Chicago Bears/Tampa Bay Buccaneers Recap
The Chicago Bears are rolling so far in the 2020 season with four wins against just one loss. Can they keep it up?
Last week, Tampa came into Chicago on short rest and thought they’d easily win the game. Not so fast my friend. The Bears won 20-19 on the strength of clutch play by QB #9 Nick Foles and a solid but not spectacular defense led by LB #58 Roquan Smith.
WR #12 Allen Robinson – Without Tarik Cohen, the Bears simply don’t have many weapons for Nick Foles to utilize. Robinson had his usual unexplosive game against Tampa. It wasn’t fantastic but it was reliable. He was targeted 16 times by Foles and he caught 10 passes for 90 yards. If the Bears offense really wants to improve, they need to gather more big weapons with a wide catch radius. They need explosive playmakers. Robinson is good, but not great in my opinion. He’s an ideal #2 receiver, but where is the Bears #1 wide receiver? They don’t have one. GM Ryan Pace needs to address this unit again in the offseason by either trading for a premier wideout or drafting another one. Chicago could benefit richly from someone big and tall with athletic jumping ability and speed. Just because Kevin White was a bust a few years ago doesn’t mean Pace should stop trying. He needs to keep addressing this until he finds the guy that can put Coach Nagy’s offense into the stratosphere. Meanwhile, for this week we’ll throw Allen Robinson a Game Ball, and hopefully he’ll catch it.
ILB #59 Danny Trevathan – I’ve been bagging on Danny all season so far. Trevathan finally played a good football game against the Bucs. He recorded 8 total tackles, 7 solo stops, and had one PBU. You could see better speed and instincts in his play, which completely helped the Bears defense as a unit. Maybe he finally got in better shape or got healthy from a previously unreported injury. We don’t know for sure, but we do know that the defense performed better without the weak link which he had been over the first four games of 2020. If Danny can keep this up, the Bears will have the best linebacking unit in the entire NFL.
Player of the Game
OLB #52 Khalil Mack – The “Mack Daddy” returned on Thursday night! He recorded 3 tackles, 2 sacks, 3 QB hits, and 1 PBU. Those are good stats, but as usual with defensive players, especially defensive linemen, statistics are only part of the story. Mack provided big time pressure all night long, making Tampa QB Tom Brady edgy in the pocket. Mack was the best player on the field, as he often is, especially in primetime games. He has a feel for producing when the lights are shining the brightest.
Chicago Bears vs Carolina Panthers Preview
Today the Bears (4-1) travel to Charlotte, North Carolina to take on the surprising Carolina Panthers (3-2). According to Sports Betting Dime, the Panthers are favored by just one point on gameday after being favored by as much as 3 points earlier in the week. Even yesterday, the Panthers were 2.5 point favorites. What changed? Did the oddsmakers finally learn that Carolina’s superstar RB Christian McCaffrey has been sidelined? Maybe that DT Kawann Short is out for the season with a shoulder? That DE Brian Burns is doubtful with a concussion?
The more I study this matchup, I think the Bears are going to win again. Carolina is overrated. According to the Football Outsiders Almanac 2020, the Panthers were the second worst team in the NFL last year with a Total DVOA of -26.7%. Their offense was 28th and their defense was 25th. This year they have QB Teddy Bridgewater but now that RB McCaffrey is hurt, I just don’t see how they’re 3-2 much less very good at all. They have beaten the Falcons, Cardinals, and Chargers over the last three weeks after losing their first two games to the Raiders and Buccaneers.
As you can see, the Panthers and Bears have two common opponents. The Bears are 2-0. The Panthers are 1-1. Former Bears castoff RB Mike Davis is filling in superbly for McCaffrey. He has 46 carries for 220 yards and 1 TD, almost all of his attempts over the last three games. He’s in a good place. Will he be angry at the Bears for signing him last year but then getting released so quickly?
What does Football Outsiders think so far in 2020?
- Chicago Bears (4-1) : 23rd overall, 26th offense, 5th defense, 25th special teams, 21st DAVE ranking which combines preseason prediction with rest of season likelihood
- Carolina Panthers (3-2) : 14th overall, 9th offense, 23rd defense, 22nd special teams, 26th DAVE
Overall, we think the Bears are simply a better team than the Panthers. Just because the Panthers have had a good start and are favored by one point doesn’t mean they can count this as a win. Don’t forget Carolina was 5-11 last year, second worst team in the NFL. The Bears were 8-8 and 15th in the NFL.
As with most games, it comes down to motivation level. Carolina has won three in a row. They are sitting there pretty happy with themselves right now. Tampa Bay felt the same way last week.
Chicago’s defense is the best unit on the field and they will be the difference. I expect a few sacks and takeaways from Mack, Roquan, Eddie Jackson, Kyle Fuller, and the boys. We also think RB David Montgomery will break out with a big day on the ground. PICK: Chicago
Chicago Bears 23 Carolina Panthers 13
Week 5 Prediction Recap
- Week 5 Prediction: Chicago Bears 23 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20
- Week 5 Result: Chicago Bears 20 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 19
2020 Season Results
- Chicago Bears : 4-1
- Dutch Lion : 5-0
Like the Bears, the “Dutch Lion” is rolling in 2020. Let’s keep rolling in the deep, Adele. Enjoy the game!