Top offensive matchups in Super Bowl 55 to watch

Super Bowl 55 is here as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers face off against the defending NFL champions, the Kansas City Chiefs. What does the data say about the matchup? Using the Offensive Value Metric, we can create a predictive analysis of the top Super Bowl offensive matchups using behavior science. 

Since the beginning of the Divisional Round, the OVM has correctly predicted the outcome of all but two games. Today, we’ll explore the metrics to see what those same analytics predict for Sunday’s game.

How the OVM comparisons work

The Offensive Value Metric (OVM) was created to measure the overall value that an individual provides to his offense. A player with a higher OVM grade isn’t necessarily a higher skilled player, but they tend to create more overall offensive production for their team.

This can highlight the key playmakers for a particular offense. We can compare this data from each team to see which offensive playmakers have the higher opportunity for success when pitted against each other.

Seeing which teams and offensive groups score higher OVM grades on average gives a better picture of which offense has the individual strength advantage.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Offense — Overall OVM Grades

Tom Brady — 29.34

Mike Evans — 32.54
Chris Godwin — 34.15
Rob Gronkowski — 31.71

Leonard Fournette — 2.98
Ronald Jones II — 9.90

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offense has an overall OVM grade of 23.99 for their offense. As is with the case for any pass-heavy offense, their biggest playmakers are the receiving corps. However, their running backs are roughly middle of the pack compared to the rest of the league. 

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Chris Godwin has proven to be one of the most incredibly dependable receivers in the NFL this year heading into this Super Bowl matchup. With a 78% completion, he currently has the fourth-highest catch percentage of any receiver in 2020.

He accompanies Mike Evans, who is having one of his best seasons yet. Evans has been exceptional in the red zone this season for Tampa Bay. He has 13 total touchdowns on the year — the fourth-highest number of TDs for any receiver. Evans also found that elusive thousand-yard mark in 2020 with 1,006 total receiving yards on the Buccaneers’ offense. 

Tight end Rob Gronkowski has an overall OVM grade of 31.71 this year. This is the lowest overall grade that Gronkowski has put up on a season since 2017. Yet, this is still a respectable OVM grade, comparatively. Gronkowski has been useful beyond the first-down markers, with an average of 11.5 targeted air yardage per attempt. He’s also averaged nearly 6 yards of offense after the catch this season.

Ronald Jones could be a difference-maker on Sunday

For the running backs, Ronald Jones is another player on the Buccaneers’ roster that’s having a solid season. Jones is sixth-best in the NFL for yards per attempt on his rushes. He’s also just short of 1,000 rushing yards for 2020.

With Leonard Fournette, he hasn’t had a massive year by any means for total yardage. He currently has just 367 total yards. However, his RB efficiency rating of 4.19 is the eight-highest for 2020.

Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady has the fourth-best OVM grade for a QB this season. This high OVM grade is a testament to another strong year for Brady’s individual production stats.

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He has some of the best league scores in several Next Gen metrics: intended air yardage, completed air yardage, total passing yards, air yardage to the markers, total passing yards, and total touchdowns. Heading into Sunday’s Super Bowl matchup, he has a passer rating of 102.2.

super bowl offensive matchups
Data Source: The (Bx) Movement

Kansas City Chiefs’ Offense — Overall OVM Grades

Patrick Mahomes — 21.54

Tyreek Hill — 34.08
Sammy Watkins — 35.17
Travis Kelce — 36.30

Clyde Edwards-Helaire — 3.25
Le’Veon Bell — 0.00

The Kansas City Chiefs head to the Super Bowl with an overall OVM grade of 20.40 for their playmakers.

Travis Kelce has had a monster season so far for the Chiefs’ offense. He’s not only the leading tight end in the league for 2020, but he’s outpacing almost every wide receiver this year, too. His 1,416 total receiving yards is the second-most for any receiver. He’s also tied for fifth in scoring with 11 touchdowns.

Kelce is paired with Tyreek Hill, who is having a career-setting year as well. Hill has the second-most number of TDs for any receiver this year with 15. He’s also just shy of 1,300 total receiving yards.

super bowl offensive matchups
Data Source: The (Bx) Movement

Clyde Edwards-Helaire does have over 800 yards this season. But, for the most part, this has been open-field yardage — only about 9% of his snaps have been against a stacked box. According to the Next Gen Stats, this is 52 yards less than he should have right now given the opportunity on the Chiefs’ offense. 

Quarterback Patrick Mahomes currently has the third-best overall passer rating this season. He has over 4,700 total passing yards for 2020 (ahead of Brady by roughly 100 yards). He’s only thrown 6 interceptions, and he’s just a few TDs behind Brady’s total with 38 touchdowns.

Super Bowl offensive matchups and OVM predictions

Overall, we have two strong passing offenses facing off against each other. The Buccaneers’ offense does have a good group of receivers, but Kansas City’s receiving package is one of the best in the NFL this year. With an overall OVM grade of 36.41, the Chiefs have a significant offensive matchup advantage with their receivers’ strength in the Super Bowl. 

Yet, the stronger receiving group is where the advantages stop for the Chiefs’ offense in this matchup. Brady leads Mahomes in nearly every metric for individual production on the Next Gen stats. Brady’s overall OVM grade of 29.34 towers over Mahomes’ 21.54.

Related | QB Power Rankings 2020: Mahomes looks to win second Super Bowl, overtake Rodgers

Tampa Bay also has the advantage with the running backs. The Buccaneers’ OVM strength of the running backs isn’t what would be considered on the strong end, by any means. However, compared to the abysmal RB OVM grade of the Chiefs’ offense, the Buccaneers have a leg up here as well.

The OVM data metric has the overall advantage in Super Bowl 55 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offense by nearly four points. 

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