The Kansas City Chiefs came into the season as the favorites to win the Super Bowl next year but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have caught up in the wake of their loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.
Kansas is now 1-1 after their heartbreaker in Week 2, while Tom Brady and the Bucs keep rolling.
Of course, the Chiefs are considered the very best in the NFL, especially after overhauling their offensive line following their Super Bowl failure this year yet there should be legitimate concerns over their prospects for this season. Super Bowl odds have both the Chiefs and Bucs at 9/2 while the Los Angeles Rams, Buffalo Bills, and San Francisco 49ers are behind at 11/1.
According to bookies.com here are deals in the image:
Sunday’s loss to the Ravens might just be a blip, though there are signs pointing to the contrary as the issues prompting the disappointment were pretty much the same ones that almost saw them lose to the Cleveland Browns in Week 1. There are problems that need fixing and the Chiefs could find themselves a visit shy of three consecutive Super Bowl appearances if they aren’t addressed sooner rather than later.
The Chiefs’ top players are still playing some sensational football. Patrick Mahomes is still among the top quarterbacks in the league while Travis Kelce and Tyreke Hill are phenomenal players. However, they can’t depend on the offense to carry them through the entire season and still deserving of some of the blame for the recent loss.
Mahomes was mostly great but probably cost his team some points with an ill-advised interception. Andy Reid’s play-calling was also suspect on the night and his hesitancy in letting Mahomes keep the ball on the final drive is likely something he regrets. There’s really no explanation for his decision to take the ball from Mahomes and run. Clyde Edwards-Helaire is also to blame as he simply shouldn’t have fumbled.
Rookie Creed Humphrey made a few poor plays that hurt the Chiefs’ chances of winning the game too. A bad snap strapped them to their own goalline and spoiled the drive that came after an interception from Tyrann Mathieu that could have given them a big early lead. He had a clear run at the linebacker who hit Mahomes on his interception but didn’t make the play.
The Bucs, meanwhile, have gotten right down to the business of returning to the championship game. The team was on the end of lots of praise for their bringing all 22 starters from last season back but they also deserve plaudits for the depth they have as it’s one of the main reasons they’ve won their first two games of the season.
Brady has nine touchdown passes, a personal best, while Rob Gronkowski is the first player in team history with at least four touchdown receptions in two games. However, some of the performances from some backups in a secondary unit ravaged by injury are also responsible for the early success.
Safety Mike Edwards made two interceptions for TDs in the fourth quarter of the victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. Andrew Adams, who was promoted from the practice squad last week, gave the Buccaneers some welcome flexibility too.
Coach Bruce Arians waxed lyrical over Edwards after his contributions during the Week 2 victory.
“Mike Edwards – hell of a football player. He plays a lot of positions and did a great job in that fourth quarter,” he said. “I mean he is just a ballhawk. He always has been since he’s been here. He finds the ball.”
“My rookie year I was still learning a bit, trying to learn (the) defense and being more comfortable,” Edwards said. “Last year, I felt really comfortable accepting my role. … This year, everybody just feels very comfortable playing with each other and knowing the whole defense, executing what we have to do out there.”
The organization made keeping their starters their priority in the offseason as it felt that would give the team the best chance of repeating last season’s achievement; they appear to be well on track so far. The win vs. Atlanta was their 10th straight, a franchise record, and they’ve scored 30 or more points in their past nine games, which is a league record for the most 30-point-plus performances in a victory.
“It’s great,” wide receiver Mike Evans declared. “I mean we’re putting up 30-plus points a game, so I’ll take that all day every day.”
Brady, ever the perfectionist, still wants to see improvement.
“What I think, and I’m sure other guys feel the same way, is we could do better. I really do,” he said.
“I think that is a fair assessment … but I think the great thing is we have more weeks to continue to improve,” receiver Chris Godwin added. “I think we’re going to keep getting better, and I think we’re going to keep learning from our mistakes. It’s a long season, it’s a long process. We are looking forward to it, though.”
As mentioned above, the veteran QB has a personal-best nine touchdown passes in two games. He’s got 35 completions split between 10 different receivers on Sunday, ending the outing with two touchdown throws to Gronkowski, another two to Evans, and one to Godwin.
While the team is rolling, Brady is right about their needing some improvement as it’s not all perfect. Arians agrees with the notion.
“I am not happy with the way we played,” he noted. “Loved the start, then we got lackadaisical. I liked the start of the second half. Then we get lackadaisical.”
The Bucs will come up against stern challengers when they face the Rams this week but are the 4/5 favorites to come out on top while Los Angeles has been given odds of 21/20.
“We haven’t played for 60 minutes yet. And that’s what we talked about. We are going to have to play 60 minutes to beat the Rams,” Arians reckons.
A victory against a formidable Rams team could see Tampa become the outright favorites for the Super Bowl by next week yet there’s a long season ahead. They certainly don’t appear willing to give up their crown, though.