The stars of the Super Bowl are in the passing game. You know who’s at quarterback for these teams, someone else can cover that storyline.
The pass-catchers for these teams are some of the league’s best. Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill are arguably the two best players on the field in this game (excluding Mahomes), while the Bucs bevy of pass-catchers puts a strain on opposing secondaries to stop all of theml.
Consider this piece a resource for your passing game props. We’ll take a look at PFF and DVOA rankings for each passing offense and passing defense, incorporating postseason snap counts into our picks.
My trench talk, the foundation for my impending game pick, can be found here: Trench Talk: Offensive/Defensive Line Matchups in Super Bowl LV
Let’s get to it.
Receivers vs. Corners
This game will be decided through the air, a product of what the league has become. Let’s see how they stack up.
Kansas City Passing Game
KC Receiving (4th) & KC Passing (4th) vs. TB Coverage (3rd)
KC Pass Offense DVOA (2nd) vs. TB Pass Defense DVOA (5th)
Advantage: Kansas City
It’s fairly obvious that Kansas City’s best chance at repeating as Super Bowl champions is to move the ball through the air. It’s what they do best, and they have the stars to overcome Tampa Bay’s strong secondary.
Tampa’s pass defense, on paper, is one of the league’s best. This analysis can only take us so far – the Chiefs are going to have their chances. Just last week, the Packers and their top passing offense moved the ball with some success. Their receivers combined for 254 yards while the tight ends chipped in 50 more.
When we talk about player props, this is the only area of the Chiefs offense I’ll be targeting. If you read my trench talks, you’ll see the Chiefs should struggle to run the ball with consistency.
We have to start with Carlton Davis and Tyreek Hill, the obvious connection between these two being the monster game Hill had back in Week 12.
I’ve been trying to figure out ‘does Carlton Davis match up on Tyreek Hill?’ on the ol’ Google – and I’m not finding many definitive answers.
The closest I’ve come is Twitter, where the common sentiment appears to be no. The vibe I’ve gotten is that it will be Jamel Dean, PFF’s 15th ranked corner, who ran a 4.30 40 yard dash before the 2019 draft.
With that established, I’m not going to put too much stock in Hill’s 13-catch, 269 yards and three touchdown performance against the Bucs earlier this year.
He’s still the best wide receiver on this team. With an over/under set at 92.5 receiving yards, it’s a good bet.
It has to be either Hill or Travis Kelce. Kelce leads this team in targets, and in a projected high-scoring affair, an over/under of 94.5 is extremely reasonable for a guy who’s hit this number in eight of his last ten games.
The one factor giving me pause is the presence of Lavonte David – the sixth best coverage linebacker this season.
While the Buccaneer defense has been stingy across the board, tight ends haven’t had big games against this defense. On the season, only the Vikings have had tight ends hit 100 receiving yards in a game.
When the Chiefs played the Bucs in Week 12, Kelce had a good game by normal tight end standards, catching all eight of his targets for 82 yards, but compare that to his other games, and it’s quite pedestrian.
I can’t recommend anyone else in this offense, Mahomes so-clearly favors these two, the volume is significantly higher.
This year’s targets: Kelce (172 targets), Hill (155). Next closest is Hardman at 69.
The pick doesn’t come without its hesitations, but I’m very likely taking both to hit their overs on Super Bowl Sunday. Trusting these star players to make plays on the NFL’s biggest stage.
Tampa Bay Passing Game
TB Receiving (7th) & TB Passing (2nd) vs. KC Coverage (10th)
TB Pass Offense DVOA (5th) vs. KC Pass Defense DVOA (16th)
Advantage: Tampa Bay
It’s a lot easier to feel good about this matchup, with the middling Chiefs secondary tasked with stopping the slew of receivers for Tampa Bay.
Targets are a bit more dispersed in this offense, though the top two picks are Mike Evans and Chris Godwin.
The Chiefs potentially line up nicely with this varied receiver group, with three corners inside the top 30 at their position on PFF. Though, their other full-time starter, Charvarius Ward, comes in at 50th. This could be the matchup to target.
Tampa Bay Target Leaders: Postseason
- Chris Godwin (28)
- Mike Evans (21)
- Leonard Fournette (17)
- Cameron Brate (16)
- Rob Gronkowski (7)
- Antonio Brown, two games (5)
- Scotty Miller (6)
- Tyler Johnson (3)
Currently seeing Godwin’s over/under at 77.5, while Evans is listed at 63.5
Off volume, Evans is certainly the better value. Multiple players from above should hit their overs, especially in a game I’d expect plenty of passing.
Tom Brady’s over is currently at 295.5, another interesting choice. I’ve already written about why Fournette is my favorite bet of the weekend, but maybe there’s enough to go around in this Tampa Bay offense.
Those are initial thoughts on how these receivers and corners match up. My official prop picks and game pick will come later, so make sure you’re following on Twitter, @griffybets.
Plenty more to come, let’s end the NFL season strong!