The Kansas City Chiefs nearly pulled off one of the bigger upsets of Week 5 when falling to the Baltimore Ravens 9-6 last Sunday. They next will travel to Tampa Bay to take on the Buccaneers, where they have been installed as 3.5-point underdogs in the latest NFL odds.
Kansas City used an aggressive defense and a steady dose of running back Jamaal Charles to stay close to the Ravens Sunday, but alas were unable to reach the end zone to fall to 1-4 on the season. Tampa Bay is coming off their bye week and have lost three straight since their Week One victory against Carolina.
The cloud hanging over Kansas City this week is who will play quarterback against the Bucs. Matt Cassel was knocked out with a head injury in the fourth quarter against the Ravens. Prior to being sidelined, Cassel had struggled with just 92 yards through the air and a pair of interceptions.
If Cassel cannot go against the Ravens the Chiefs will turn to Brady Quinn, who hasn’t started an NFL game since 2009. Quinn performed admirably when filling in against the Ravens, but there is a big difference between coming off the bench for fill-in duty and being the starter when opposing defenses have all week to prepare for a quarterback’s particular skill-set.
Kansas City received another big performance last week from running back Jamaal Charles, who is emerging as one of the top running backs in the NFL. Charles helped keep the Chiefs within striking distance by running for 140 yards on 30 carries against the vaunted Ravens defense last week.
The Chiefs will need another big game by Charles and the running game if they are to get a win in Tampa Bay, but that could be easier said than done. The Bucs’ defense has been stout against run this year, giving up just 73.8 yards a game to rank 4th in the NFL.
The Chiefs were a “sleeper” pick to reach the playoffs by many during the preseason, but so far they have been a major disappointment. This week they face a team that is 3-1 against the spread despite their poor straight-up record. Given the uncertainty at the quarterback position for the Chiefs, and the fact the Buc’s have had two weeks to prepare, look for Tampa Bay to cover the 3.5-point line.