Who: Buccaneers (2-1) at Bears (2-1)
When: Sunday 1 p.m.
Where: Soldier Field, Chicago
Spread: Bears by 3 points (Odds courtesy of VegasInsider.com)
What to watch:
The Bucs QB situation
Despite Ryan Fitzpatrick becoming the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for 400 yards in three straight games, former starter Jamies Winston is available for the first time after a three game NFL suspension. Winston said all the right things on Wednesday in his news conference upon returning, especially that the Bucs are “in a win-win” situation, if “Fitzmagic” continues and they keep moving the ball and scoring TDs.
If he does not continue to play well, then Tampa Bay will turn back to the former #1 overall pick. It is expected that the veteran Fitzpatrick will start. However, will we see Winston at some point? Could be.
Will Khalil Mack cause serious problems, again
We’ve already seen the impact that the newly acquired Mack has had on Chicago’s pass rush. In all three games, he’s been a force, particularly off the left end. Mack has four sacks, three forced fumbles and even an INT return for TD already.
The Buccaneers have a large veteran right tackle in Demar Dotson, but it’s going to be tough for him to handle Mack for much of the game by his lonesome. Look for an extra tight end to put be on the right side some. And Tampa Bay may also try to use their screens, particularly to WR Adam Humphries, on the right side occasionally to slow down Mack.
Still the Bears and Mack have to licking their chops at this chance at home.
Bucs Secondary vulnerable?
Tampa Bay has got a serious problem with experience and health in their defensive backfield. After putting former first round pick DB Vernon Hargreaves on IR after week one, they put safety Chris Conte on injured reserve with an injured knee. The Bucs have turned to rookie draft picks M.J. Stewart, Carlton Davis and Jordan Whitehead for significant playing time in Monday night’s loss to the Steelers.
We wrote Saturday that perhaps the Bucs might be second guessing passing on former FSU, now Chargers safety, Derwin James when they had a chance to draft him. James has excelled in L.A. and the Bucs could surely use him.
Still Tampa Bay has a safety in Justin Evans who’s in his second year and played well and a veteran Pro Bowl caliber DB in Brent Grimes, too.
Let’s see if Bears second year QB Mitch Trubisky can take advantage of the the Buccanners youth.
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