You’ve followed along all season. Now we’re bringing it to you individually. The Bucs Nation staff will be giving you a series of bold predictions for the game one by one, day by day as we head into Super Bowl LV between the Buccaneers and the Chiefs where we sum it all up for you and give you the chance to vote for your favorite bold prediction the morning of the big game.
What a ride. This season has been an absolute blast - as have the bold predictions we’ve done this year. We hit on some, missed on most - but there was always sound reasoning behind all of our outlandish predications. As for Super Bowl LV? Well, why change?
Leonard Fournette has been on the back burner for most of the season while Ronald Jones ran his way to the top of the NFL rushing charts. He would have eclipsed 1,000 yards had it not been for injury. Then again, without the injuries, we would not have Playoff Lenny.
Fournette finished the regular season playing in thirteen games and carrying the ball 97 times. He gained 367 yards and six touchdowns while adding in 36 receptions for 233 yards. But that was regular season Lenny - we’re talking Playoff Lenny. In just three playoff games, Fournette has 48 carries for 211 yards and two touchdowns. He’s increased his yards per carry from 3.8 to 4.4 and increased his yards per game from 28.2 to 70.3. That’s quite the jump.
On Sunday, the forecast is already calling for rain which could cause what many believed would be a shoot-out between two high octane offenses into a ground-and-pound situation which favors the Bucs. The Bucs have allowed the second-fewest rush yards per game with 85.7 while the Chiefs have allowed a staggering 120.5. Bear in mind, the Bucs have played one more game than the Chiefs and allowed just 16 more rushing yards than the Chiefs have through the entire postseason - and that was when facing off against Alvin Kamara and Aaron Jones.
I already believed the Bucs would rely on the one-two punch of Fournette and Ronald Jones to not only create some long, sustained drives through the game in order to keep the Chiefs’ offense sidelined but I expected them to attack the weakness of this Chiefs defense which is their ability to stop the run.
Thus, my bold prediction, which is bold on a few levels. I predict Leonard Fournette will rush for over 100 yards while scoring two rushing touchdowns. Fournette accomplished this feat in week two against the Carolina Panthers where he ran for 103 yards and two scores but he hasn’t crossed the 100 yard plateau again since. Now, to the next level of the boldness of this prediction...
To find the last running back to rush for over 100 yards and have two rushing touchdowns in a Super Bowl, you have to rewind the clock to 1998. Yes, Super Bowl XXXII between the Denver Broncos and Green Bay Packers. The Broncos would go on to win that game on the back of Super Bowl MVP and Hall of Famer Terrell Davis who finished with 157 yards and three touchdowns on thirty carries.
And I know some of you may be thinking there’s another connection between that game and this one. Well, you’d be correct. The last time we saw a running back accomplish this it came against a team that had Andy Reid on their sideline. Yes, that Andy Reid who was serving as Packers Quarterbacks coach under Mike Holmgren.
On the back of Leonard Fournette and his ability to navigate a questionable and somewhat vulnerable Chiefs run defense, the Buccaneers will make history again as not just the first team to play in a Super Bowl on their home field, but to be the first team to win a Super Bowl on their home field.
Score Prediction: Buccaneers 34, Chiefs 30