Ryan Fitzpatrick is one of the NFL’s most heartwarming tales because he’s proof that short hot streaks will always find you work in a quarterback-starved sport. He’s evidence that teams and coaches are desperate enough to invest in him as a backup passer, at minimum, ignoring the various and expected turnover-laden blemishes of his career.
That belief has led to another hot start for Fitzpatrick, or should I say, “Fitzmagic” as he leads the NFL in yards-per-pass-attempt at over 11. He’s galvanized an explosive offense in Tampa Bay, and the Buccaneers are one of the more surprising teams in the early goings of the 2018 season considering they had the Eagles, Saints, and Steelers on their schedule to kick things off.
Something tells me the Buccaneers’ offensive success thus far is more about having one of the best pass-catching groups in the NFL featuring Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, and O.J. Howard, than it is about Fitzpatrick being an elite quarterback. He’s bound to fall back to Earth anytime now, and very possibly against a great Bears defense on Sunday at Soldier Field.
As Pennywise The Clown says: we all float down here.
Here are Windy City Gridiron’s staff picks for Bears-Buccaneers.
Robert Zeglinski: Bears 24 Buccaneers 17
Whether it’s Fitzpatrick or Jameis Winston, an opportunistic Bears defense forces a few turnovers to galvanize a win going into the bye week.
Lester A. Wiltfong Jr.: Bears 28 Buccaneers 17
The Buccaneers have a talented group of receiving options that have been aiding Fitzmagic, but he won’t have the time necessary to consistently find them.
Jacob Infante: Buccaneers 21 Bears 17
This is depressing for me to write, but I feel that Chicago’s offense won’t be able to keep up with the high-octane Tampa Bay offense led by Fitzpatrick.
Aaron Leming: Buccaneers 24 Bears 21
As much as I want to pick the Bears, recent history hasn’t been kind against the Buccaneers. It comes down to scoring enough to win and I’m not confident the Bears can do that yet.
Jack Silverstein: Bears 21 Buccaneers 10
Four field goals by Cody Parkey, a Tarik Cohen 58-yard screen, and a Khalil Mack Truck safety cover the scoring as the Bears defense brings the curtain down on Fitzmagic with five sacks and four takeaways.
Sam Householder: Buccaneers 24 Bears 16
Here’s the thing: No matter which Buccaneers quarterback plays they’re both the same, and the Bears’ secondary is suspect. Meanwhile the Tampa Bay third-ranked rushing defense and 31st-ranked passing defense will make Mitchell Trubisky beat them. Have we seen evidence he can do that yet?
Josh Sunderbruch: Bears 20 Buccaneers 16
The Bears largely hold the Bucs to field goals, while Matt Nagy takes advantage of short fields and the defense provides a touchdown to power the Bears to 3-1 heading into the bye.
Erik Duerrwaechter: Bears 31 Buccaneers 27
It’s going to be a high scoring affair. With the red hot Bears defense at home going against a shaky quarterback situation in Tampa Bay, there should be plenty of sacks and takeaways to slow down whichever quarterback is in the lineup. It will also come down to if Trubisky can come through against a suspect Buccaneers secondary.
E.J. Snyder: Bears 27 Buccaneers 13
The Buccaneers offense is staggering a bit after their tilt with the Steelers while the Bears defense is firing on all cylinders. On the flip side, the Tampa Bay secondary is in shambles and for the first time in years, the Bears have enough weapons in the passing game to exploit it.
Andrew Link: Bears 27 Buccaneers 20
Fitzpatrick is most likely to get the start, and after Monday night’s performance, he can get rattled with pressure. Guess who’s good at pressuring the quarterback ...
Patti Curl: Bears 35 Bucs 21
Fitzmagic throws five touchdowns and looks good doing it. Never mind that two of them will be to Bears defenders. Trubisky moves the ball efficiently and throws for two scores, but has some ugly rushed throws with poor mechanics and a pick resulting from a catchable Dion Sims tip into the air. Bears fans beg Ryan Pace to trade Trubisky for Fitzpatrick.
WhiskeyRanger: Bears 27 Buccaneers 20
The Fitzmagic waned a bit last week when the Steelers were able to get some pressure on the beautifully bearded Tampa Bay quarterback. I feel like there’s a team whose primary strength lies in doing exactly that. If only I could remember who that team was?
Ken Mitchell: Bears 24 Buccaneers 17
Fitzmagic is no match for the Mack-Monster and company. Period.
WCG Contributors: Jeff Berckes; Patti Curl; Eric Christopher Duerrwaechter; Kev H; Sam Householder; Jacob Infante; Aaron Lemming; Andrew Link; Ken Mitchell; Steven Schweickert; Jack Silverstein; EJ Snyder; Lester Wiltfong, Jr.; Robert Zeglinski; Like us on Facebook.