The Tampa Bay Buccaneers face the Chicago Bears in just under half an hour, which means it’s time for predictions.
The Bears are only 2-6 and have effectively been eliminated from playoff contention, but they aren’t as bad as their record suggests. They’re not good, exactly, but their defense is better than the Bucs’, and so is their offense — at least if we can believe Football Outsiders’ estimations.
Meanwhile, the Bucs continue to be hampered by injuries, though they do get Doug Martin back. They also play at home, which isn’t actually a good thing for this Tampa Bay team that hasn’t won a home game in four attempts this year.
And despite all that, I’m actually pretty optimistic. I think the Bucs will be able to pull out the win. A close one, probably, and a low-scoring one: 20-17 sounds about right. The Bucs are healthier than they were last week, they got a few players back, and there’s an argument to be made that the blowout loss to the Falcons was mostly due to a short week. So: a win it is.
Not that that win will do them much good in the long run, but the Bears are an eminently beatable team that have played some horrendous games this year. If they can’t beat this Chicago team, then how in the world did they beat the Falcons in week one?