The Bears (0-1) completely flopped in a 38-20 Week 1 loss to the rival Green Bay Packers. Many of the same defensive issues that plagued Chicago last year remain, especially, a complete lack of pressure on the opposing quarterback. The biggest concern, however, was on offense where young signal-caller Justin Fields was completely out of sync with his receivers and the O-line was completely helpless.
Head coach Matt Eberflus will need a much better effort from his team as they head to Tampa Bay for a Week 2 matchup with the Buccaneers (1-0). This is a much different team than the 2022 version, with legendary QB Tom Brady retiring and being replaced by Baker Mayfield. They still have two very good wide receivers in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin that are still capable of going off at any time even with a diminished quarterback.
The Bucs best talent is on their defense, Lavonte David and Shaquil Barrett are excellent linebackers. The real star however is the absolute beast of a nose tackle, Vita Vea, who is almost unblockable at times. They were able to force three turnovers in a surprising 20-17 win in Minnesota over the Vikings in Week 1.
The Bears will have to play much better this week if they want to avoid an 0-2 start. Tampa is hardly a juggernaut so they are beatable but an effort like last Sunday is just not going to do it. If things don’t improve this week it might be getting late awful early at Halas Hall.
Where to Watch/Listen
- Sunday, September 17 at 12:00pm CT on FOX, WBBM Radio (English), and WRTO Radio (Spanish).
Keys to Victory
- Get rid of the ball quickly in the passing game. The Bears offensive line is going to be overmatched by Vea and Tampa’s D-line so distributing the ball quickly will be very important.
- Make D.J. Moore a big part of the game plan. The game changing receiver Chicago traded the first overall pick for in 2023 was only targeted twice against the Packers. That is just unacceptable, he has to be involved on every drive either with passes or handoffs and reverses. If he doesn’t touch the ball 10 times Sunday it will be a failure.
- Take advantage of Mayfield’s mistakes. The Tampa quarterback can be exciting to watch but a big part of that is his propensity to turn the ball over. The Bears have to capitalize on those chances to have a chance to pull out a win.
Don’t Tell Me the Odds
Tampa Bay is favored by 2.5 points, the standard number for a home team in a game considered an even matchup. The over/under of 40.5 is about as low as you can get for an NFL game, so Vegas clearly expects a defensive battle.
It’s Football Weather
It’s going to be very hot and humid at Raymond James Stadium Sunday afternoon with a temperature of 88 degrees with a heat index near 100. There is a chance of thunderstorms and a southwest wind at about 7 miles an hour.
Chicago has a better defensive performance but the offense has more issues blocking and the Buccaneers will take home a 17-13 victory that comes down to the wire.
Official Bears Preview