Tuesday, August 14, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

What to watch in Bucs-Chiefs

You know that Arrowhead Stadium is a tough place to play. Here are a few more story lines to keep track of as the Bucs face the Chiefs today:

1 Can Cameron Brate match a Bucs record by catching a touchdown in four straight games? The tight end from Harvard has caught one in each of the past three, and if he can do it again against the Chiefs, he'll join an elite group of Bucs.

Mike Evans did so as a rookie in 2014, Joey Galloway did it in 2004 and 2005 and the others are Bruce Hill (1988) and Antonio Bryant (2008). No Bucs player has caught touchdowns in five straight games in the same season.

Brate is tied for the NFL lead among tight ends with five TDs, and since Week 3, the first game after the Bucs waived Austin Seferian-Jenkins, his five touchdown catches are one off the NFL high at any position. Receivers Evans, the Giants' Odell Beckham, the Packers' Jordy Nelson and the Titans' Rishard Matthews have six each.

2 Can Jameis Winston match his rookie total for TD passes? Winston threw 22 last season, and with seven games left in his sophomore season he already has 19.

Winston is on pace for 34 touchdown passes, which would be the fourth highest ever for a quarterback in his second NFL season. Dan Marino had 48 in 1984, Kurt Warner had 41 in 1999 and Blake Bortles had 35 last season. Even 30 touchdowns in a second season has happened only seven times in NFL history.

3 Can the Bucs get another win against Andy Reid? Reid's Eagles eliminated the Bucs in wild-card games after the 2000 and 2001 seasons, and Tampa Bay got its revenge in the 2002 NFC Championship Game, with Ronde Barber's 92-yard interception sealing a 27-10 win on the way to a Super Bowl championship.

Reid has won the past two meetings against the Bucs, a 33-14 drubbing of a winless Bucs team in 2009 and a 23-21 win in 2012 in which Nick Foles threw a touchdown to Jeremy Maclin (out with injury for the Chiefs this week) as time expired.

4 Can the Bucs extend their longest active win streak against any team? Tampa Bay has won four straight against the Chiefs, the only active win streak of longer than two games they have against any team in the NFL.

Those AFC opponents only come once every four years for the Bucs. The last time the Chiefs beat Tampa Bay, Joe Montana was involved. He threw three touchdowns in a 27-3 Chiefs win in 1993 in Tampa.

Another way to look at it: The last time the Chiefs beat the Bucs, Evans was two weeks old and Winston wouldn't be born for another four months.

5 Can the Bucs win the turnover margin, and perhaps the game? The Chiefs lead the NFL in turnover margin at plus-14, and that has been a huge part of their success under Reid. Without it, they're quite vulnerable.

In his four seasons as head coach, Kansas City is 21-0 when its turnover margin is plus-2 or better — literally unbeatable. But if it's just plus-1 or even in a game, it's a rather ordinary 11-7. And in the rare instance that it loses the turnover margin, even by a single turnover, it's 6-12 under Reid.

Naturally, it's tougher to beat the Chiefs at Arrowhead, where they're 21-7 under Reid. But if you can somehow be at plus-2 or better against them in turnovers — again, good luck pulling that off — those teams are 5-1. Fail to do that, and again, the Chiefs are 20-2 at home under Reid.

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