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Week 2 game preview: Bears at Buccaneers

The Bears try to bounce back from their loss but Tampa Bay looked good and will bring the heat.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Minnesota Vikings

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

SB Nation site: Bucs Nation

Record: 1-0

Last week: 20-17 win over the Vikings

Game day, time, TV: Sunday, noon CT, FOX

Spread: According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Bears are 3-point underdogs to the Bucs. The over/under is set at 43.5.

Bears all-time record against: 40-21

Historical meetings: The last time the Bears played the Bucs in week 2, on a Sept. 17, was 2017.

The Bucs had their way with the Bears every way they wanted. They scored 29 unanswered points.

Mike Glennon threw two interceptions, one of which was returned 47 yards for a touchdown.

Deep in garbage time, Glennon hit Deonte Thompson for a touchdown to save the Bears the embarrassment of a shutout.

They lost 29-7.

Last meeting: Week 7, 2021, the Bears were throttled 38-3. Rookie Justin Fields threw three picks while Tom Brady threw four touchdowns and set the NFL record.

Injury report: The Bucs had four players on their injury report, but Baker Mayfield was a full participant, so only three that were limited in some fashion.

Did not participate

  • CB Carlton Davis (toe)
  • DB Christian Izien (concussion)
  • DT Calijah Kancey (calf)

Offense: Gone is Tom Brady. Here comes Baker Mayfield. I get that Bucs fans have endured a lot of losing and bad QBs over the years, but I’ll save my empathy because they have two championships since the Bears last won one.

The offense enters week two ranked 26th in yards and 15th in points.

Their rushing offense ranks 25th and their passing offense ranks 19th.

Mayfield (61.8 cmp pct./173 yds/2 TD/0 INT), is playing his typical brand of football. He slings it. He plays tough. His targets, WR Mike Evans (6 rec./66 yds/1 TD) and WR Chris Godwin (5/51/0) made a lot of plays last week.

TE Cade Otton (2/19/0), WR Devon Thompkins (2/10/0) and WR Trey Palmer (2/8/1) are further down the pecking order.

On the ground, RB Rachaad White (17 att./39 yds./0 TD), RB Sean Tucker (5/15/0) and Mayfield (8/11/0) are making plays, but had a quiet game overall.

Defense: After only one game, the Bucs rank 12th in points allowed and 27th in yards allowed.

The disparity is even larger on the passing/rushing defensive splits. They rank first in rushing defense and 30th in passing defense.

Their defense is still led by some well-known players such as Lavonte David (8 tkls/2 TFL), Devin White (12 tkls/1 TFL), and week one Antoine Winfield Jr. (8 tkls/1 sk/1 FF/1 FR/2 QB hits).

Up front Vita Vea (4 tkls/1 TFL), Shaquill Barrett (4 tkls), and Joe Tryon-Shovinka (1 FR/1 tkl) will be rushing the passer. They didn’t get home last week, but if you saw the Chicago Bears’ offensive line last week, you know that probably isn’t worrying anyone in Tampa.

Key match ups: If the Bears’ offensive line can hold up against the Buccaneers’ defensive front, ideally they’ll have an easier time going downfield this week. Tampa strugged against Kirk Cousins, Justin Jefferson and the Vikings’ passing attack.

If the Bears can get DJ Moore involved early and often, that would help.

Todd Bowles is going to bring the heat. He loves to blitz. Expect the Bears to need a lot of quick passes or extra blockers.

On defense, it’s going to be imperative that the Bears actually get off the field on third downs. Last week they were atrocious. The Bucs last week weren’t great on third downs themselves (6/17) but they kept Baker Mayfield clean (1 sack). That will have to change for Chicago to get Baker to turn the ball over.

Key stats

  • The Bucs had three penalties for 19 yards in week one.
  • Baker Mayfield did not turn the ball over last week and had his best completion percentage and yards since week 15 last year, when he led the Rams to a blowout win over the Denver Broncos.
  • The Bears are 4-14 in their last 18 road games going back to the start of the 2021 season.
  • Chicago’s last win was on the road against the Patriots last season.
  • The Bucs were 5-4 at home last season in the regular season.
  • Tampa Bay had the second-highest blitz percentage in week one.
  • The Bears were one of six teams with no blitzes, according to Pro-Football-Reference.
  • The Bucs forced three turnovers and recorded two sacks against the Vikings.

Can the Bears put together a better game plan this week? Will they get better play in the trenches? What will it take for the Bears to get a win this week?