(Sports Network) - As bad as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have it, at least
they're not the Kansas City Chiefs.
A dark horse in the AFC West heading into the season, coach Romeo Crennel's
team has had little beyond adversity thus far in 2012 -- and to top it off
they'll enter a Week 6 Sunday at Raymond James Stadium with backup quarterback
Brady Quinn making his first start in nearly three years.
Not only has Kansas City dropped to the division's basement, but it faces the
Bucs with an NFL-high 19 turnovers and coming off a desultory stretch in which
starting quarterback Matt Cassel had compiled an ugly 66.2 passer rating prior
to a concussion in last week's home loss with Baltimore, which was greeted by
cheers from the local crowd at Arrowhead Stadium.
Offensive lineman Eric Winston called the home fans' reaction "100 percent
Crennel was more diplomatic.
"This team needs to do more things to win," he said. "That's what we're going
to work on, try to get this team to do more of the right things so that we can
Quinn last started in the NFL on Dec. 20, 2009, defeating the Chiefs while
with the Cleveland Browns.
He was 3-for-3 for 32 yards and led Kansas City to a fourth-quarter field goal
upon entering the game last week against the Ravens. A touchdown connection
with Dwayne Bowe in that series was called back on a penalty.
"It felt great to be out there," Quinn said. "Matt is our starter and I just
prepare every week like I am a starter, and I prepare myself for the moment."
The ex-Notre Dame star has completed 52.5 percent of his passes for 1,934
yards, 10 touchdowns and nine interceptions while starting 12 of 15 career
On defense, the Chiefs went from giving up 24 points in four straight games to
holding Baltimore to just three field goals.
"If we will play like that going forward, we give ourselves a chance to win,"
Running back Jamaal Charles has a league-best 551 yards on 102 carries with
two scores, along with 15 catches for 118 yards and a TD. He broke out for 106
yards on 18 attempts when the Chiefs beat Tampa Bay, 30-27, at home on Nov. 2,
The Buccaneers opened 2012 with a six-point defeat of Carolina, but have gone
on to lose three in a row by a combined 15 points. In spite of the skid, Tampa
Bay is optimistic against Kansas City.
"You know what's great about this team is everybody's so encouraged. Nobody's
down," defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said.
The up-and-down Buccaneers scored 34 and 22 points in two of their games this
season, but slipped beneath 20 points in two others.
Not surprisingly, quarterback Josh Freeman threw for 110 yards at Dallas in a
16-10 loss on Sept. 23, but burst out for 299 against Washington in a 24-22
loss at home a week later.
Ex-San Diego Charger standout Vincent Jackson reeled in six balls for 100
yards and a score against the Redskins, reaching triple digits for the second
time in three games. Against Kansas City, he's averaged 63.8 yards and scored
three times in 10 career games.
On defense, Tampa Bay is 27th in the league, allowing 419 yards per game.
Still it's stiffened late in games and has given up just three second-half
field goals in the last two.
"You look at us on tape, and you say: 'Wow.' It's a play here or a play
there," offensive tackle Donald Penn said. "It's going to come, because it's
The all-time series is tied, 5-5, though Tampa Bay has won three in a row. The
Bucs beat the Chiefs, 30-27, when they last played in Kansas City in 2008, and
won a 34-31 decision in Tampa Bay in 2004.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
With a relative novice in Quinn at the helm, the availability of the league's
second-most prolific rushing attack could be a valuable asset for the Chiefs.
Back after missing most of last season with an injury, Charles has averaged
153.6 yards per game in his last three -- and has a league-high 133.8
scrimmage yards -- 551 rushing, 118 receiving -- per game for the season.
Against the NFC since 2010, he's averaged 118.7 rush yards per game, compiling
831 yards in seven games.
His dynamic style could be an issue for the Buccaneers' front seven and make
it incumbent upon linebackers Quincy Black, Mason Foster and Lavonte David to
tackle well. Injury replacement Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, brought in as a starter
in Week 3, will create the edge for the Bucs when they defend the run and
figures to be a primary target for the Chiefs to investigate.
Though they've won just two of nine games combined, the teams have been
maddeningly close to adding at least a few more to that total. And both have
the weapons on offense - the Chiefs with Charles running, the Bucs with
Jackson receiving - to pose a legitimate threat here. In the end, expect the
absence of Cassel to allow Tampa Bay to limit Kansas City's runners enough to
make a difference. Tie goes to the home team.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Buccaneers 20, Chiefs 19
The Sports Network