The Chicago Bears are out of the playoff hunt. So are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. So on paper this might not seem like a very important game for either team-- but that would be an inaccurate assessment.
Each of these teams are trying to establish an identity; they are looking for a reason to be optimistic about 2016. Lovie Smith had a rough start in Tampa Bay, but we're starting to see his players rally around him. The Bucs at one point showed enough of a flash that they were in the NFC playoff hunt, but the last few weeks have shown they're not quite there yet.
The Chicago Bears have all but forgotten about the Phil Emery- Marc Trestman regime, and look like a completely different team than the historically bad 2014 version... But the last few weeks of the season proved that they still aren't quite ready yet to be in the playoff discussion.
So while outsiders might say that this game doesn't mean anything, you can bet John Fox and Lovie Smith will be rallying the troops in an effort to build some momentum for next season.
The question is, which team will do it? Stay tuned...
This is your Bears vs Bucs pre-party Open Thread... Have fun!