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Buccaneers look to get offense back on track against Chiefs

KANSAS CITY (2-1) at TAMPA BAY (2-1)

Sunday, 8:20 p.m. EDT, NBC

BETTING LINE: Heads by 1½, according to FanDuel SportsBook.

AGAINST THE SPREAD: Chiefs 1-2, Buccaneers 2-1.

SERIES RECORD: The Buccaneers lead 8-6.

LAST MEETING: The Buccaneers defeated the Chiefs 31-9 in Super Bowl 55 on Feb. 7, 2021, in Tampa.

LAST WEEK: The Chiefs lost to the Colts 20-17; The Buccaneers lost to the Packers 14-12.

HEAD OFFENSE: OVERALL (7), RUSH (22), PASS (6), SCORING (4).

HEAD OF DEFENSE: GENERAL (10), RUSH (9), PASS (15), SCORING (17).

BUCCANEERS OFFENSE: OVERALL (27), RUSH (25), PASS (22), SCORING (T22).

BUCCANEERS DEFENSE: GENERAL (4), RUSH (5), PASS (12), SCORING (1).

REVENUE DIFFERENTIAL: Leaders minus-1; Buccaneers plus-4.

HEAD PLAYER TO WATCH: The kicker. Harrison Butker has been out since the opener at Arizona, when he sprained his factory ankle on the shoddy field. Replacement kicker Matt Ammendola was solid on his debut but missed a short field goal and an extra point last week at Indianapolis, part of a catastrophic Kansas City special teams meltdown. He was let go earlier in the week, and the Chiefs signed former Jacksonville kicker Matthew Wright as insurance for Sunday.

BUCCANEERS PLAYER TO WATCH: WR Mike Evans is coming off a one-game suspension for his role in an on-field scrimmage in New Orleans two weeks ago. His absence last week against Green Bay left Tom Brady without his top three receivers. With Chris Godwin (hamstring) and Julio Jones (knee) also sitting, Brady went head-to-head against Aaron Rodgers with a receiving lineup of newly signed Russell Gage, Breshad Perriman, Scotty Miller, Jaelon Darden and Cole Beasley, who made his Tampa Bay debut after just three practices. Brady threw for 271 yards, but only one touchdown.

KEY MATCHUP: Chiefs QB Pat Mahomes against a defense he lit for 462 passing yards and three touchdowns in 2020, only to struggle later this season in a 22-point loss to Tampa Bay in the Super Bowl. Bucs LB Devin White had 12 tackles – two for losses – and one interception in the title game. LB Shaquil Barrett is looking for a sack in his third straight game against Mahomes.

KEY INJURIES: Butker (ankle) could miss his third straight game for Kansas City. DE Mike Danna (calf), RB Ronald Jones II (illness) and WR Mecole Hardman (bruised heel) missed practice this week. The Bucs will likely wait until the end of the week to determine whether Godwin, Jones and LT Donovan Smith (elbow) will play after sitting out the previous two games against the Saints and Packers.

SERIES NOTE: The Bucs have won six of the last seven meetings between the teams, including 31-9 in the Super Bowl two seasons ago. The teams also met during the regular season in 2020, with the Chiefs winning 27-24. Kansas City led 27-10 early in the fourth quarter before Brady threw a pair of touchdown passes to Evans.

STATS AND ITEMS: The Buccaneers moved football operations to South Florida to avoid Hurricane Ian, training during the week at the Miami Dolphins practice facility. … The Chiefs are 45-2 since 2018 when they hold their opponent to 27 points or less. … Kansas City has scored a field goal in 16 straight games, tying the second-longest streak in franchise history. … Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes needs 152 passing yards to reach 20,000 for his career, becoming the fastest player in NFL history to accomplish the feat. … Mahomes threw his first interception of the season last week at Indianapolis, ending a streak of 233 pitches without one. It is the third longest streak in franchise history. … TE Chiefs Travis Kelce could move within a game of Tony Gonzalez’s franchise record by catching an assist in his 131st consecutive game. … The Chiefs have had at least one sack in six straight games. … Chiefs DE Carlos Dunlap needs two sacks to become the NFL’s eighth active player with 100. … LB Nick Bolton had the first two sacks of his Chiefs career last week at Indianapolis. … Chiefs CB L’Jarius Sneed had seven tackles, a sack, a quarterback pressure, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery against Indianapolis. … In 17 regular-season home starts since joining the Bucs in 2020, QB Tom Brady has thrown for 45 touchdowns to 14 interceptions. … Brady (10,622) and Mahomes (10,436) rank first and second in the league in passing yards since 2000. They are second and third in passing TDs with 86 and 83, respectively, behind Aaron Rodgers (89) .

FANTASY TIP: The Bucs have scored three offensive touchdowns — none on the ground — in three games. As Mike Evans returns from a one-game suspension, look for Brady to try to get the receiver more involved on eight occasions for 1,000 yards, especially in the red zone.

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