Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Jones: Chiefs game is one Bucs aren't supposed to win but need to

FILE - In this Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016 file photo, Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid watches the action in the first half of an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, N.C.  Andy Reid and Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter will meet at Arrowhead Stadium for a reunion, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone, File) NY218

FILE - In this Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016 file photo, Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid watches the action in the first half of an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, N.C. Andy Reid and Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter will meet at Arrowhead Stadium for a reunion, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone, File) NY218

If you're an NFL team, there are three types of games:

Games that you are supposed to win. Games that you're supposed to lose. And games that could go either way.

Today is a game the Bucs are supposed to lose.

The Chiefs are more than a touchdown favorite. They have won five in a row.

They are an NFL-best 17-2 over their past 19 regular-season games. They have won 11 in a row against teams with losing records.

And they are especially tough at home — 16-4 since the start of the 2014 season.

"It's going to be a tough one, but you all know me," Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said. "It'll be fun. I love games like this."

Let's see how he feels around 4 o'clock this afternoon.

Chances are, not good. And there's nothing embarrassing about that.

Kansas City roughs up a lot of teams. Outside of the Patriots, you could make a case the Chiefs are the AFC's best team. Sports Illustrated has them No. 3 in their power rankings, ahead of the Pats and behind two NFC teams — Dallas and Seattle.

Tampa Bay, by the way, is 21st, so a Bucs loss today would be neither surprising nor disappointing.

But sooner or later, if you're going to take that next step as a franchise, you have to win games you're not supposed to. You need to pull off an upset that makes everyone go, "Whoa!''

Like today.

The Bucs have a lot of these games coming up.

After today's game at Kansas City, the Bucs have games left against Seattle and Dallas (remember them from a second ago in the Sports Illustrated power rankings?). Tampa Bay also has to go to San Diego, has a home-and-home left against New Orleans and finishes at home against defending NFC champion Carolina.

The Bucs might be favored to win, what, one of those games? Maybe two?

It starts with being a decisive underdog in Kansas City.

"I wish it could be a night game and they would wear all red and it just be packed in there, but I'm looking forward to it," Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston said. "They've got a great fan base. It's going to be a great game."

Great game?

The Bucs will have to run the ball better than they did a week ago against the Bears, when they gained 80 yards on 31 attempts, including Doug Martin's subpar day (33 yards on 16 carries). Facing a Chiefs team that is 27th against the run but 13th against the pass, running the ball will be crucial.

Meantime, Winston will have to continue his recent trend. He has thrown one interception in the past three games and two in the past five.

And the defense will have to play more like it did in the 36-10 win over the Bears than it did in the 43-28 loss to Atlanta the week before.

Even then, the Bucs still might not win.

For Tampa Bay, a victory would be surprising … but necessary if the Bucs are ready to take that next step.

Jones: Chiefs game is one Bucs aren't supposed to win but need to 11/18/16 [Last modified: Saturday, November 19, 2016 8:33pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Jameis Winston held his pro day at Florida State's indoor practice facility. His pro team will be getting one soon.
  2. Rays series preview: Who are the Pirates?

    Blogs

    After an off day Monday, the Rays head on the road to PNC Park for a three-game interleague series against the Pirates. Here's the information you need to know about Pittsburgh before the action kicks off.

    Record: 35-41, fourth in NL Central

    Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen, left, has rebounded from a rough start, while fellow outfielder Gregory Polanco, right, has fallen off recently.
  3. Countryside alum A.J. Andrews lands in ESPN's annual body issue (w/video)

    Softballpreps

    A.J. Andrews has taken over the spotlight in softball. Last year, the former Countryside High and LSU standout became the first female to win a Rawlings Gold Glove in the award's 59-year existence.

    Former Countryside and LSU softball standout A.J. Andrews will be among 23 athletes to be featured in ESPN The Magazine's body issue. "I have a really ripped back," Andrews says while laughing in the video. [Photo from video]

  4. James Wilder Jr. back at running back...in Canada

    Blogs

    Remember when former Plant High star and Florida State running back James Wilder Jr. announced he was switching to linebacker?

    That was short-lived, apparently.

  5. Cup-winning Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk makes Hockey Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman said Dave Andreychuk's name has surfaced often the past eight years with the selection committee.

    30 Oct 2001:  Left wing Dave Andreychuk #25 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates towards the blue line during the NHL game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada.  The Maple Leafs defeated the Lightning 3-2.  Mandatory Credit:  Dave Sanford /Allsport