1) Slow down Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson
The Bears secondary is in for a test, and it's not because of Josh McCown. Mike Evans has put together a very solid rookie season, and Vincent Jackson is Vincent Jackson, going up against Kyle Fuller, Tim Jennings, and Demontre Hurst. (in addition to my note from Wednesday, not only is the Bucs' offense higher-rated than the defense, but the passing offense is higher ranked than the rushing offense. Just saying.)
But Jackson's a big, reliable receiver, and Mike Evans may well be the top receiver from this year's draft class. Couple in that Evans has been huge the last three weeks, and these are the main offensive worries.
2) Protection, rinse and repeat
It feels like every week I say this (probably because I do), but let's recap really quick the Bucs' defense last week against the Redskins: six sacks, three interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown. Yeah, usually that kind of defensive performance leads to a victory. The Bears' pass protection held up well against the 30-sack Vikings, especially with the moving pockets, although Cutler didn't exactly cooperate with the whole "protecting the ball" bit. (Also, entering last week, that means the Bucs had only 13.5 sacks on the year and five interceptions.)
3) Welcome Back, Jeffery and Marshall
Also in the "If this happens, your team might win" category, the Bears got three touchdowns last week to Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall, something that the Bears have been struggling with the last few weeks (well, struggling offensively, period). Last week, the Bears were converting on a lot more of those contested deep throws when they went to them, but the overall production only led to 21 points because...
The Bears may well be the best team in the league at shooting themselves in the foot. Still too many penalties that kill drives. Still too many inopportune turnovers and bad incompletions. Still too many "creative" play calls that just don't work out. And while the Bears are at least getting a little better at field position with fewer three-and-outs, there's still much too much of the other stuff to take the offense seriously. Clean it up.
5) Jared Allen
Okay, Allen finally picked up his first win at Soldier Field, he's got two and a half sacks on the season including one last week against his former team - is he finally starting to put things together? Or is he just putting together a sub-par season? (These are not mutually exclusive options.)
Either way, since Lamarr Houston snapped his ACL, Allen's role has expanded, and that makes him important for a couple reasons - one, because his so far subpar pass rush can't be abided much longer; two, because Willie Young still needs his snaps monitored a little, especially with fourth option Trevor Scott also out; and three, because the Bucs' pass protection is not the most solid (27 allowed). Allen needs to pick it up, even if that means picking up more sacks off of turf.
6) Matt Forte, and Progression
Forte has been a reliable, well-used weapon this year, and that will only increase this week against the Bucs. With Lavonte David's status in doubt, the Bucs may not have a linebacking corps that can really keep up with the skillset Forte provides. As we've seen, however, Forte's big games don't necessarily translate to wins - the next step is building off what Forte does to move the offense and capitalize downfield with the big receivers. That's the part that's been missing in Forte's big games. When teams are drawn up to deal with Forte, go over the top.