The effects of Hurricane Ian ruined parts of Florida, but fortunately the Tampa Bay area was spared. Specifically, Raymond James Stadium is reportedly in good shape as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be able to take the field on Sunday night. They will take on the Kansas City Chiefs in a game that BetOnline customers can see on NBC at 8:20 PM ET.
This game features two of the premier quarterbacks in the National Football League, as Tom Brady duels Patrick Mahomes. And both teams are coming off very disappointing outings. The Bucs were beaten 14-12 by the Green Bay Packers, despite a late rally. The Chiefs lost 20-17 to an Indianapolis Colts squad that had looked God-awful in their first two outings.
Each of the quarterbacks has been intercepted only once. But Mahomes has had a little more success moving his team than Brady. The Buccaneers have scored only three offensive touchdowns – one in each game.
About 20 months ago, these teams met in the Super Bowl – and on this field too. At that point the Bucs may have been in a little better shape offensively. And the Chiefs’ offensive line was in tatters, leading eventually to a 31-9 Tampa Bay victory.
For a while, the site of this rematch was up in the air. Minneapolis was considered as an alternative location, but because the brunt of the hurricane was farther south, Tampa was reinstalled. The Bucs went all the way south, to Miami, to do their preparations, just in case.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Green Bay Packers, here are the numbers…
In the Sunday night NFL betting odds that have been posted on this game at BetOnline, it is essentially a pick’em situation:
|Chiefs||-2 (-110)||45 (-110)||-130|
|Buccaneers||+2 (-110)||45 (-110)||+110|
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From the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ perspective
Tom Brady has some marital problems. But we’re not certain that’s the reason the Bucs’ offense has not been operating at full steam. And it’s not because Todd Bowles took over as head coach.
Most of the problems have happened because injuries have sabotaged the receiving corps. Don’t get us wrong; the Bucs have a deep list of receivers. But they have been missing these guys for one reason or another. Julio Jones has been out with a knee injury. He is expected to play here. Russell Gage’s hamstring has been a problem, but he could very well play. Mike Evans was suspended last week for the brouhaha that he was part of in New Orleans the week before. And then there is Chris Godwin, who came back from a knee injury but has had a hamstring issue. But there is the possibility that he could play.
From the Kansas City Chiefs’ perspective
Mahomes has, at his disposal, the best pass receiving weapon on the field in Travis Kelce. The tight end is sitting with 230 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Clyde Edwards-Helaire has been a dual weapon, with 231 all-purpose yards. Of course, Tyreek Hill was dealt in the off-season to Miami. So Kansas City had to compensate with a number of wideouts, including Marquez Valdez-Scantling, who was with Green Bay last season.
Mahomes has 857 passing yards and eight TD passes with just one interception, so he is reaching his targets. And he demonstrated last season that he is willing to throw it underneath in order to achieve his ends. But it may affect the way that the Bucs defend against him.
One thing the Chiefs can say with confidence is that they have upgraded their offensive line from the point where it was against Tampa Bay in the Super Bowl. On that day, Mahomes was running for his life. This season, they have given up only two sacks.
So what’s the verdict?
We know the Chiefs would like to run the football. But Tampa Bay is very good at stopping the run, allowing 3.8 yards per carry. KC has done even better in that regard, allowing 3.6 ypc. Because the Bucs are throwing the ball with less frequency than they did last season (58.6%), the rush is important.
However, it’s not bad news that Brady will have more of his receivers available, particularly Evans. And that may ultimately make the difference. Let’s put it this way; if it doesn’t, that’s not a good sign for Tampa’s chances to get back to the Super Bowl. We’ll go with the home team, which ultimately has the better stop unit.
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