Let’s take a look at the upcoming matchup between the Bucs and Bears
The Bucs (-2.5) are 1-0 on the young season after a thrilling 20-17 win over the Minnesota Vikings while the Bucs opponents for this week, the Chicago Bears are feeling a bit less enthusiastic following a disappointing week 1 loss to Green Bay.
Now the Bucs (-2.5) play host to the Bears (+2.5) in an old NFC Central battle and to cover that we spoke with Bill Zimmerman of Windy City Gridiron to get some more insight into the Bears and what the game could look like on Sunday.
Question 1: After Justin Fields improved down the stretch last year and the acquisition of D.J. Moore, there was a lot of hope for the Bears this year met with some disappointing results in the first game. In your opinion, what went wrong for the Bears in the loss to the Packers?
There was too much that went wrong to put it all down in one paragraph, but the game plan set by offensive coordinator Luke Getsy was pitiful and the execution wasn’t much better. The offensive line gave up 35 pressures to the Green Bay Packers defensive front and Justin Fields made a few second half mistakes as well. Not to mention, and this is on both Getsy and Fields, DJ Moore, who you mentioned, was only targeted twice. Basically, it was a failure in every aspect of the offense, except for rookie running back Roschon Johnson, he was the lone bright spot.
Question 2: What is your confidence level in Justin Fields at this point in his career? Do you believe he has the potential to become a franchise quarterback?
Fields absolutely has the makings to be a franchise QB, but you can’t be 100% confident he will reach that status. This is a critical year for Fields, he needs to have significant growth this season and week one was certainly alarming. I would say coming into the year I was about 70% confident that Fields would reach that level, but after the week one performance, I would call it 50-50. He still has such a unique skillset with his athleticism and ability to hit the deep pass that you certainly hope the rest can come together for him. Once we get to about the midway point of the season, if Fields hasn’t shown the growth he needs to, the Bears could be taking a quarterback with one of their two first round picks in the 2024 NFL Draft.
Question 3: At the moment, where do you think the Bears biggest strengths and weaknesses are?
Their biggest weakness is in the trenches on both sides of the ball, which is, well, not good. The offensive line showed that it still has a long way to go and the defensive line could arguably be the worst pass rushing front four in the NFL. But their back seven on defense is pretty darn good and their skill positions on offense are at least league average. This is the second year of a rebuild, the 2024 team should look closer to the finished product that GM Ryan Poles had in mind. If Fields is his guy moving forward, there will be a significant investment in the trenches this upcoming offseason.
Question 4: Which Bears player do you think is the X factor for this upcoming matchup against Tampa Bay and why?
It’s beyond obvious but it’s Justin Fields. NFL fans saw how good Fields can be last season in the games against New England and Miami. Everyone knows he’s dangerous, but the coaching staff needs to put him in positions to succeed and Fields needs to execute it. One more bonus X factor I can give you is Eddie Jackson. The Bears longtime safety hasn’t had as splashy of a career like he did at the start but he’s still a very good safety and when Mayfield tries to execute the deep pass to those Tampa receivers, if Jackson can get a bead on the ball, he might be able to be a thorn in Baker’s side and pick off a pass.
I think the Chicago Bears play better in week two than they did in week one. Honestly, they really couldn’t play any worse. Despite this being a game that most Bears fans circled on their calendars as a win before the season, it’s just difficult to think they’ll turn it around after that performance and go and win a game on the road. If you want to wager on the point spread in this one, taking Tampa is the only logical way to go.
Via DraftKings Sportsbook, the current over/under for the game is set at 40.5.
Thanks so much to Bill from Windy City Gridiron for joining us this week!