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Thursday Night Preview: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Charge Into The Windy City To Take On The Bears

I’m not sure if there has ever not been a sloppy Thursday Night contest and I don’t anticipate this one being any different.

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Thursday Night Preview: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Charge Into The Windy City To Take On The Bears


Estimated Reading Time: 4 Minutes

Welcome to Week 5 of the NFL season where we have one of the most anticipated Thursday Night matchups (8 pm EST/5 pm PST on FOX, Amazon Prime, and NFL Network). The 3-1 Tampa Bay Buccaneers travel to Chicago to take on the 3-1 Bears in a battle of former NFC rivals. The teams last met in 2018 when the Bears steamrolled the Bucs 48-10.

The Chicago Bears suffered their first loss of the season falling to the Indianapolis Colts 19-11 at Soldier Field. The offense was completely dominated with three points scored until garbage time. Tampa Bay, on the other hand, is coming off a huge comeback win against the Chargers on the back of Tom Brady’s five touchdown passes. These are two teams with playoff aspirations– Can Chicago bounce back in Nick Foles’ second start? Will Bucs further distance themselves from the rest of the NFC South? 

THE STORYLINES

Can Chicago regroup after their first loss of the season?

Despite a 3-1 start, Week 4’s 19-11 loss to Indianapolis was very concerning. Aside from only 11 points scored, Nick Foles was very inaccurate, the team was infective at running the ball (27 total yards) and coach Nagy was inept at calling productive plays. Two fourth quarter comebacks separate the Bears from 1-3 and 3-1 and their 3 wins are against teams with a combined 1-10 record. The Bears are hoping that game was an aberration vs. a reality considering this was Nick Foles’ first start with his new teammates and Indianapolis might be the best defense in the league.

Will Tom Brady still have his magic despite several weapons injured for this game?

After a rough start vs. New Orleans, Brady has regained his GOAT form. In the last two games, he had stat lines of 297 yards and 3 TDs against the hapless Denver Broncos and rallied the Bucs from a huge deficit vs. the Chargers with his 5 touchdown passes. There is some cause for concern regarding their injury report:

Buccaneers: WR Chris Godwin (hamstring), LeSean McCoy (ankle), WR Justin Watson (chest) OUT; RB Leonard Fournette (ankle) DOUBTFUL; WR Mike Evans (ankle), WR Scotty Miller (hip/groin) QUESTIONABLE

Tom Brady has already made Scotty Miller (a relatively unknown receiver before this season) a dynamic weapon, so I wouldn’t be concerned about whoever he is throwing to. Keep an eye on Mike Evans’ availability as he is Brady’s top red zone target with 5 touchdowns this season.

A Rematch between the Quarterbacks in Super Bowl 52

How could anyone forget Philadelphia’s magical 41-33 Super Bowl win against New England a few years ago? Well here is round two between the Five Time Champ/GOAT Tom Brady and possibly the greatest backup Quarterback of All-Time and Super Bowl MVP, Nick Foles. Foles outplayed Brady in that game but you can expect that Brady has revenge on his mind.

Tom Brady is historically 5-0 against the Bears with 1,595 passing yards, 14 TD’s, 4 INT, and a passer rating of 109.2. Nick Foles historically is 2-2 against the Buccaneers with 6 touchdowns and 1 interception.

KEY STATS AND PLAYERS

Stats are courtesy of www.teamrankings.com.

  • Chicago’s Offense is 25th in the NFL in points per game (21.2), 21st in passing yards (232.8) and 20th in rushing yards (110.5).
  • Chicago’s Defense is giving up per game: 7th in points (20.2), 8th in total yards (345.2), 9th in passing yards (230.2) and 16th in rush yards (115.0)

The offense is led by Nick Foles (432 yards, 4 TD and 2 INT) and receiver Allen Robinson (25 receptions for 331 yards, 2 TD), while its defense features All-Pro rusher Khalil Mack (1.5 sacks) and Akiem Hicks (3.5 sacks).

  • Tampa Bay’s Offense is 8th in the NFL in points per game (30.0), 9th in passing yards (273.8), and 27th in rushing yards (97.8).
  • Tampa Bay’s Defense is giving up per game: 8th in points (23.0), 4th in total yards (312.0), 19th in passing yards (247.8), 2nd in rushing yards (64.2).

The Buccaneers offense is led by the legend Tom Brady (1,122 yards, 11 TD’s, 4 INT) and receiver Mike Evans (17 receptions for 230 yards and 5 TD’s), while its defense features Linebacker Shaquil Barret (21 tackles, 3 sacks) and rookie safety Antoine Winfield Jr. (25 tackles, 2 sacks).

PREDICTION

I’m not sure if there has ever not been a sloppy Thursday Night contest and I don’t anticipate this one being any different. Look for the Bears to once again have trouble getting their ground game going (only 27 yards last game) and a low third down conversion percentage (With some questionable play calls). Tampa Bay will take advantage of all the three-and-outs by controlling the time of possession for most of the game. Chicago will be in this game due to a few Tom Brady interceptions (two pick six’s on the season) but expect the GOAT to put the Bears away in the 4th.

Prediction; Buccaneers 24, Bears 20

Bears fans- more is riding on Chicago in this game than Tampa. I caution you to wait as it will take an adjustment period between Nick Foles, coach Matt Nagy and all of the offensive weapons to gel. It will get worse before it gets better.

Tim is a grateful believer, husband to Kristin, Father to Isabelle living in Los Angeles as both an actor and Claims adjuster. He was born and grew up eight blocks from Wrigley Field and is a die hard Chicago fan (Especially Bears). He is incredibly grateful to The Turf for giving him a chance to pursue a passion of his.

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