This week is certainly one that Buccaneers and NFL fans have had circled on their calendar for months. The defending champion Kansas City Chiefs are coming to Raymond James Stadium this Sunday. Out of all the games this season, this Sunday might be the most telling as far as where the Buccaneers are at as far as Super Bowl contenders. Let’s take a look at the Chiefs to see what the Buccaneers are going to have to do to come out on top against a formidable opponent.
Here’s How The Chiefs Measure Up
In most cases, the question is usually the other way around. How do the Buccaneers measure up to a team capable of beating any of the other 31 teams with ease? It’s going to come down to the Buccaneers Defense containing the plethora of weapons that head coach Andy Reid has at his disposal.
Injury wise, the Chiefs are only without Mitchell Schwartz who went on the injured reserve. Every player who was limited or out last week has put in a full practice thus far.
- Rush Yards/Gm 16th (113.7) / Pass Yards/Gm 1st (300.4)
- Rush Touchdowns/Gm 13th (1.0) / Pass Touchdowns/Gm 3rd (2.7)
- % of Rush Plays Called 20th (39.51%) / % of Pass Plays Called 13th (60.49%)
In all categories measured, the Chiefs are the 16th ranked team or better. Not surprisingly, they are the best in the NFL in yards gained in the passing game. This is the Patrick Mahomes effect.
Mahomes is 2nd in QBR with 114.3 (Quarterback Rating) behind only Aaron Rodgers and his 115.8. Which is interesting as he’s only completing just under 68% of his passes. The counter weight has to be the fact that he just doesn’t turn the ball over. Out of 32 starting quarterbacks with more than one game behind center, nobody has less interceptions than Mahomes does with only 2 total.
Next we have Travis Kelce who is in the top ten among eligible receivers in both pass targets and receptions. He’s also 3rd in receiving yards and 8th in receiving touchdowns. This means the Buccaneers have to adjust for his presence on Sunday. Right now, the Buccaneers are the 10th worst in defending against tight ends in the passing game.
If teams don’t get caught underneath with Kelce then they’ll have their problems over the top with Tyreek Hill. Also known as the “Cheetah”, Hill has the speed to leave any defender staring at his back as he strolls in to the end zone.
Last week, the Chiefs also got their run game moving as well as rookie ‘bowling ball’ Clyde Edwards-Helaire found the end zone twice along with 75 total scrimmage yards.
- Rush Yards Allowed/Gm 26th (133.5) / Pass Yards Allowed/Gm 8th (221.6)
- Rush Touchdowns Allowed/Gm 16th (1.0) / Pass Touchdowns Allowed/Gm 5th (1.4)
- Sacks/Gm 21st (1.9) / Turnover Margin 3rd (+0.8)
The bad news for the Buccaneers doesn’t stop on the Chiefs offensive side of the ball. Defensive tackle Chris Jones has been living in opponents backfields all season long. on the season thus far he has 5.5 sacks and 2 forced fumbles.
Frank Clark is also someone to plan for as he has found his way to 5 tackles for loss. With a less than nimble Brady unable to avoid sacks like he used to, these two defenders might have a post-Thanksgiving feast.
In the secondary, the Chiefs have two ball hawks in Daniel Sorenson and Tyrann Mathieu who combine for five interceptions on the year.
What We Might Expect
Statistically speaking, we can expect the same thing from last week against the Rams. Unless the Buccaneers find their pass rush, giving Mahomes all day to throw is just going to result in another hard and humbling lesson for this defense. Every player must be on their game this week and must overcome their worst enemy, themselves.
Last week, a team with a worse pass defense and less successful pass rush let Mahomes drop 400 passing yards on them. This in turn got the defense on their heels which allowed the run game to develop. Despite all that, the game ended up going to the final drive and was decided by less than 6 points.
The key to this week is sustaining drives and keeping the Chiefs offense off the field for as long as possible. Defensively, there must be a pass rush on defense. This is beyond crucial.
Every player must be on their game this week and must overcome their worst enemy. Themselves.