ defense in the Super Bowl. Despite fighting the odds to appear in a third consecutive Super Bowl appearance, pundits point to the string of players the team has acquired in the offseason—and who they released.
The Chiefs let go Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz in a trade-up for tackle Orlando Brown. They added others, like guards Joe Thuney and Kyle Long, along with center Austin Blythe. Additionally, Laurent Duvernay-Tardiff is expected to return after being out on injury.
In the Draft, the Chiefs made a few key selections in center Creed Humphrey and guard Trey Smith. With depth added to the offense, the Chiefs then turned their focus to defense. They drafted linebacker Nick Bolton and signed tackle Jarran Reed.
Though pundits are speculating on how Andy Reid’s additions will affect the team’s chances at another Super Bowl run, it pays not to underestimate the reputation and stats behind their leading star: Patrick Mahomes.
Despite the team’s inability to capitalize during Super Bowl, Mahomes led the league’s offense with 38 touchdowns and 4,740 yards passed. When analyzing the upcoming season, Mahomes will be a focal point of all breakdowns—and he’ll need to start the season strong.
Five of the Chief’s first seven opponents in the 2021-22 season were playoff contenders last year.
Buccs Will ‘Go For Two’
Unlike the Chiefs, the Buccs didn’t head into the postseason looking to shop around for free agents. Instead, head coach Bruce Arians sought to re-sign existing stars in Shaq Barrett and Lavonte David. Together, they form one of the most formidable linebacker formations in the league.
In the draft, Arians continued in his efforts to build an unstoppable linebacker scheme, bringing on offensive LB Joe Tryon and LB KJ Britt. Overall, it looks like Arians’ plan is to keep his Championship-winning roster just as it is in hopes of going for a second win. After all, if it’s not broken, then why fix it?
The odds of taking home a second Super Bowl win with the same roster aren’t great. Actually, only eight teams in the history of the NFL have accomplished the feat. Lucky for Arians and the rest of the Buccs, Brady was on one of the Patriots’ rosters that accomplished this.
As usual, pundits will follow the Buccs more closely later in the regular season, as Brady isn’t known for a strong start but an incremental build.