Week 12 of the 2020 NFL season has several inter-conference match-ups, highlighted by Chiefs versus Bucs Sunday afternoon.
Both teams enter the game after close contests in Week 11, with vastly different results.
Tampa Bay lost 27-24 to the Los Angeles Rams on a late field goal. Tom Brady had another uneven performance with just 216 yards and two interceptions, though he did have a couple touchdowns as well.
Of course, Kansas City won thanks to more late-game heroics by Patrick Mahomes, who completed a touchdown pass in the final minute to defeat the Las Vegas Raiders 35-31 Sunday night.
Kansas City seems poised for another postseason run while Tampa Bay is looking to find some consistency. The Bucs have two separate three-game winning streaks this season but have dropped two of their last three games. Brady and the offence have been feast-or-famine while the defence continues to be one of the best in the NFL.
Tampa Bay sports the top run defence in the league (73.0 YPG) and are second in the NFL with 14 interceptions. Kansas City is the best passing team in the NFL (308.2 YPG) so this will be an intriguing match-up. For Tampa Bay to succeed they will need to shut down the Kansas City run game to put Mahomes in unfavorable down-and-distance situations. Easier said than done.
If the Chiefs have one weakness it is their 27th ranked run defense (133.5 YPG). However, the Bucs are not exactly equipped to exploit it as they only rush for 98.3 yards-per-game, which is 26th in the NFL.
The only chance Tampa Bay has is to play keep-away from Mahomes and the dynamic Chiefs offence. After a huge game for Ronald Jones in Week 10 against Carolina (23 carries, 192 yards, TD), he struggled against a tougher Rams defence with just 24 yards on 10 carries. He will need to find at least a middle ground between those two efforts to be effective on Sunday.
Kansas City is a stronger team overall, but the Tampa Bay defence could keep it close. In situations like this, the talent on offence for the Chiefs may be able to wear down the Bucs late.
I anticipate a close game with Kansas City making one or two plays in the second half to create some separation.
Prediction and Pick: Chiefs (-3) 27 – 21 Bucs
-- by Tyler Robinson