BUCCANEERS vs. BEARS: Week 4 Preview – September 30, 2018

A pair of 2-1 teams ready to enter the bye week on a high note square off at Soldier Field this Sunday, when the Chicago Bears host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It will be a game of contrasting styles, as a potent Buccaneers offense takes aim at a Bears defense with eyes on continuing it’s run as a top-10 group.

Mark it down in your calendars, folks. Because this day marks the first time we’ve written a game preview featuring a Bears team with a winning record. What a time to be alive.

Never Tell Me The Odds:”

The Bears are 3-point favorites at the Westgate Superbook in Las Vegas. The over/under for this game is 46.5. It will be a battle of trends between the low-scoring Bears (who have had the under come in both of their wins) and high-scoring Bucs (the final score has gone over the predicted total in all three games).

Series History:

The Bears and Buccaneers have played each other in each of the last four years and the two teams have split those matchups. And while Chicago has a 38-20 edge in the all-time series, Tampa Bay has won the last two showdowns.

Game Time, Broadcast Info, Officiating Crew:

Location: Soldier Field

Broadcast Info: Sunday, September 30th at noon on FOX, WBBM-AM 780, WCFS-FM 105.9

Referee: Jerome Boger

Expected Starters and Lineups:

Bears Offense Expected Starters:

  • QB Mitch Trubisky
  • RB Jordan Howard
  • FB Michael Burton
  • WR Allen Robinson II
  • WR Taylor Gabriel
  • TE Trey Burton
  • LT Charles Leno Jr.
  • LG Eric Kush
  • C Cody Whitehair
  • RG Kyle Long
  • RT Bobby Massie
  • Bears Defense Expected Starters:

  • DT Akiem Hicks
  • NT Eddie Goldman
  • DE Jonathan Bullard
  • OLB Khalil Mack
  • ILB Danny Trevathan
  • ILB Roquan Smith
  • OLB Leonard Floyd
  • CB Kyle Fuller
  • CB Kevin Toliver II
  • FS Eddie Jackson
  • SS Adrian Amos
  • Bears Specialists: 

  • Cody Parkey (kicker), Pat O’Donnell (punter, holder), Patrick Scales (long snapper), Benny Cunningham, Tarik Cohen (kick returners), Tarik Cohen (punt returner)
  • Buccaneers Offense Expected Starters:

  • QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
  • RB Peyton Barber
  • WR Mike Evans
  • WR DeSean Jackson
  • TE Cameron Brate
  • TE O.J. Howard
  • LT Donovan Smith
  • LG Ali Marpet
  • C Ryan Jensen
  • RG Caleb Benenoch
  • RT Demar Dotson
  • Buccaneers Defense Expected Starters:

  • DE Vinny Curry
  • DT Gerald McCoy
  • DT Beau Allen
  • DE Jason Pierre-Paul
  • SLB Adarius Taylor
  • MLB Kwon Alexander
  • WLB Lavonte David
  • CB Carlton Davis
  • CB Brent Grimes
  • S Justin Evans
  • S Jordan Whitehead
  • Buccaneers Specialists:

  • Chandler Catanzaro (kicker), Bryan Anger (punter), Garrison Sanborn (long snapper), Jacquizz Rodgers (kick return), Adam Humphries, DeSean Jackson (punt return)
  • Hot or Not and Whom to Watch

    Chicago Bears – Offense

    Allen Robinson could be in line for a breakout performance against a Tampa Bay defense that has allowed receiving touchdowns to opposing WR1-caliber receivers in each of the first three games of the year. Michael Thomas (16 catches, 180 yards, TD), Nelson Agholor (8 catches, 88 yards, TD), and JuJu Smith-Schuster (9 catches, 116 yards, TD) really diced through the Buccaneers secondary, so it would make sense if Robinson turned out to be the next man up. From a fantasy perspective, Tampa Bay has allowed the third most fantasy points to receivers in 2018.

    Chicago Bears – Defense

    Eddie Jackson is the last line of defense when guarding against Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Tampa Bay deep passing attack. And if cornerback Prince Amukamara can’t play on Sunday, Jackson will be a key component in helping ease the pressure off undrafted free agent rookie Kevin Toliver II. Jackson’s 84.5 coverage grade from Pro Football Focus is the fourth best among safeties, and you can expect those skills to be on display early an often against the NFL’s leading passer.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Offense

    Mike Evans has been making quarterbacks look good since he was hauling in bombs from Johnny Manziel during his Heisman campaign back at Texas A&M, so it’s no surprise Evans has been an impact player for the Bucs upon arrival. Evans has rattled off four straight 1,000-yard receiving years and has a pair of 12-touchdown seasons. The numbers through three games for Evans have been outrageous – 23 catches, 367 yards, and three touchdowns. That’s a per-game average of 7.7 receptions, 122.3 receiving yards, and one touchdown. Extrapolate that over the course of a 16-game season and we would be looking at a 123-catch, 1,957 yard, 16-touchdown season. That’s what elite receiver production looks like.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Defense

    Gerald McCoy can be an unblockable force at the point of attack on the line of scrimmage. The Bears’ interior trio of Eric Kush, Cody Whitehair, and Kyle Long will have their hands full trying to keep McCoy out of the backfield. This could be another game where Jordan Howard struggles to get going. Howard ran for 100 yards on 15 carries in 2016, but was limited to seven yards on nine carries last year. What does Round 3 have in store?

    written by

    Luis C. Medina, who you can find on Twitter at lcm1986, has been covering the Chicago Bears at Bleacher Nation since 2017. Since then, he has written about 3 head coaches, 5 play-callers, and 11 starting quarterbacks. Previously, Luis wrote about the Cubs and MLB at BN (2015-16) and worked in the Chicago Tribune sports department (2011-16). He also co-hosted a Cubs postgame show, Outside the Ivy, in 2019.

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