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Week Five Game Preview: Bucs at Bears on Thursday Night Football

| October 7th, 2020


How much does a pirate pay for corn?

Buck an ear.


Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?

I always like the Chicago Bears.

And I think the offense will get better in the weeks to come. Do I think they’ll be at full stride tomorrow? No. But I think signs of progress will be evident, as they work towards getting the new quarterback up to speed.


On Brady’s Bucs…

As always, you can go look at the statistical rankings and draw your own conclusions on Tampa’s strengths and weaknesses. I watch the Short Cuts of all their games on Sunday Ticket and try to give you in-game insights.

  • Tom Brady’s approach isn’t particularly different than it was in New England. Every once in a while he’ll take a deep shot (Scotty Miller is his guy down there) but his bread is still buttered by the quick toss, intermediate stuff to tight ends and small white receivers and a diverse collection of screens. When Brady’s in rhythm, he’s unstoppable. When he’s pressured out of that rhythm, he’s been giving the defense opportunities to make plays on the football.
    • It could be a product of age, but Brady’s arm strength seems to come and go over the course of a game. He had no zip on the football early against LA. He was flinging it in the third quarter.
    • Mike Evans has become a possession receiver. And a good one.
    • The injury report will have a massive say in what this offense looks like tomorrow night. Most of the skill guys in Tampa are on their report.
  • Ronald Jones power runs are the tone-setters for this offense but Jones has been a real asset in the passing game lately. Will be an interesting test for Roquan Smith, coming off arguably his best game as a Bear.
  • Defense can be attacked vertically, especially on early downs. If the Bears think they can take the same approach they took Sunday and try to bully the Bucs on first downs with the run game, they’ll find themselves behind the chains all day long. (The Chargers had zero success with early-down runs.) When the Bears find themselves chasing down and distance, they need to expect Todd Bowles to bring pressure and attack that pressure with the screen game.
  • An element of the Bucs passing game that the Bears must be ready for is the tight end verticals. O.J. Howards is out for the season but don’t be surprised if that injury doesn’t increase Rob Gronkowski’s role in the game plan.

In Honor of the Buccaneers, My Five Favorite Big Screen Pirates

(5) Steve the Pirate, Dodgeball

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(4) Captain Hook, Hook

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(3) Pirate King, Pirates of Penzance 

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(2) Smee, Disney’s Peter Pan

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(1) Dread Pirate Roberts, The Princess Bride


Worth the Gamble

Sometimes the best advice for a gambler is don’t gamble.

I’m a bit confused by the Chicago Bears right now and I’m not putting a nickel on tomorrow night’s game. But there’s one bet you can make that’s basically a coin flip. Take the Bears to score first at $20 and you’ll win $43.60.


Tweet of the (Short) Week

I bought this book. You should too.


Haiku/Letter

Dear Matthew Nagy,

Heard you’re an offensive “mind”.

You mind showing us?


Game Prediction

The Bears are forcing opposing quarterbacks to execute long drives to get into the end zone and not many are getting there. Brady will have a period of success in this game but Chicago’s defensive front should do enough to keep that period short.

And so it comes down to the offense. While Matt Nagy derided the team’s run game failures in his Monday presser, this is not the week to over-commit to it. The Bucs swarm the football on early downs and feed off intricate pressure packages when they get you behind the chains. This week, throw to run.

Foles improves and hits a few deep.

Chicago Bears 24, Tampa Bay Bucs 23

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