Not many football matchups get better than when the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers take the field, especially since this week could be the final time Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes square off against each other. Brady and Mahomes have engaged in some epic duels in the past, yet the last showdown easily went to the GOAT. 

The Buccaneers and Chiefs will meet for the first time since Tampa Bay blew out Kansas City in Super Bowl LV, when Brady won his fifth Super Bowl MVP in a 31-9 romp. In that matchup, Mahomes put up the lowest passer rating he ever recorded in a game and was pressured on 52% of his dropbacks -- the most against any quarterback in Super Bowl history. 

Both teams have significantly altered their rosters since that Super Bowl matchup in February 2021, as neither team has returned to the Super Bowl since. Regardless, Tampa Bay and Kansas City remain as contenders for the NFL crown due to their talented rosters and the presence of their franchise quarterbacks. 

While this may be the final time Brady and Mahomes square off, Sunday's showdown is expected to be a memorable one between two of the game's great quarterbacks. Below is a preview of the Brady-Mahomes matchup and what the Buccaneers and Chiefs have to do to earn the victory. 

How to watch 

Date: Sunday, Oct. 2 | Time: 8:20 p.m. ET
Location: Raymond James Stadium (Tampa, Florida)
NBC | Stream: fuboTV (try for free)  
Follow: CBS Sports App 
Odds: PICK, O/U 45.5 (courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook) 

Brady vs. Mahomes

Brady and Mahomes have already squared off five times, which is impressive considering they both have played in different conferences over the past three years (have met twice since Brady signed with the Buccaneers). Of those matchups, two have been in the postseason -- with both those showdowns going in favor of Brady. 

Mahomes is 2-3 against Brady in his career, and Brady has the upper edge on Mahomes when it comes to the postseason. The only way Mahomes can earn a postseason win over Brady is if the Chiefs and Buccaneers can meet up in the Super Bowl again, which is what made Brady's victory over Mahomes so significant in Super Bowl LV. Brady established himself as the GOAT, making sure the next great quarterback didn't seize his throne. 

Here's a look at how Brady and Mahomes have fared in their five matchups over the years:

Tom Brady vs. Patrick Mahomes


Brady stats

Mahomes stats

2018 season, Week 6

24-35, 340 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, 109.2 rating

23-36, 352 yards, 4 TD, 2 INT, 110.0 rating 

Patriots 43, Chiefs 40
2018 season, AFC Championship Game

30-46, 348 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT, 77.1 rating

16-31, 295 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT, 117.0 rating

Patriots 37, Chiefs 31 (OT)
2019 season, Week 14

19-36, 169 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 63.3 rating

26-40, 283 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 83.6 rating

Chiefs 23, Patriots 16
2020 season, Week 12

27-41, 345 yards, 3 TD, 2 INT, 96.1 rating

37-49, 462 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT, 124.7 rating

Chiefs 27, Buccaneers 24
2020 season, Super Bowl LV21-29, 201 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT, 125.8 rating26-49, 270 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT, 52.3 ratingBuccaneers 31, Chiefs 9

Brady has completed 64.7% of his passes for 1,403 yards with nine touchdowns to five interceptions and a 92.2 passer rating against the Chiefs when Mahomes has started. Mahomes has completed 62.4% of his passes for 1,662 yards with 11 touchdowns to five interceptions for a 95.6 rating. 

Overall, the two are about even in their matchups -- with Super Bowl LV being the deciding factor thus far. Based on how Mahomes and Brady have played against each other, expect a high-scoring affair. 

How Mahomes can beat the Buccaneers defense

One thing Mahomes has in his favor is a much-improved offensive line that is one of the best at protecting the quarterback. The Chiefs offensive line has allowed just two sacks on the year (tied for fewest in the NFL) despite allowing a 37.6% pressure rate allowed per dropback (28th in NFL). Mahomes is blitzed on 31.6% of his dropbacks, the eighth most in the NFL. 

With the sacks per pressure rate for the Chiefs the lowest at 4.5%, Mahomes is going to have time to get the ball to his playmakers -- specifically Travis Kelce. Tampa Bay has given up 165 yards to tight ends this season (10th-most in NFL) and Mahomes targets the tight end 31.1% of his attempts (third-most in NFL). 

Tampa Bay has one of the highest percentages of zone coverage in the league, ranking sixth at 78.5%. Mahomes has completed 73.2% of his passes against zone coverage for 502 yards with zero touchdowns to one interception for a 93.0 passer rating this season. 

While the touchdowns have come against man coverage, Mahomes has proven he can take what's given to him in order to move the chains. His interception was also a forced throw in coverage on the final play of last Sunday's game with the Chiefs down three. Mahomes is 11th in the NFL in passer rating against zone coverage, but would be in the top 10 if not for that final play that resulted in a deflection for an interception. 

If Tampa Bay plays a high amount of zone coverage and can't get to Mahomes, he has a golden opportunity to pick apart the Buccaneers defense and move the chains on long, sustainable drives. 

How Brady can beat the Chiefs defense 

Brady is going to be at a disadvantage if his top receivers can't play in this one. He'll have Mike Evans back after serving his one-game suspension, yet Chris Godwin (hamstring) will be a "game-time decision" and was ruled questionable. Russell Gage (hamstring) and Julio Jones (knee) are also ruled questionable while Breshad Perriman (knee/hamstring) is ruled doubtful. If none of these players can go, Brady's top pass catchers at wide receiver will be Evans, Cole Beasley, Jaelon Darden, and Scotty Miller. 

The situation isn't ideal, especially for a team that has given up 477 yards and three touchdowns (16th in NFL) to wide receivers this year. The Chiefs played a depleted Cardinals and Colts roster at wide receiver, so Kansas City's secondary hasn't truly been tested yet. 

Having the full contingent of wide receivers would open up the passing game, especially against a Kansas City defense that has allowed running backs to catch 28 passes for 170 yards and a touchdown in three games. The 28 receptions allowed to running backs are the most in the NFL while the yards are the third most. 

Sunday would be an ideal game for Brady to dump the ball off to Leonard Fournette (nine catches, 54 yards) and Rachaad White (two catches, 7 yards) and allow them to make plays in the open field. Brady only targets his running backs 16.5% of the time, so perhaps there's an opportunity to change this strategy against an aggressive defense. 

If Brady doesn't have his top wide receivers, it doesn't make sense for him to force the issue to the ones he has. Fournette once caught 76 passes in a season (2019) and 69 last year. White has the ability to be a nice change-of-pace back and was one of the best pass-catching running backs in the nation last year. 

Brady has his meal ticket to put up points against the Chiefs defense.