The Chicago Bears (2-6) open up the second half of the 2016 season on Sunday as they travel to Florida to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-5). The Bears are well rested and probably as healthy as they’ve been since the August Preseason. Can they continue their recent improvement and get a win on the road? The Bears are looking for their first road victory (0-4 away from Chicago this year) while Tampa is searching for its first home win (0-4 in Tampa, 3-1 on the road). How strange is that?
Keep An Eye On – #92 Pernell McPhee
There’s just something about Pernell McPhee’s presence in the Bears huddle. He has looked good in his return from the injury that has plagued him since last year. He’s played in just two games but the Bears defense did well in both, losing at Green Bay but defeating Minnesota at Soldier Field. He was just getting his feet wet in Lambeau, but on MNF he showed his relentlessness on the edge as he sacked Vikings QB Sam Bradford once and hit him a team high 4 times. His pressure also helped his teammates #94 Leonard Floyd, #96 Akiem Hicks, and #90 Cornelius Washington. If #91 Eddie Goldman returns from his high ankle sprain as expected, look for the Bears defensive line to turn in their best game of the season against a solid offense led by QB Jameis Winston. Without a great running game due to almost all of their RB’s getting injured (Doug Martin, Charles Sims, Jacquizz Rodgers, and Antone Smith have all been hurt……ahem, received “owies” as Coach John Fox likes to say), the Buccaneers will have to rely on the passing game. If McPhee, and the Bears D, can hold down the long passing plays to emerging WR Mike Evans, look for the Bears to win this game.
Aikman Efficiency Ratings
- Chicago : 24th Offense, 15th Defense, 22nd Overall
- Tampa Bay : 17th Offense, 27th Defense, 26th Overall
NFL Stat Rankings
- OFFENSE (Edge: Tampa Bay)
- Chicago : 15th Total Offense, 12th Passing, 24th Rushing, 31st Scoring (16.4 ppg)
- Tampa Bay : 14th Total Offense, 17th Passing, 16th Rushing, 18th Scoring (22.5 ppg)
- DEFENSE (Edge: Chicago)
- Chicago : 12th Total Defense, 12th Passing, 14th Rushing, 14th Scoring (22.4 ppg)
- Tampa Bay: 28th Total Defense, 27th Passing, 25th Rushing, 29th Scoring (29.0 ppg)
The Buccaneers are favored by 1 point at home. They’ve lost 2 in a row (Oakland, Atlanta) and have a rare 3rd consecutive home game. The Bears meanwhile are coming off of their bye, have won their most recent game in a surprising MNF home victory over Minnesota, and have only played once since October 20 at Green Bay. With Jay Cutler looking solid at QB and with so many once injured players seeking an eye-opening splash in their return, I’ll pick the Bears to score their most points in a game this season (Previous high was 23 at Indianapolis). The Bucs have already given up the following points this season (24, 40, 37, 27, 14, 17, 30, and 43. The Bears allow 22.4 ppg while the Bucs score 22.5 ppg so I’ll give them…….22. I’ll give the Bears 30.
Week 10 Prediction:
- Chicago Bears 30
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers 22
- Bears Record: 2-6
- My Record: 3-5 (I should have picked the Bears on MNF over the Vikes b/c of my “gut feeling” but instead I took Minny 19-12. Bears won 20-10.)
- Bears will score their most points in a game this year, upping the 23 scored at Indy.