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The Best Super Bowl Projections on the Planet

By: Taylor Bechtold, Andrew Fenichel

How many yards is Patrick Mahomes going to throw for in Super Bowl 55?

Who’s projected to have a bigger game: Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, Antonio Brown or Rob Gronkowski? Will Clyde Edwards-Helaire be able to get anything going against the tough Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense?

We have all the answers. Well, the projected answers.

We’ve used play-by-play and X-INFO data to create player rates, defensive team adjustments, and usage predictions based on a rolling window of past performance. Every matchup is scrutinized, and we use player-based data so we can plug and play not only offensive skills players but offensive linemen and all players on defense. Each of these changes impacts our projections.

The modeling methods allow for quicker stabilization of player rates, as well as proper analysis of the balance of recency bias and long-term baselines.

So without further ado, here are our most notable player projections for Super Sunday:

(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Patrick Mahomes’ projected passing yards: 336.4

Mahomes torched the Buccaneers defense for 462 passing yards in the Week 12 matchup between these teams. And while we don’t have him projected to break 450 again, we do have him projected to throw for 336.4 yards – higher than most other sites. Look for Mahomes to take advantage of the Buccaneers’ banged-up secondary and throw for more yards than the 286 that he threw for in the Super Bowl last year versus the San Francisco 49ers.

Tom Brady’s projected rushing yards: 8.8

Mr. QB sneak himself! Brady is known as the king of the “third-and-goal at the one” sneak. Despite rushing once for minus-one yard in Week 12, we have Brady projected for 8.8 this time around —much more than just a simple one-yard sneak.

(AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)

Rob Gronkowski’s projected receiving yards: 40.1

After a huge 106-yard performance in Week 12, stopping Gronkowski is a key for Kansas City in the Super Bowl. We have Gronk projected for 40.1 receiving yards, slightly higher than his regular-season average, despite recording just 43 total yards in the Buccaneers’ three playoff games so far.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s projected rushing yards: 16.2

Chiefs rookie running back Edwards-Helaire is only projected to rush for 16.2 yards. The Buccaneers have one of the best defensive front sevens in the NFL. They’re also welcoming back Vita Vea, who had an above-average run disruption rate (RD%) of 23.2% in 2020. This is a tough matchup for CEH.

(Kyle Zedaker/Tampa Bay Buccaneers via AP)

Chris Godwin’s projected receiving yards: 67.2

In what could end up as his final game in a Buccaneers uniform (he’s a free agent this offseason), Godwin is projected to pick up 67.2 receiving yards versus a strong Kansas City defensive backfield. Godwin led all Bucs WRs with 97 receiving yards in Week 12, but we have him projected for less than other sites.

Mecole Hardman’s projected receiving yards: 56.3

UPDATE: Sammy Watkins is expected to play, which lowers Hardman’s projection slightly. 

The model points to Hardman just about doubling what other sites are projecting for his receiving yards. That could have something to do with Hill receiving a lot of the attention from the Tampa Bay secondary after his historic performance in Week 12.

(AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Antonio Brown’s projected receiving yards: 53.8

It looks as though Brown will play in Super Bowl 55, and his projection here is a bit higher than you’ll find other places. He’s one of Tom Brady’s favorite targets when he’s been healthy and had five touchdowns in four games before suffering a knee injury in the divisional round.

Scotty Miller’s projected receiving yards: 10.5

On the flip side, Miller’s targets have dwindled since Brown joined Tampa Bay’s receiving corps. After totaling 38 in his first eight games, he’s only had 21 over the past 11. He caught a TD pass in the NFC championship game but was shut out in the Week 12 loss to Kansas City.

Cameron Brate projected receiving yards: 13.3

Brate, Tampa Bay’s other tight end, is expected to play through a back injury. But he could be limited and finish with far fewer receiving yards than other sites project, according to the model. He tied a season high with six targets in the first meeting with KC, but the Super Bowl is likely to be a Gronkowski event.

 

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