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Three Keys to Beating the Buccaneers: Defense

1) Be an Earnest Graham Cracker. (mass groaning ensues)

With LeGarrette Blount doubtful with his knee injury, Earnest Graham is an eighth year back that will take over the majority of carries. He's been primarily used this year as as a receiver out of the backfield, though as a runner, he isn't exactly bad, just a bit of small sample size. On the year, he has 35 carries for 193 yards - a 5.5 YPC. For his career, he's built up a 4.28 YPC on only 475 carries. And last week against the Saints, he doubled his carry load - 17 carries for his first 100-yard game in three years. He's been a career backup, but when he's played, he's played fairly well.

As far as the Bears' run defense, after being lit up in the first five weeks of the year, they redeemed themselves by holding the Vikings to only 53 yards rushing. Is this the real Bears' defense, or will they return to the form they displayed earlier in the year?

2) Don't Let The Tight End Loose

Tight ends have ripped the Bears apart this year, as tight ends this season have combined for 456 yards on 38 receptions with 5 touchdowns. And the Bucs have a very solid tight end in Kellen Winslow Jr., who leads the team in receptions with 27. He hasn't scored a touchdown this season (those have gone to Regis Benn, Mike Williams and Preston Parker), but given the Bears' track record, it's easy to see the possibility here for Winslow.

3) Stick to Coverage

I'm not sure how much of a chance I see here for good pressure/sacks by the line, as Freeman's only been sacked eight times this season. But Freeman's been trying to do a little too much with his throws, and he's been a little more careless with the ball - he's already reached his total interceptions for last season, although he didn't throw one last week. Lovie's already remarked he's disappointed with the Bears' inability to take the ball away this season, so I'd say this'd be a good week to stick to coverage and make an opportunity for a pick happen.