Bears vs Bucs: Top 5 Matchups to Watch

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It’s Bears vs Bucs at Soldier Field.  Lovie Smith will get to check out the visitor’s locker room and see how many challenges he can bungle from the opponent’s sideline.  The way I see it, this whole game is about Lovie Smith, so for my Top 5 Matchups to Watch, it’s a special all-Lovie Smith version.

5. Kyle Long vs Lovie Smith

Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

OK, so Kyle Long isn’t really going up against Lovie, he’s going against the staple of Lovie Smith’s defense, the 3-technique.  In the heyday of Lovie Smith’s Cover-2 in Chicago, he had Tommie Harris.  In Tampa, he’s got Gerald McCoy.  McCoy is the real deal at defensive tackle and will pose a big challenge for Kyle Long and a good primer for the Thanksgiving showdown with Ndamukong Suh.

As Bears fans will recall, a disruptive 3-technique is the engine that drives the Cover-2 defense.  McCoy can create havoc in the passing game by collapsing the pocket and forcing Cutler into some bad throws.  In the running game, he can blow up run plays before they develop with a quick first step. Long will have to hold off McCoy to give the Bears a chance.