Through The Spyglass: Bears Vs Buccaneers

0
616

It’s been a nice mini bye week for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after a Thursday night win over the Eagles last week. This time off came at a good time as the Bucs continue to try to get healthy, particularly in the secondary. At this point, it’s unclear how many players will return from injury. However, there is no need to rush them back for this game.

The Chicago Bears (3-3) travel south to Tampa Bay this weekend in a potential playoff preview. Bucs fans will remember this Chicago team well after the Buccaneers lost to the Bears last season. This season looks to be much of the same for these two teams with, hopefully, a few key differences. Here’s what you need to know about the Chicago Bears.

Fields of Dreams

For the last month the Bears offense has been led by rookie quarterback Justin Fields. There have been mixed results in that time, but keep in mind that Fields was widely considered the second best quarterback in the draft. He is very accurate and has the ability to hurt a defense with his ability to run when he chooses to.

The root of Fields’ struggles going back to college has been holding on to the ball for too long. As a result, he has been sacked 16 times in his four starts. This is a trend that favors the Buccaneers front seven. Assuming the game doesn’t completely slow down for him in his fifth NFL start, I would expect pressure on the young quarterback all day.

Running Against The Odds

The Bears offensive line is not considered a strength. They have lost their top two running backs and have turned to rookie Khalil Herbert to carry the load. Realistically, there’s no reason to think that Chicago should be running the ball with success. Despite that fact, running with success is exactly what they’re doing.

Herbert has run for over 170 yards in the last two games. On top of that, they’ve had a second runner crack 40+ yards in both of those games as well. The Bears commitment to running the ball and surprising amount of effectiveness have stood out this year. It’s unclear if they will continue to establish the run against this historically good Buccaneers run defense, but based on what I’ve seen so far this year they will likely try.

Monsters Of The Midway

No, this isn’t the 1985 Chicago Bears defense flying into town. It’s not even the same Bears defense it was a few years ago under then defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. However, this Chicago defense is still talented and dangerous.

The front seven of this unit is particularly strong; nearly on par with the Buccaneers. Khalil Mack is still one of the best pass rushers in the NFL. You might recall him flipping Bucs right tackle Tristian Wirfs like a rag doll last season. He is supported by Robert Quinn and Akiem Hicks to make a dangerous pass rush. Behind them, Roquan Smith is one of the better young linebackers in the NFL. Buccaneers fans know how much a talented young linebacker can impact a defense.

I wouldn’t expect this defense to completely shut down what might be the NFL’s best offense. However, don’t expect this to be extremely high scoring. 

X Factor

Most people know that Allen Robinson is one of the best wide receivers in the league. However, most might not be aware of the Bears receiver on the other side of him in Darnell Mooney. The second-year playmaker was drafted in the 5th round out of Tulane in the 2020 NFL draft. Since then he has proven to be an excellent compliment to Robinson.

Mooney has the speed and quickness to give opposing corners problems. Particularly the bigger and less agile corners like the type the Buccaneers typically favor. Look for Mooney to have a significant impact against a Bucs secondary that still isn’t 100%.

Overall

The Bears are a good team who could push for the playoffs this year. However, they have their fair share of weaknesses. The ability to protect Justin Fields and taking pressure off him with the running game will be key for the Bears chances. 

With that said, the Buccaneers are well equipped to take those things away from Chicago. The Bucs front seven is probably the best in the NFL. They can pressure the quarterback and eliminate the run. This projects as a bad day for the Bears.

Last year showed that this Chicago isn’t one to take lightly. Particularly for a Buccaneers team that’s far from healthy on defense. With that said, Tampa Bay should win this game. I’m not sure I like them covering the 13 point spread that they’re currently favored by, but I’d expect a comfortable victory.

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail