Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
When the Bears have the Ball…
The Bears only rank as the 19th scoring offense in the league, mustering a meager 21.5 PPG. The Bears can move the ball, as evidenced by their 13th ranking for averaging over 380 yards per game. Why the big disparity between scoring and yardage? It’s turnovers baby. The Bears need to take better care of the ball and cash in on opportunities.
Bears Rush Offense (19th, 101.3 YPG) vs Bucs Rush Defense (22nd, 118.2 YPG)
The Bears finally started to find some balance to their offense last week. Matt Forte tore off his biggest run of the season, a 32-yard gem where he broke several tackles. Lovie Smith’s run defense is not nearly where it used to be when he left Chicago. They’re giving up an average of 118+ yards per game on the ground. Look out for Lavante David, who plays the Lance Briggs role as the weakside linebacker.
Bears Pass Offense (10th, 259.5 YPG) vs Bucs Pass Defense (30th, 266.1 YPG)
Jay Cutler and the Bears passing offense have practiced countless hours against Lovie Smith’s defense. The color and names on the jerseys will be different, but the scheme is the same. The Bears were able to capitalize against a Vikings defense that played more man defense, but don’t expect to see that against Lovie and the Bucs. They’ll stay in the Cover-2 shell and dare Cutler to navigate down the field without making a mistake. As all Bears fans know, the best way to exploit the Cover-2 is right in the middle of the field. If Jay Cutler isn’t throwing slants and shallow crosses to Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery all day, I may break my TV.
The Bucs will look to bait Cutler into making his patented Cutler mistakes. They’ll look to jump routes and will have to be aggressive against the bigger, more physical Bears receivers. The Bucs will try to pressure with their front four, highlighted by former Bengal Michael Johnson and All Pro D-tackle Gerald McCoy.