The Kansas City Chiefs will take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday afternoon at Raymond James Stadium. Both teams have struggled out of the gate, winning just two games between them and the loser will have a tough time legitimately talking about turning things around.
All the talk surrounding the Chiefs this week has been less on their terrible 1-4 record and more about the Kansas City fans reaction to QB Matt Cassel’s concussion last week against the Baltimore Ravens.
That concussion has knocked out Cassel for this week, but it’s his carelessness with the football that will likely keep him on the sidelines for the rest of this season. The quarterback has been responsible for 14 of the Chiefs league worst 19 turnovers. Will a change in quarterback change that trend for Kansas City? It better if they are going to take down Greg Schiano’s Bucs.
The Bucs season started out on a high note with a 16-10 victory over Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers. Since then they’ve dropped three straight against teams from the NFC East before using the bye week to recover.
In their week off, Tampa Bay no doubt talked about how to stop the electric Jamaal Charles. The Chiefs running back is leading the league in rushing, something that clearly hasn’t been lost on the Bucs. CB Aqib Talib — who was suspended by the NFL this week — made it clear he didn’t view the Kansas City passing game as anything to worry about.
Here are the three players to keep your eyes on Sunday as the Chiefs try to pull of the upset in Tampa Bay.
Offense: Brady Quinn
As Cassel’s struggles mounted throughout the season, the common response from the fans was: “Quinn can’t be any worse!” When it comes to turnovers, it would be hard for any quarterback in history to match Cassel’s futility, but other than that it shouldn’t be assumed Quinn will be better.
This will be Quinn’s first start in an NFL game since 2009 and when he was under center, the results were ugly.
The 27-year-old has completed just 52.4% of his career passes and owns just two games with a percentage over 60%. To put that in perspective, there are currently 20 quarterbacks in the league averaging over 60% for the season.
Quinn looked sharp when he took over for Cassel against the Ravens and will need to bring that sort of confidence with him to Tampa if he is going to carry the Chiefs to their second victory.
Defense: Justin Houston
The secret is now officially out. The second year linebacker turned in another great performance last week and is now third in the NFL with six sacks, including two multi-sack games.
While fellow LB Tamba Hali has had some brief moments where he has looked like the guy we are used to seeing, Houston has been in the quarterback’s back pocket on almost every opportunity. He’ll need to continue playing at that sort of level to get his hands on Bucs QB Josh Freeman.
Freeman has struggled mightily this season, but he’s been a tough guy to bring down. Only four signal callers have been brought down less than Freeman, who has been sacked just seven times in four games. Houston has yet to face this sort of moving target, providing a unique challenge for the young pass rusher.
Special Teams: Dustin Colquitt
With an offense that can’t be counted on to put points on the board, Colquitt’s leg has been a huge asset to Romeo Crennel. If you take away his worst game of the season — Week 2 against the Bills — Colquitt has put 11 of 15 punts inside the 20.
Outside of the nightmare at Buffalo, the longest return Colquitt has given up is 10 yards and Tampa Bay has yet to turn in one longer than 13. Keeping pressure on the Bucs poor special teams will be a big part of the Chiefs path to victory Sunday.