Sunday of Week 12 of the NFL betting season is jam packed with great matchups (including Ravens and Steelers because of their game being postponed). Even with so many pivotal games this week — one game stands out on Sunday a little more than the rest. The (9-1) Kansas City Chiefs are heading to Tampa Bay to take on the (7-4) Buccaneers for an afternoon game.
The Bucs-Chiefs matchup is not only exciting because it is two of the NFL’s top teams on a collision course with one-another — the game will also play host as the last time that QBs Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes face each other (unless they both make the Super Bowl Odds before Brady retires). Current NFL scheduling has the four teams from the NFC South playing the teams in the AFC West every four-years.
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Game Info: (7-4) Buccaneers vs (9-1) Chiefs
Date and Time: Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET
Where: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL
Brady and Mahomes — Passing of the Torch
Brady is 43 years old, which is considered ancient for a starting QB in the NFL, but Brady seems to defy time. Brady left the Patriots’ dynasty that he helped build the past 20 years this offseason to join Bruce Arians and the Buccaneers. During his time with the Patriots, he faced Mahomes and the Chiefs three times, winning two of the games. The three games between these two QB’s has been decided by seven points or less.
Brady is widely considered the Greatest-Of-All-Time with his six Super Bowl rings and his multitude of records and awards. It is about time for Brady to step down and let the new generation of quarterbacks have their shot at the title of the GOAT. But first, Brady is on a mission to win a Super Bowl without Bill Belichick and the Patriots organization which would put his legacy at practically unreachable heights.
Arians’ is asking Brady to throw deep more often this year. This does not seem to be the right approach for Brady. More on this point at the end.
Tom Brady on throws 15+ yards downfield:
▪️ 18 yards
▪️ 2 INT pic.twitter.com/G3YkOE2T9W
— PFF (@PFF) November 24, 2020
Patrick Mahomes — Michael Jordan
Unreachable for anyone not named Patrick Mahomes. The thing about Patrick Mahomes is that he seems to defy what the common narrative says a QB should be able to do. He possesses the poise of Brady at the age of 25. His arm strength and accuracy with the football is off the charts. Then the icing on top is his play-making ability — he can throw using any arm angle and he can extend plays and pick-up big-gains with his legs. Mahomes makes the NFL QB position seem fun and easy.
In his first season as QB1 for the Chiefs, Mahomes was the 2018 regular season MVP. A year later he won Super Bowl LIV MVP (youngest QB to win SB MVP). He has been playing at a level never seen before — and he is only in his third season. The list of accomplishments by the QB phenom is too long to even go through here, but here are a few.
Mahomes has already done things only the best season vets have done like — 50 TD season and 5,000 yards in a season — and he has led the Chiefs to some records that no other teams are close to — scoring 23-plus points in 46 of their last 47 games, two streaks of 23 games (no other team has more than 20 such games in a row).
Even with his ridiculous start thus far in his career, Mahomes seems to be only getting better which is nothing but trouble for the other 31 NFL teams who do not have him as their QB. It almost feels like some guy living in a basement created Mahomes on Madden with a 99 in every attribute and he was 3D printed into a human.
If Mahomes was some kind of robot then he probably would not be so likable — but damnit he is. Even after winning a Super Bowl and signing the largest contract in sports history worth more than half-a-billion, he seems humble and fun to be around. For a while, I wanted to trade my life for Brady’s but now I think I’d rather be Mahomes.
It feels like we are all witnessing Jordan take the NBA by storm in the 90’s but this time around it is Mahomes taking over the NFL. All we can do is sit back and marvel at greatness in its prime.
The Weapons around the QBs — Grade
Both QBs are great — maybe the top two players to ever play the position. Their greatness is undeniable but no QB can win games by himself. The entire team is responsible for a win or a loss. Let’s look at the rest of the offensive around the QBs and compare.
The Bucs and Chiefs are Super Bowl favorites because of their QBs and because of how many weapons those QBs have. These two teams can take down anyone in a multitude of ways.
“I’ll take my guys versus anybody. It’s as simple as that."
— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) November 25, 2020
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Offensive Grade — A
The Bucs offense may be the most talented offensive roster that has been around Tom Brady in his long career. There is a top-level athlete at each skill position on the offense.
Wide Receivers — A+
All-Pro wide receivers Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown sit atop the depth chart for the Buccaneers pass-catchers. The three of them combined have been selected to 11 Pro-Bowls. It is hard to think of three WRs that were ever on the same team that were better than these three guys.
The issue for the Bucs has been continuity. They recently acquired Brown after he sat-out the first eight games of the season due to a suspension. Godwin has been in-and-out of the lineup due to injuries this season. The shortened offseason practice schedule seemed to play a big role for the Bucs who were trying to get Brady on the same page with his playmakers.
Mike Evans leads the Buccaneers in receiving this season with 45 receptions for 563 yards and nine TDs.
Tight End — B+
5x Pro-Bowler Rob Gronkowski will go down as one of the greatest tight ends to ever play in the NFL. He retired after the 2018 season for a full year and came-back to join his QB in Tampa Bay. Brady and Gronk have connected for 93 TD passes in their eight-plus years together which is 2nd in the NFL between a QB and a single pass catcher. This season ‘Gronk has 31 receptions for 399 yards and four TDs.
Cameron Brate is the second TE on the Bucs’ depth chart. He has put together a solid career in his first six seasons thus far in the NFL. He would be TE 1 for most teams. He has 16 receptions for 147 yards and two TDs on the season.
Running Back — B+
Ronald Jones II and Leonard Fournette are splitting time in the Buccaneers backfield. Jones leads the team with 153 rushes for 754 yards and five TDs. Jones seems to be the better overall back but the Bucs have been giving Fournette more opportunities the past few weeks. It seems like the Bucs need to get away from the 2017 fourth-overall pick and lean on Jones more as the season wears on.
Offensive Line — B
The Bucs’ offensive line has taken great strides from a season ago when they were one of the worst lines in football. The Bucs are benefiting from some continuity up-front but they also have had to deal with a number of injuries to their OL. This season they are tied for seventh with 15 sacks allowed and have been solid in the run as well.
Kansas City Chiefs’ Offensive Grade — A
The Chiefs offense has set fire to the rest of the NFL ever since Mahomes was named the starting QB in 2018. Coach Andy Reid is as good as any coach at scheming his weapons open by creating mismatches in space.
Wide Receiver — A-
Wideouts Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, Demarcus Robinson and Mecole Hardman are the top four pass catchers for KC. What all these guys have in common is speed. Tyreek Hill is second on the team in receiving with 55 receptions for 752 yards and 10 TDs. Hill (who is on pace to break KC’s receiving TD record) is considered the fastest player in the NFL and is a matchup problem for anyone who tries to line-up over him. Watkins is a good WR 2 when he is healthy (five games played). Robinson and Hardman are inconsistent with drops but pose a huge threat to opposing defenses with their speed.
Tight End — A+
2020 Fantasy football’s No. 1 TE is once again KC’s Travis Kelce. Since 2016, Kelce has been fantasy football’s No. 1 TE every year but in 2017 (No. 2 behind Gronkowski). Kelce who’s 31 years old, leads the Chiefs in receiving with 66 receptions for 896 yards and seven TDs. Kelce is a problem for any defense as he is too big for most safeties to cover and too athletic for linebackers to stay with.
Patrick Mahomes is my favorite movie. pic.twitter.com/fMrh8LU3xj
— Chiefs Highlights (@ChiefsHighlight) November 25, 2020
Running Backs — B+
Rookie RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire leads the Chiefs in rushing with 655 yards and four TDs on 140 attempts. Edwards-Helaire is an explosive back who has performed well as a first-year starter in 2020. There is a major upside for Edwards-Helaire but he still has some learning to do before he reaches his peak. For now, he provides an RB 1 that can run between the tackles and catch the ball out of the backfield. Newly acquired All-Pro RB Le’Veon Bell has played in four games for the Chiefs but will provide them with more experience-back down the stretch.
Offensive Line — B
Kansas City’s offensive line has not performed overly well this season although they rank No. 4 in sacks allowed with 13. Before the 2020 draft the Chiefs did not spend a third-round pick or better on an offensive lineman since 2015. The Chiefs have filled their line with journeymen and late-round picks as they have concentrated their money on other positions. So, far it has been alright due to their skill players. The Chiefs’ solo loss this season brought light to the offensive line struggles as the Raiders were able to put pressure on Mahomes all day.
Chiefs vs Buccaneers — Better Defense?
The Buccaneers’ defense ranks No. 8 and the Chiefs’ No. 9 heading into Week 12 at sportsnaut.com. Both teams have a good enough offense to make up for some defensive miscues — but they need their defense to make enough stops against good teams to put them in a position to win.
Tampa Bay’s defensive coordinator Todd Bowles is trying to get the most out of his talented roster. The first two months of the season the Bucs had one of the best defenses in the league, the past four weeks have been a different story. In their first seven games, they gave up an average of 20.3 points per game. In the last four games, Tampa Bay has allowed their opponents to score 27.8 points per game.
On the season the Bucs have 14 INTs ranking them second in the NFL but they also have given up 20 passing TDs — the seventh most in the NFL. The Bucs have been much better against the run ranking No. 2 with 803 rushing yards allowed. Opposing teams have seemed to figure out Bowles’ defensive schemes and are exploiting his blitz packages.
The Chiefs have held opposing QBs to a QBR of 84.9 ranking them No. 4 in the NFL. That number would be much lower if it was not for Raiders’ QB Derek Carr’s two games of success against KC, where he totaled a QBR of 123.2. The Chiefs’ defense has also struggled of late giving up 31 points in back-to-back weeks. They did a good job limiting one of the league’s best rushing teams to under 100 rushing yards when they faced the (6-4) Raiders last week. They have continued to struggle to get pressure on opposing QBs this season which has only amounted them 19 sacks thus far.
The 2020 Chiefs are a reminder of the 2018-2019 Chiefs who lost in the AFC Championship. That year the defense ranked near the bottom of the league in most categories which eventually caught up to them in the Playoffs. If KC’s defense does not get better this team is one off-game from Mahomes away from a similar end to their season.
Everyone fully practiced again.https://t.co/LPmiT4GCeo
— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) November 26, 2020
Buccaneers vs Chiefs — Betting Breakdown
|Chiefs||-3½ Ev||-180||56 -110o||27½|
|Buccaneers||+3½ -120||+160||56 -110u||23|
In a game that I expect both quarterbacks to play well the difference will be the defense, or who has the ball last. Neither defense has the tools to shut down the opposing team offense, but who can do enough to slow them down so their offense can put up points?
Mahomes has only thrown two interceptions this year and seems nearly impossible to stop right now. The lack of turnovers has helped the Chiefs to rank No. 2 in turnover differential at +9. Kansas City leads the NFL in points per game, averaging 32.1 points.
Brady, on the other hand, has thrown nine interceptions and the Bucs offense seems to be looking for its identity as of late. It seems Coach Arians is asking Brady to do some things he was not asked to do in New England which is leading to mistakes for Brady. The Bucs need to have Brady short and work the middle of the field as he did so well for so long in a Patriots jersey.
Desmond Howard states beautifully what’s going on in Tampa in the tweet below. Check it out!
— The Undefeated (@TheUndefeated) November 25, 2020
Pick: Chiefs 31, Bucs 27