Next Sunday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will get a chance to do something only one team has done in the last year and three weeks: Beat the Kansas City Chiefs.
After losing to the Los Angeles Rams, 27-24, on Monday Night Football in Week 11 the Buccaneers will have a quick turnaround before facing the defending Super Bowl Champions on Sunday, November 29, with kickoff scheduled for 4:25 p.m. The Bucs don't have to use any of that short week traveling, however, as this marks the first time in 2020 that they will play consecutive home games. After that, the Buccaneers will slide into their long-awaited bye week.
But before that early-December rest comes one of the most anticipated games on Tampa Bay's 2020 schedule, a matchup of the G.O.A.T. and the young superstar who might one day challenge for that title. Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady owns that G.O.A.T. title in the eyes of many thanks to his league-record six Super Bowl championship, not to mention three league MVP trophies, four Super Bowl MVP awards and more games won than any other player in history. Meanwhile, in just his first three years as a starter, the Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes has already won his own league MVP award and the first of what could eventually be a shelf full of Super Bowl MVP plaques. This year, Mahomes has an incredible 27-2 touchdown-interception ratio and a passer rating of 114.3 as he has led Kansas City to a 9-1 record.
Before he left New England to join the Buccaneers this season, Brady had three contests against a Mahomes-led Chiefs squad. Brady and Mahomes split the two regular-season contests but it was Brady's Patriots that prevailed in a thrilling 37-31 AFC Championship Game after the 2018 season. Mahomes threw three touchdowns and no interceptions in that game but the Patriots prevailed and Brady got his sixth ring with a win over the Rams two weeks later.
Sunday's game at Raymond James Stadium obviously has significant playoff implications for both conferences. Kansas City's only loss since last November 10 was a 40-32 decision against Las Vegas in October, but the Chiefs avenged that defeat last Sunday in a 35-31 win that put them three games ahead of the Raiders in the AFC West. Kansas City is now prohibitive favorites to win their division, which makes 10-0 Pittsburgh and the battle for the AFC's top seed the biggest concern. That's particularly important given that there is no only one team that gets a first-round bye in the new 14-team playoffs.
Meanwhile, it's clear that the Buccaneers need to win virtually every remaining game to keep pace with the Saints and possibly retake the top spot in the division before the regular-season ends. New Orleans played the first of at least three games without Drew Brees in Week 11 but had little trouble dispatching Atlanta with Taysom Hill under center. The Saints improved to 8-2 with the victory, which means the Bucs are 1.5 games out in the NFC South after their loss to the Rams.
View photos of Tampa Bay's Week 11 matchup against Los Angeles.