The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are looking to move to 2-0. The only thing that stands in their way are the Chicago Bears who will be traveling to Tampa this weekend. I have made it no secret that I expect this to be a Bucs win.
Obviously there is a lot that happens over the course of 60 minutes that shapes these games. How the Bucs arrive at victory will obviously be what’s talked about more so than the fact that they won.
Here are my bold predictions for the Buccaneers game vs the Bears.
Vita Vea gets to Justin Fields multiple times
The Bears offensive line is a work in progress. One area where the progress part of that may be lacking is the interior of the offensive line. And when you are starting across from a pro bowl caliber, 350+ lbs nose tackle then that is a very scary thought.
That will be the case when Vita Vea takes the field on Sunday. The 2021 pro bowler led the Bucs with 6.5 sacks last season. Now with improved pieces around him, that number could increase this season.
The Buccaneers will likely make a conscious effort to keep Justin Fields contained in the pocket and not break off big runs. This means that the pocket will eventually compress from internal pressure, AKA Vea overpowering his opponent. I am expecting him to bring down the quarterback more than once this weekend.
Buccaneers find offense early.
The first 27 minutes of the Bucs game last week were painful. Especially for anyone who likes offense of any kind. The Buccaneers managed just three points in that time, which were set up by a fumble and an offensive drive where they didn’t move the ball at all.
However, the offense found their rhythm just before halftime and into the second half. I believe that will be more of the norm than the first 27 minutes of last week. That is particularly true this week as they go against this Bears front seven.
Baker Mayfield now has a little bit of chemistry with the offense. Last week was the first time playing with his full cast and he had only played two preseason drives with basically any of the starters. I’m predicting that the offense generates as many points in the first half of this game (17) as they did in the entire game last week.
Double Digit Win
The Bucs are winning this game. That doesn’t count as any type of bold prediction because they are favored to win this game. However, I think the manner in which they win this game will be surprising to many outside the Tampa area.
While I do believe the Bears are improved this year, I don’t think this game will be that close. And despite many national media members believing the Bucs are one of the worst teams in the NFL leading up to the season, there is an obvious talent gap between these two. That gap is in the Bucs favor.
I would be somewhat surprised if the Bears kept this within double digits. Not because of the performance they put on the field last week, but because the Buccaneers are and always have been that much better on paper. I’m predicting that the Bucs win this game by at least ten points.