The most anticipated showdown of the 2020 NFL season is finally here: Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers square off against Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. Brady and Mahomes have squared off in epic showdowns in their three previous meetings (when Brady played for the New England Patriots), with each matchup decided by seven points or less. Brady is 2-1 against Mahomes in his career, including a thrilling overtime victory in the 2019 AFC Championship Game.
This could be the final meeting between Brady and Mahomes since Brady now plays in the NFC -- unless the Buccaneers and Chiefs meet in the Super Bowl. Will Brady and the Buccaneers find a way to outscore the high-powered Chiefs offense? Can Mahomes continue his MVP campaign against a strong Buccaneers front? We'll find out soon, but here's everything you need to know for this potential Super Bowl preview.
How to watch
Mahomes continues to be the front runner for NFL MVP honors. The Chiefs quarterback leads the NFL in passing yards (3,035), touchdown-to-interception ratio (27 TD to 2 INT), and has multiple touchdown passes in nine of his 10 games -- tied for the most in the NFL this season. Mahomes has been at his best outside the pocket, throwing for 597 yards and tossing 12 touchdowns with zero interceptions. His play is why the Chiefs have the top-ranked offense in points scored and are second in yards per game. The Chiefs score on 53.1% of their offensive drives, which leads the NFL.
While Mahomes has been playing well, Brady has his moments in a Buccaneers uniform (25 TD to 9 INT) -- but his struggles with the deep ball are the focus heading into this one. Brady is 18-for-60 on passes of 20+ air yards with three touchdowns to just four interceptions -- and has not completed a deep pass in his last 15 attempts. During that stretch, Brady has thrown three interceptions. Tampa Bay's defense has also put more pressure on Brady to perform, allowing 29.3 points per game over the last three games and allowing opposing quarterbacks an average of 2.39 seconds to throw over that stretch -- third worst in the league.
The Buccaneers have to commit to the run if they want to beat the Chiefs. Kansas City ranks in the bottom third in the NFL in rush yards allowed per game at 133.5, while Tampa Bay running back Ronald Jones is averaging 4.9 yards per carry (seventh in the NFL). Jones has five games this season with at least 15+ carries, and he's rushed for over 100 yards in four of those games.
Mahomes has been playing well and the Buccaneers defense are struggling to get off the field, allowing 83.3% of red zone trips to be turned into touchdowns and a 47.4% third down conversion rate over the last three games. The Chiefs could make this a very long day for the Buccaneers if their defense doesn't get pressure on Mahomes.
Pick: Chiefs 34, Buccaneers 27
Check out CBSSports.com for even more expert predictions on this game and the rest of Week 13.