In Week 11, Arrowhead Pride’s contributors were united in their belief that the Kansas City Chiefs would defeat the Las Vegas Raiders — but almost all expected a bigger victory. The point spread of our aggregate prediction of a 41.8-21.4 Chiefs victory was five times too large. But our readers — while confident in a victory — were a little more cautious. 87% believed the Chiefs would win, but 29% thought it would be a close game.
Let’s see what our staff — and our readers — think about the Week 12 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Tom Childs (@tomchilds56)
Anyone for another shootout? Because that is exactly what we will be getting on Sunday afternoon. A lot of has been made about Tom Brady’s lack of accurate deep passing this season — but as he has shown in the past, he doesn’t need to beat the Chiefs by taking shots. Instead, the savvy vet will use his experience to keep the Bucs in the game. But if we’ve learnt one thing in the last couple of seasons, it’s that we always back Patrick Mahomes in a shootout. Chiefs 38, Buccaneers 28
John Dixon (@Arrowheadphones)
I can’t help it. I see this game through the lens of 2018’s Week 6 game against the New England Patriots, the 2018 AFC Championship and last season’s 23-16 road victory against the Patriots. Two years ago, Tom Brady had the edge. Now, the edge belongs to Mahomes. Chiefs 27, Buccaneers 24
Ron Kopp Jr. (@Ron_Kopp)
The matchup with Tampa Bay will challenge the Chiefs as much as any team has — or will — this season. Say what you want about some recent Buccaneers’ losses, they are one of the most complete teams in the league. Their defensive front will present a great challenge for the Chiefs offensive line. The linebackers are athletic enough to limit production from Kansas City’s tight ends and running backs. On the flip side, their offense could take advantage of the Chiefs’ defensive weaknesses. Starting guard Ali Marpet should be back in the lineup, which will help return their offensive line to being one of the league’s best — and lately, the Chiefs’ pass rush has left a lot to be desired. If they can’t get consistent pressure on Tom Brady, he will use his plethora of high-level weapons to tear through the Chiefs secondary. This will be one of the most memorable games of the Mahomes era, as he takes enough advantage of a young Tampa Bay secondary to outlast the GOAT. Chiefs 45, Buccaneers 42
Matt Lane (@ChiefinCarolina)
This is a game that a lot of people have had circled since the NFL schedule was released: the old GOAT vs. GOAT version four. The Chiefs are coming into this game from a come-from-behind victory against the Raiders, while the Buccanneers have dropped two of their last three games. Neither team is playing their best football; both are using this game as a barometer for where they stand going forward. When the Chiefs have the ball, they should be able to take advantage of a very aggressive coverage unit — and finally push the ball vertically down the field. The key will be the makeshift offensive line holding up against a quality — but not great — Tampa Bay pass rushing unit. When the Buccaneers have the football, Kansas City will have to improve their tackling — and their ability to bring the pass rush home. The last few weeks, the Bucs’ offensive line hasn’t been great — and if they want to slow down that offense, the Chiefs NEED a get-right game from Frank Clark and Chris Jones. The first half looks like a shootout — with both offenses clicking — but in the second half, the Chiefs pass rush will start getting home while the offense keeps rolling. Chiefs 38, Buccaneers 31
Matt Stagner (@stagdsp)
The Bucaneers are loaded, yet inconsistent. They’re led by a guy with a full trophy case, but a declining arm. The Chiefs are now the champs — and they're working on a dynasty. This game will at least be interesting because of the contrast of new vs. old — and because of the potential for fireworks with talented groups of skill players on both offenses. But I think there's a real chance the Chiefs drop the hammer (h/t to the Voice of the Chiefs) in Tampa Bay — and the game ends up lopsided. Mahomes won't be outplayed, Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill are on a different level this year, and Big Red may pull out the 'A' script. Chiefs 48, Buccaneers 35
Craig Stout (@barleyhop)
On paper, this seems simple: protect Patrick Mahomes and hit Tom Brady regularly. This season, we’ve seen some abysmal Buccaneers losses at the hands of teams that were able to do just that — and the Chiefs are perfectly capable of repeating the task. However, the Chiefs have had some protection issues this season — and the Buccaneers are capable of piling on the pressure. On the flip side, the Chiefs defense has lately struggled with pressure — and could have major issues tackling the Buccaneers’ big-bodied weapons. If the Chiefs execute, this could be a blowout in their favor. Unfortunately, I think the defense may struggle for another week, allowing Tom Brady to hang with Mahomes in a shootout. The Buccaneers get a couple of stops through their pass rush — and the Chiefs lose a close one. Buccaneers 34, Chiefs 31
Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson)
The Chiefs don't get to catch their breath after a tough divisional game on national television. They're back on the road, playing a team fresh off a Monday night loss. I think it's a shootout — one that Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs ultimately win. The defense doesn't fix any of their problems in a significant way from the week before, but the offense carries the team to a big win. Tom vs. (Show)Time evens out at 2-2. Chiefs 38, Buccaneers 33
Pete Sweeney (@pgsween)
This was the closest I have come to picking an opposing team against Kansas City in a very long time. Entering this game, the Chiefs’ lack of quarterback pressure in the narrow win against the Raiders is a concerning sign, as the Buccaneers offer high quality players at every skill position. I have a hard time wrapping my head around how the Chiefs defense will stop the Buccaneers — especially if Tom Brady can get into an early rhythm. Still, I think Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill are playing the best football of their respective careers. In what I expect to be a shootout, I just can’t bet against them. Chiefs 38, Buccaneers 35
Which team wins Chiefs (9-1) at Buccaneers (7-4)?
This poll is closed
Chiefs in a blowout
Chiefs in a close game
Buccaneers in a close game
Buccaneers in a blowout
Ties in the standings are broken with prediction points error — how much each prediction misses the actual point spread and the number of points scored by each team.
As the only member of the staff who foresaw a Chiefs victory by fewer than 17 points, John Dixon’s 38-31 prediction (with just six points of error) gave him his first win of the season. Ron Kopp Jr.’s 45-28 pick was second with 26 points of error. This created a shakeup at the top of our standings. John took over the top spot, pushing Craig Stout and Kent Swanson into second and third place.