Ah yes, good ol’ Chicago.
The Bucs have deep history in the Windy City, going back back to the days when the Bucs and Bears were in the NFC Central division before the 2002 realignment.
Though there is plenty of history between the franchises, these two teams don’t know much about each other.
That should make for a fun game on Sunday. These five predictions will make it even better.
1. Khalil Mack records a season-high in sacks (Evan)
Yea, this sucks.
The Bucs were terrible against the Steelers’ pass rush last week and I don’t see it getting any better going on the road during a short week.
This isn’t a knock against the Bucs’ offensive line nor the coaching staff, but Mack is on another level when it comes to his skill and athleticism. Tampa Bay had issues with lesser skilled players last week, so why wouldn’t Mack give them trouble?
The hope is that when he does eventually get to Fitzpatrick/Winston that he doesn’t hurt one of them nor cause a turnover.
Demar Dotson and Donovan Smith will need to be at their best on Sunday. Mack had two sacks against the Cardinals last weekend and I think he improves on that number this week.
2. The Bucs hold the Bears to under 300 total yards (Evan)
Tampa Bay’s defense has improved each week and this week feels like the perfect opportunity to showcase just that.
After the Week 1 shootout with the Saints, they held the Eagles to 21 points and rendered the Steelers scoreless in the second half. They recorded three sacks in each game and are one of the league’s leaders in quarterback pressures.
The Bears aren’t the model of offensive excellence, either. They are near the bottom in terms of passing yards and are solid at running the ball, but it’s not enough to displace the passing game woes.
There should be seven defenders in the box for most of the game and the Bucs are competent enough at corner to hold their own against the not-so-talented receiving corps of Chicago.
The Bears have already been held to under 300 total yards twice against the Packers and the Seahawks. In all, it should be a good day for the defense.
3. Jason Pierre Paul adds another two sacks to his total (Alex)
JPP has been the Buccaneers best defensive lineman this season and it really hasn’t been close. Jason Licht sacrificed a third-round pick for him and so far he is getting a massive return.
Pierre Paul already has more sacks this season then any other Buccaneer defensive end had last season and he is also second in the league in terms of QB hits with 8. He is noticeable on almost every down, something Buccaneer fans haven’t seen since the days of Simeon Rice. JPP is on his way to a double digit sack total this season.
4. Mike Evans dominates... again (Alex)
When the conversation starts on the best receivers in the league, Mike Evans is rarely brought up. There is no question that Evans is at least a top five receiver, but he has been on another level through three games this season and he is coming for that number one spot.
He is too big, too quick and has added much needed speed down the field this season. It really doesn’t matter what you do, he is impossible to defend and a nightmare for defenses. Evans, will probably be matched up on Kyle Fuller, who is the Bears #1 cornerback for most of the game, but I don’t expect it to have much of an effect.
Mike Evans stat line: 9 catches, 145 yards, 2 touchdowns
5. Chandler Catanzaro is perfect... AGAIN (Evan)
Maaaaan, I’m going out on a limb on this one.
Alex was crazy enough to predict that he would hit all of his kicks last week and he did. It will be even harder to do so this week in Chicago, but I think it will be done.
A kicker’s mentality can be as frail as Chris Baker, but when they are confident, it’s hard to shake them out of said confidence.
Catanzaro does it again this week as the Bucs win by a field goal.