When the Kansas City Chiefs (1-4) travel to Tampa Bay to square off with the Buccaneers (1-3) Sunday, the matchup could be one of the sloppiest games we see all weekend.
This isn’t the sexiest of matchups, but both teams are trying to get back on the right track and will do whatever it takes to get there.
As much as both defensive units will try to keep this a low-scoring affair, there are too many stellar offensive players on each team; this matchup has shootout written all over it!
Who ya got?
Where: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL
When: Sunday, October 14 at 1 p.m. ET
Live Stream: NFL Sunday Ticket
Listen: Online at NFL Audio Pass
Betting Line (via Covers)
Over/Under: 40; Spread: Tampa Bay (-3.5)
While the over is the easy way to go here, as this game is likely to turn into a shootout, the spread is a bit more difficult to judge. Despite being at home, the Bucs will underestimate the Chiefs and KC will win outright. Take Kansas City +3.5.
What’s At Stake?
Both teams have only one victory on the season, and getting back to their winning ways is imperative to their success moving forward. Tampa Bay is coming off a bye week and should be rested, but the Chiefs are ready to bounce back after a heartbreaking loss to the Ravens.
With both teams fighting for so much, this is the kind of NFL battle that casual fans will overlook. Don’t sleep on just how entertaining two teams fighting for their lives can be.
Injury Report (Via ESPN)
No injuries reported.
Peyton Hillis, RB, Questionable
Kendrick Lewis, S, Questionable
Matt Cassel, QB, Questionable
Buccaneers’ Player to Watch: Josh Freeman, QB
While the Buccaneers have been struggling to start 2012, much of that blame must fall on the shoulders of young QB Josh Freeman. With just 790 yards through four games, the supposed future of the Tampa Bay franchise has been mediocre at best.
Add in the fact that Kansas City brings its stingy pass defense—ranked eighth in the NFL allowing only 205.8 yards per game—and Freeman’s efficiency will be the deciding factor in the outcome of the game.
The ultimate undoing of the Tampa Bay offensive unit will be their turnovers, as the Chiefs team begins to get healthy and start attacking the ball like they did last year. With a turnover in each loss this season, Sunday’s defeat will fall on Freeman’s shoulders.
Chiefs’ Player to Watch: Jamaal Charles, RB
With the injury to starting quarterback Matt Cassel having many experts question if he will be able to start Sunday’s game, the biggest offensive role will be played by speedy back Jamaal Charles.
After having 30 carries in two of his last three games, Charles has been the biggest key in the rush attack and his 15 receptions prove he is a viable threat out of the backfield as well. The Chiefs will need their star playing his best Sunday if they want to beat Tampa Bay.
As bad as the Buccaneers have been this year, their run defense has been spectacular. Tampa Bay has only allowed 73.8 yards per game and ranks fourth-best in the NFL so far in 2012.
Charles will blow those numbers up with a huge performance Sunday, though.
Prediction: Kansas City 34, Tampa Bay 24
After what should be an out-of-character game for each team—both teams predicated on stellar defensive play—it will be the Kansas City Chiefs standing tall over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Tampa Bay is at home and coming off a bye week to face the 1-4 Chiefs; that has "trap game" written all over it.
With Kansas City’s dedication to the rushing attack led by Jamaal Charles, the Chiefs will control the clock and the tempo of the game. While Tampa Bay will showcase its talent as well, KC will be too much in the end and the Buccaneers will fall to 1-4.
Check back for more on the National Football League as it comes, and don’t miss Bleacher Report’s NFL page to get your fill of all things football.