Sunday, October 2, 2022 08:20 PM (ET)
Last Meeting ( Feb 7, 2021 ) Kansas City 9, Tampa Bay 31

Patrick Mahomes and the visiting Kansas City Chiefs are prepared to test their mettle against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a high-profile showdown on Sunday night.

The game remains in Tampa, Fla., despite Hurricane Ian making landfall in western Florida on Wednesday. The NFL adopted a contingency plan of Minneapolis for Sunday's contest before electing to keep the game in Florida.

While expressing sympathy for those affected by Mother Nature, Mahomes said the plan remains the same as the Chiefs (2-1) brace for the Buccaneers (2-1).

"For us, it's an away game regardless," Mahomes said Wednesday. "So, you're going to be going somewhere else to play. So, you just have to focus on the gameplan, and try to prepare yourself that way."

Mahomes and Brady are no strangers to one another, with the former holding a 2-1 edge in regular-season play while the latter has gotten the better of both postseason matchups. Brady guided the New England Patriots to a win over Kansas City in the AFC Championship Game of the 2018 season before quarterbacking the Buccaneers past the Chiefs in Super Bowl LV.

Tampa Bay's defense arguably was the star of the show in that game and can make that same claim this season by surrendering a league-best 9.0 points per game.

Linebacker Shaq Barrett provided some bulletin board material on Wednesday by comparing the Chiefs' offensive line that took the field on that day to the current one.

"I really don't think it's too much of a difference," Barrett said with a laugh. "I think we have a lot of favorable matchups. We have an opportunity to really dominate the game. I think we've got an opportunity to really impose our will as pass-rushers, as edge rushers in this game. We can really have a coming-out party."

Brady, however, appears to be waiting for the party to start this season. The three-time NFL MVP has thrown for just 673 yards and three touchdowns in three games after setting franchise records in both categories last season (5,316, 43).

Brady, 45, threw for 271 yards and one touchdown in Tampa Bay's 14-12 setback to Green Bay last Sunday.

Russell Gage had 12 catches for 87 yards and a score for the Buccaneers, who played without wideouts Mike Evans (suspension), Julio Jones and Chris Godwin.

While Evans will return to the fold against Kansas City, the returns of Jones (knee) and Godwin (hamstring) are not set in stone. Jones, Godwin and Gage (hamstring) joined tackle Donovan Smith (elbow) in being listed as questionable for the game, while wideout Breshad Perriman (knee/hamstring) is doubtful. Defensive tackle Akiem Hicks (foot) has been ruled out for the contest.

Mahomes started the season with a brilliant five-touchdown effort in a 44-21 victory over the Arizona Cardinals before turning in a pair of relatively mediocre performances. The 2018 NFL MVP threw for just 235 yards in a 27-24 win over the Los Angeles Chargers and completed just 57.1 percent of his passes in a 20-17 loss to the Indianapolis Colts last Sunday.

Buccaneers coach Todd Bowles isn't buying any potential offensive woes for the Chiefs, however.

"The running game has picked up. They've got big offensive linemen down there. They've got bigger receivers -- as opposed to smaller, quicker receivers -- that can catch the ball very well," Bowles said. "They've still got (Travis) Kelce, they've still got (Clyde Edwards-) Helaire, they've still got a lot of pieces and Mahomes has only gotten better since we played them. He was great then, he's great now, he's gotten better."

Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker was ruled out for the third straight game after he sustained an ankle injury in the season opener.

Kicker Matthew Wright and linebacker Elijah Lee were elevated from the team's practice squad on Saturday.

Wright, 26, has made 25 of 28 field-goal attempts and 20 of 22 extra-point tries in 17 career games with the Pittsburgh Steelers (2020) and Jacksonville Jaguars (2021).

Kansas City defensive end Mike Danna (calf) also was ruled out, while wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling (abdomen) and defensive end Joshua Kaindoh (illness) are questionable to play on Sunday.

--Field Level Media

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