KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs faceoff against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the road on Sunday Night Football in Week 4, and while their offenses boast quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady, respectfully, both defenses have been nightmares for opposing offenses.
The Bucs are recognized for having one of, if not the, best defenses in the league led by Shaq Barrett, Vita Vea, Lavonte David and a suffocating secondary, the Chiefs have made strides in many defensive categories making them comparable to their SNF opponent.
The Chiefs and Bucs defenses units have been getting after the quarterback this season.
Kansas City has collected 10 sacks (5th in the NFL), just one behind the Buccaneers who have 11 (3rd in the NFL).
The Buccaneers have faced Dak Prescott, Jameis Winston and Aaron Rodgers while the Chiefs confronted Kyler Murray, Justin Herbert and Matt Ryan.
Linebackers Devin White and Barrett have combined for 5 of their teams’ sacks while defensive lineman Carlos Dunlap, Chris Jones, linebacker Nick Bolton and cornerback L’Jarius Sneed have 2 sacks each.
Even when they don’t get to the quarterback, both defenses have caused opposing QBs to be under constant pressure while trying to string together drives.
Kansas City has a league-high 49 pressures while Tampa sits in fifth with 36.
The onslaught of pressure has also led to 17 quarterback knockdowns for the Chiefs (2nd) and 13 for the Bucs (7th).
Quarterbacks under constant threat of being hit or sacked struggle to get the ball down the field and through three games, the Chiefs and Bucs are in the top-10 in yards allowed.
Kansas City has allowed a total of 942 yards (10th), 75 more than Tampa’s 867 (4th).
For comparison, Kansas City allowed the sixth most yards in 2021, while Tampa Bay remained in the top 20.
Both teams also sit in the top-10 in rush yards allowed and top-15 in passing yards allowed.
The Bucs have become famous for their ability to limit opposing offenses, but the Chiefs have shown a large improvement as their players continue to grow in defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s system.
Yards After Catch
When opposing quarterbacks are able to complete their passes, it’s the defenses job to make sure the play ends there and no additional yards are gained.
However, for the Chiefs, they sit near the bottom of the league in YAC allowed with 409 (25th). The Bucs remain in the top-15 with 314 (13th).
It’s not all doom and gloom for the Chiefs though, as they only have 93 missed tackles (4th) compared the Bucs’ 120 (26th).
Tackles For Loss
The most comparable defensive statistic between these two Super Bowl hopefuls is the tackles in the backfield that lead to a loss in yardage.
Led by Jones, Bolton in Kansas City and Barrett and White in Tampa, the Chiefs and Bucs are tied for 8th in the NFL with 15 tackles for loss this season.
The ability to limit plays out of the backfield leads to added pressure on the passing game, which is a category these two teams have already shown they excel in.
The least comparable defensive statistic is self-inflicted wounds, or penalties.
Though Kansas City’s loss to the Indianapolis Colts will be partially blamed on Jones for his crucial unsportsmanlike conduct that kept the eventual game-winning drive alive, it was one of only 12 penalties the Chiefs defense has seen this season which is good for 4th in the NFL.
The Buccaneers, however, are dead last in the league with 27 defensive penalties.
Sunday Night Football
It its notable that Kansas City will be without linebacker Willie Gay Jr., who is serving a four-game suspension, and Tampa will be without defensive tackle Akiem Hicks who suffered an injury earlier in the season.
The Chiefs have allowed over twice as many points as the Buccaneers through three games, creating a gap between how each team is ranked in total defense, but each defensive unit will face one of their toughest tests of the season when facing the quarterbacks on the other end.