A two-game slide is the last thing Bruce Arians' 7-4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers team wants to find itself in as we approach December.
A back-and-forth loss to the Los Angeles Rams at home on Monday followed by a contest against the Kansas City Chiefs (9-1) and star quarterback Patrick Mahomes make that an unfortunate, potential reality.
Tampa Bay is set to host the Chiefs at 4:25 P.M. on Sunday. The Bucs are home underdogs, with OddsShark providing a 3.5-point spread in favor of KC and an over/under of 56 points.
How does the Sports Illustrated-AllBucs staff see this one playing out at Raymond James Stadium?
Zach Goodall: Chiefs 31, Buccaneers 24
Alright, which Tom Brady are we going to get? The one we saw against the Carolina Panthers or the one we saw against the Los Angeles Rams?
Neither of those Tom Brady's completed a deep ball, which is what Patrick Mahomes and company should be able to do against a Bucs secondary that has struggled with up-tempo passing offenses as of late. Add in that cornerback Jamel Dean is out with a concussion and the Chiefs' vast arsenal of receiving weapons may be too much for the league's No. 16 pass defense.
I'd anticipate Ronald Jones to have yet another bounce-back game after a 24-yard showing last week, against Kansas City's No. 27-ranked rush defense.
Pair a productive day from the running backs with a turnover-free game from Brady, and this should be a one-score game. I just don't think the Bucs can beat a team that features an offense like KC's right now, though.
Jason Beede: Chiefs 38, Buccaneers 31
Last week, the Bucs went back and forth with the Los Angeles Rams until Tom Brady got picked off on the final Tampa Bay drive.
I expect this game will feel similar. Two of the greatest quarterbacks in Brady and Patrick Mahomes taking shots down the field and scoring touchdowns one after the other. But in the end, Kansas City will find a way to win the game.
Did you see how Mahomes sliced and diced the Raiders' defense last week in route to a 35-31 win? The Chiefs marched down the field and went 75 yards in 1:15 putting the game behind them. Between rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, tight end Travis Kelce and their number of speedy receivers like Tyreek Hill, the Chiefs will just overpower Tampa Bay's defense in the end.
While Brady probably will bounce back following last week's two-interception performance and throw multiple touchdowns, I don't have that being enough. In what will be a fun one on Sunday, the Chiefs escape on the road 38-31 over the Buccaneers.
Donavon Keiser: Chiefs 31, Buccaneers 24
Yes, Zach and I have the same prediction. This wasn’t by design, but great minds think alike.
(Editor's note: Zach and Donavon both picked the Bucs to win last week. Welp.)
Coming off a loss to a very good opponent in the Los Angeles Rams, the Buccaneers now face the 9-1 Kansas City Chiefs in Tampa. The electric Chiefs offense will challenge a young Bucs secondary, especially vertically with Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman. Patrick Mahomes will come out hot, especially if Tampa cannot adjust between man and zone coverages.
The good news is that Tom Brady is 3-0 as a home underdog since 2006 and will surely play better than last week. Despite all of the weapons that Tampa's offense features, however, I'm concerned that the Buccaneers can't match scores consistently as they go against one of the best offenses and one of most dynamic QBs in the entire league in Mahomes.
Bryon Leftwich and the Bucs' offense has to come out with a more balanced approach than recently, but it will be quite the task to hang with the Chiefs, especially with the Buccaneers’ banged-up offensive line.
It'll be close for the majority of the game, but I have the Chiefs pulling one out by a touchdown in Tampa and covering the 3.5 point spread.