There is no question that there was some uncomfortable uncertainty as to where the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were going to play their home game against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night. There were various alternative locations discussed, including Minneapolis. Of course, that was because of the presence of Hurricane Ian, which was expected to do a lot of damage to the Tampa Bay Area.
Well, it did do some damage, but fortunately for Tampa Bay residents, the worst of it was confined to the west coast of Florida near Fort Myers. What that means is that Sunday night's game is going off as scheduled at Raymond James Stadium at 8:20 p.m. ET. BetOnline customers will be able to see it on NBC.
The Buccaneers have scored three offensive touchdowns in the first three games, and no more than one in any single game. So obviously there's some dysfunction in what they've been doing.
You can't really blame it on the new regime, which includes the same offensive coordinator, Byron Leftwich, who was there under Bruce Arians. Maybe there have been a lot of distractions caused by Tom Brady's retirement, then unretirement, and the marital problems that have come as a result.
More than likely, however, the cause has been the thinning out of the receiver corps, due to injuries.
Well, Tampa Bay is about as healthy at the receiver spot as it's been since the beginning of training camp. And obviously that's good news for Brady, who was frustrated quite a bit by the Saints a couple of weeks ago and the Packers last week.
Against Green Bay, he did put the ball up 42 times and completed a 31 of those passes, but until the waning moments, when the team put together a touchdown drive but fell short on the two-point conversion, they were held to just six points.
They hope for more luck dealing with a team that has allowed seven touchdown passes in the first three games.
In the Sunday Night Football betting odds posted on this game by the folks at BetOnline, the Buccaneers are a slight favorite:
Tampa Bay Bucs -1 (-125)
Kansas City Chiefs +1 (+105)
Over 47 Poionts -110
Under 47 Points -110
These teams were last seen together on a football field in the Super Bowl two seasons ago. And it was an odd atmosphere, taking place in front of no fans at this very location. In that one, Patrick Mahomes was under siege, because of injuries ripping apart his offensive line. But management has rebuilt that line, and they had managed to put together a more reliable running game as well as keeping Mahomes' jersey clean, so to speak. They have allowed just two sacks in three games, and the general consensus among football people is that center Creed Humphrey may just be the best in the business.
But without Tyreek Hill, the Kansas City passing attack is missing that extremely explosive elements that put all defense is on notice. They have acquired very capable people, like Juju Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Clyde Edwards-Helaire has caught a pair of touchdown passes, as Kansas City has established itself as the hyphen capital of the NFL. But there's no one to throw a whole lot of scare into the opposing secondary when it comes to the Deep strike.
So we will look for Travis Kelce, who's got 17 catches thus far, to continue to do his business. And Mahomes learned last year that it's not such a sin to keep the chains moving by throwing the ball underneath.
Still, we kind of like campus chances, as a welcome back Chris Godwin, Julio Jones and Russell Gage, who have been hampered with injuries, as well as Mike Evans, who got in that Infamous brawl in New Orleans a couple of weeks ago and had to sit out a game on suspension because of it.
One thing you can still say about the Buccaneers defense is that they have the ability to keep an opponent one-dimensional. With the small number, we will stick with the home team.
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