We have a who’s who in the matchup between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs. Justin Houston returns for his first game of the season.
Welcome to Week 11, folks. The Chiefs enter this week as tops in the AFC West. The Kansas City Chiefs are on a five-game winning streak and return home for a contest against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs have had an up-and-down season so far, but stand as the No. 2 team in the NFC South. But the big story this week no matter the outcome, will be the return of Justin Houston. Now for the matchup breakdown.
Tyreek Hill vs. The Buccaneers Secondary
Hill has continued to see his opportunities grow so far this season. Last week he logged 39 snaps on offense, and lead the team with 13 targets in the passing game the most for any receiver on the Chiefs since Week 2. This week Hill faces the 20th ranked pass defense according to Football Outsiders. In the secondary is first-round rookie Vernon Hargreaves III who has had a rough first half of the season ranking as the No. 111 cornerback overall by PFF.
Along with the fact that Jeremy Maclin missed Wednesday practice, and may be out for a second straight week. Tyreek Hill should be in line for a healthy dose of targets this week, and could top 100 yards for the first time this season.
Nov 13, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Kansas City Chiefs running back Spencer Ware (32) looks to elude Carolina Panthers defensive back Leonard Johnson (23) during the second half at Bank of America Stadium. The Chiefs won 20-17. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
Spencer Ware vs. Buccaneers Front 7
Against the fourth-ranked rushing defense last week, Ware ran for 61 yards on 13 carries for a healthy 4.7 yards an attempt. This week he takes on a bit of an easier opponent in the Buccaneers 15th ranked rushing defense. The Bucs defensive line sees 60 percent of runs aimed between or behind the guards and are allowing an average of 4.47 yards for 29th in the league. The Chiefs run the ball between or behind the guards 54 percent of the time, but are only averaging 3.64 yards per attempt for 23rd in the league.
If the Chiefs are able to take advantage of the Bucs interior weakness, Spencer Ware should be in for another productive day. It’s tough to speculate how the Chiefs will attack the Bucs defense, but expect Ware to get his fair load and continue to be effective.
Justin Houston vs. Buccaneers Offensive Line
Welcome back, Justin Houston! After originally being expected to start last week against the Panthers. Houston will be suiting up this weekend against the Buccaneers in Kansas City. Against the Bucs Houston will go against the 17th-ranked pass protecting defense. Offensive tackles Donovan Smith and Demar Dotson are ranked 65th and 22nd, according to PFF. So far this season the Bucs have given up 24 sacks with an adjusted sack rate of 6.3 percent (league average is 6.1%).
However, their line has given up 69 total QB hits. Which is second in the league only to the Browns. Something that may also assist Houston is the emergence of Dee Ford. Ford is currently tied for first in number of sacks so far this season (10). Andy Reid could line them up on opposite or the same side, forcing the Buccaneers to single block one of them.
With all that in consideration this should be a great matchup for the Chiefs. The Bucs are a good young team who are dealing with some inconsistency issues. The Chiefs themselves have struggled often on offense this year.
They have not scored a touchdown since the first quarter against the Jaguars, but this week will be facing the 26th ranked defense in points allowed. This will also be Doug Martin’s second game back after missing seven weeks with an injury. The Chiefs have continued to struggle in run defense (outside of the red zone), so it should be interesting to see how they hold up against the Muscle Hamster. Guess only time will tell.