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Bears at Bucs Game Preview

| September 14th, 2017

Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?

I always like the Chicago Bears. (But a man can only take so much.)

Tampa Bay in 2016

Aside from their thumping of the Bears, on a day when Jay Cutler couldn’t stop turning the ball over, the Tampa offense was mediocre or worse for the duration of the 2016 season. Their rankings:

  • Yards per game: 18th
  • Passing yards per game: 16th
  • Rushing yards per game: 24th
  • Points per game: T-18th

The fact that a team with these stats won more games than they lost is impressive. But the Bucs made two significant additions to their offense this off-season: DeSean Jackson and O.J. Howard. Always. Be. Adding. Weapons.

On Jerrell Freeman’s Injury

Bears had 22 projected starters in July. 11 on offense and 11 on defense. Kyle Long, Prince Amukamara, Cam Meredith, Kevin White, Jerrell Freeman won’t be out there Sunday. Pernell McPhee will be limited. That’s 27% of their starting lineup not out there. And they’ve played one game.

Three Reasons the Bears Win

  • One-dimensional Bucs. After seeing the Bears front suffocate the Falcons rush game, with Freeman, it’s hard to imagine many teams having significant success running the football into Goldman, Hicks & co. That means this game will fall squarely on Jameis Winston and the passing attack. Can they carry the day in their first start and avoid turning it over? Hard to see it.
  • Tarik Cohen. Make no mistake about it, Bucs DC Mike Smith is spending way more time than he expected this week on The Human Joystick. Outside of Chicago, Cohen’s dynamic performance in Week One shook the football world, with Cohen establishing himself as the team’s most explosive weapon. If goal 1 of opposing defenses will be stopping the Bears run, goal 1A will be stopping Cohen. Not sure the Bucs have the personnel to do it.
  • Back to the Ground. Bucs allowed 4.4 yards per carry on the ground last season and over 117 yards per game. Bears will be handing the ball off and handing it off a lot this Sunday. Why? Because they watched the tape of their quarterback from last weekend.

Three Reasons They Don’t

  • The Bears are simply not a hard team to defend with this crop of receivers and, more importantly, this quarterback. Expect the Bucs to play the entire game in a phone booth and dare Glennon to beat them over the top. Since he can’t do that to anyone, it means the Bears will need 15 plays to drive the field and score touchdowns. Glennon can’t execute those kinds of drives consistently.
  • Much of it was scheme but the Bears must be a bit concerned by the complete lack of edge rush they displayed against Atlanta. If Vic Fangio continues to ask Leonard Floyd to keep dropping into coverage, the Bears will be giving Jameis enough time to look deep to Mike Evans and his new toy, Jackson.
  • Two themes of this team lately: failing to make crucial plays at the ends of games on offense and failing to make any plays at the starts of games on defense. Why would anyone assume either of these wouldn’t continue? Starting slow and ending poorly is a solid game plan if your goal is a top five pick in the next draft.

My Favorite Thing About Tampa

Tweet of the Week

Ask yourself this: what do the teams from this Tweet, not playing their home games in Detroit, have in common? Answer: they haven’t played the quarterback position at a professional level over the last two seasons. If you want to win close games, you need a quarterback to do it. Some things are not that complicated in the NFL.

Song of the Week

I have never heard this song before in my life but it sums up how the Bears are starting this campaign with its title.

Don’t Be Surprised If…

Mike Glennon keeps doing what he did Sunday against the Falcons. What does that mean? Nothing. He’ll do nothing. No great throws. No exciting moments. No stepping up into wide open pockets to avoid completely unnecessary sacks. But also no turnovers!  Yay! Thus giving John Fox no reason to get out his Howard Sims-Apollo Theater hook and bring on the future of the organization.

Glennon is delivering something of a worst case scenario for Bears fans. (More on this coming in tomorrow’s Weekend Show monologue.)

Don’t Gamble, But If You Do… (1-0)

I’m sticking with the under after last week’s success, even though 43 points is a tricky one. But I have reasons. (a) I think the Bears defense is legitimately good. (b) I don’t think the Bucs offense is anywhere near as dynamic as what they faced from Atlanta. (c) It’s going to take the Bears hours to put 6s on the board.

Both teams in the teens wouldn’t surprise me.

Game Prediction

What do you want me to say? Glennon is Glennon. He isn’t any good. Eventually the other team is going to catch one of his errant passes or take the ball away from him during one of his ludicrously taken sacks. Probably happens Sunday and the Bears will waste another staunch defensive effort.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27

Chicago Bears 14

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