Buccaneers game day is approaching, and it’s time for the PewterReport.com staff to offer up its weekly game predictions. Let us know what you think in the article comments section and add your prediction, too.
WHEN: November 29, 2020 KICKOFF: 4:25 p.m. ET WHERE: Raymond James Stadium TV: CBS PLAY-BY-PLAY: Jim Nantz ANALYSTS: Tony Romo SIDELINE: Tracy Wolfson RADIO: 98 ROCK 97.9 FM PLAY-BY-PLAY: Gene Deckerhoff ANALYST: Dave Moore SIDLINE: T.J. Rives SPANISH RADIO: 96.1 FM PLAY-BY-PLAY: Carlos Bohorquez ANALYST: Martin Gramatica
Join PR’s Matt Matera on PewterReport.com’s Red Board to talk Bucs football for a live game day chat, starting at noon. on Sunday all the way through to the final whistle. Click the link below to access the Game Day Thread on the Red Board.
Scott Reynolds: Bucs Will Lose High-Scoring Battle vs. Chiefs
The Bucs will have their hands full on Sunday against the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs, who enter this week’s game with a 9-1 record. Without cornerback Jamel Dean, who is Tampa Bay’s fastest defensive back, due to a concussion, the Bucs don’t have the speed in the secondary to match up with the likes of Kansas City’s Tyreek Hill, Mecole Hardman and Sammy Watkins. That’s a problem for Todd Bowles and his defense, which has to be careful of playing man coverage this week because of the running lanes that can be created for a scrambling Patrick Mahomes once he leaves the pocket.
I see this game being a high-scoring affair as both defenses will have trouble stopping the high-powered offenses on Sunday. This game will likely come down to which quarterback has the ball in his hands last – Mahomes or Tampa Bay’s Tom Brady. That should give the advantage to Mahomes, who just engineered a comeback win at Las Vegas last week, while Brady has struggled to lead the Bucs to wins on last drives against Chicago and Los Angeles this year. I’m concerned that Andy Reid and Steve Spagnoulo might out-coach Bruce Arians, Byron Leftwich and Todd Bowles on Sunday.
This game could either be a blowout win for the Chiefs or a narrow loss for the Bucs. I’m giving Tampa Bay the benefit of the doubt that it will be a close game, but I think Mahomes pulls it out at the end. I’m concerned that the Bucs might be out of gas, coming off a short week and 11 straight weeks of football. Next week’s bye week can’t get here soon enough. For even more of my preview of this week’s game, please read my 4 Match-ups to Watch: Bucs vs. Chiefs analysis.
Mark Cook: Bucs Defense Will Struggle To Contain High-Powered Chiefs’ Attack
They come at you from everywhere. Through the air, on the ground and every place you look in between. The Chiefs offense is clicking at such a high level. I’d feel better about this game if we had seen the Bucs defense from the Green Bay or Denver game recently, but as of late it has looked more like the 2019 defense at times. I’m not saying the Bucs can’t win. I just don’t feel comfortable saying they will win based on how they’ve played two of the last three weeks.
It is kind of funny how a few weeks ago some were handing Bucs QB Tom Brady or Seattle’s Russell Wilson the MVP Trophy. Today, if voting took place, how do you not give it to Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes? He just absolutely stole the soul from the Las Vegas Raiders last week leading the Chiefs to a comeback win in a two-minute drive. Besides his obvious talent, he’s just fun as hell to watch. This is a game where 65,000 screaming Bucs fans need to be packed in Raymond James. That kind of noise, and trust me Ray Jay can get extremely loud, is part of the home field advantage. Damn you COVID-19.
I think Brady rebounds after a woeful last drive against the Rams. The most competitive man in the NFL has probably lost sleep replaying that final drive from last Monday night. I know I sure have. I just don’t know if this defense can make enough plays to slow down Mahomes to give the Bucs a chance to win. It should be fun, well at least until the final whistle anyway. But if the Bucs do somehow dethrone the champs, look out NFL, Tampa Bay will once again be one of the favorites to make a deep playoff run.
Jon Ledyard: Bucs Defense Won’t Have An Answer For Mahomes, Chiefs
The Bucs certainly match up better on paper with the Chiefs than they do the Saints or the Rams, but will it be enough? There are paths to more production for the Bucs seesaw offense against a solid, yet unspectacular Kansas City defense, but how will the Tampa Bay defense stop Patrick Mahomes?
That’s what this game boils down to, in my opinion. Mahomes can destroy man and zone coverage with equal aptitude, and while pressure has impacted his accuracy to a degree this season, he still creates a ridiculous amount of splash plays against the blitz. Sending extra blitzers is a big risk against Mahomes, but the Bucs haven’t be able to generate much pressure with four either. Their defense cannot struggle like they have over the past month, or the Bucs will be toast quickly.
Tom Brady has to carry the day for Tampa Bay, under as much pressure and public criticism as he’s faced during his short time as a Buc. Can he and the Bucs weapons get the deep ball back on track? Can Byron Leftwich finally chart a path to first down success, an achievement that has eluded him all season? Will the Bucs offensive line, potentially playing without left tackle Donovan Smith and left guard Ali Marpet, be good enough against a strong Chiefs front on passing downs? I think Tampa Bay matches scores with Kansas City for awhile, but ultimately there are very few teams I’d pick to beat the Chiefs right now. Actually, none.
Matt Matera: Chiefs Are Just Too Good For The Bucs
The Bucs have played well following a loss, scoring 31, 38 and 46 points in their next game to bounce back. This is a different animal, though, facing the Chiefs, the defending Super Bowl champs. Tampa Bay’s offense does match-up better against the Chiefs than it did with the Rams, and that helps its cause in what could be a high-scoring game.
It will be important for the Bucs to stick with the running game and make sure Ronald Jones II is getting the ball. He doesn’t have to run for 192 yards like he did at Carolina, but they have to keep that game plan of continuing to get him carries rather than how he was utilized a week ago against the Rams. The Chiefs are at the bottom of the league in stopping the run, allowing an average of 133.5 yards per game. The Bucs also have favorable match-ups with their star wide receivers, so they have to exploit them.
If the Bucs continue to play soft zone coverage on defense, Patrick Mahomes is going to eat them alive. They cannot sit back and react to what the Chiefs receivers will do. There’s just too much fire power. Plus, the Bucs will be without Jamel Dean in the secondary, making the group a little shorthanded. Tampa Bay’s pass rush was non-existent last game, and if that happens again, the Bucs won’t have a chance. Then there’s also Travis Kelce that the Bucs have to deal with. For all the things Devin White is great at, pass coverage has not been one of them. It could be a long day for the Bucs if they don’t bring their A-game, which they haven’t brought for weeks now.
Taylor Jenkins: Chiefs Too Strong For Struggling Bucs
After a tough loss against the Los Angeles Rams on Monday Night Football, Tampa Bay gets to turn right around on a short week and host the reigning Super Bowl champions, the Kansas City Chiefs, in Week 12. The Chiefs enter the game as 3.5-point favorites and I think that’s honestly being a little generous to Tampa Bay.