After a near upset in Week 1 against Atlanta, the Bears travel to Tampa Bay for the Buccaneers home season opener.
Hurricane Irma forced the Tampa Bay-Miami tilt last week to be moved later in the season.
The Bucs beat the Bears last season at Raymond James Stadium 36-10. Dating back to 2001, the Bears are 3-2 in Tampa Bay. In the overall series, Chicago leads 38-19.
Mike Glennon is no longer in Tampa Bay as Jameis Winston’s backup. Meanwhile the rising Bucs bring a lot to the table with wide receivers Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson and rookie tight end O.J. Howard.
It is always fun to see an NFC matchup
What the Buccaneers are thinking
Tampa Bay went 9-7 a year ago and missed out on the playoffs. This season it is all about revenge for the Bucs and a group that is projected highly by analysts and fans around the league.
The offense ranked No. 18 overall in the league and the defense ranked No. 15 overall.
Running back Doug Martin is not available for another four weeks meaning Jacquizz Rodgers, a former Bears back for a brief time. He is a bruiser for a smaller back much like Tarik Cohen is for the Bears.
Kwon Alexander, Vernon Hargreaves and Lavonte David return as the top three tacklers and this Dirk Koetter led team is on the rise. Favorites in this game, you have to believe they’ll come out fast and ferocious.
The hurricane will be used as motivation but football needs to be played and the Bucs should come out motivated.
What the Bears are thinking
It is all about execution. Glennon didn’t turn over the ball once last week and the Bears had a nice day on the ground with Jordan Howard and Cohen. The duo combined for 161 total yards as the offense produce 338 yards against Atlanta.
Cohen will have a huge role as a receiver and back once again with Kevin White now out for the season. Markus Wheaton is still likely a week away from returning. Zach Miller and Dion Sims will be giant targets in the middle of the field.
Defensively, the Bears held their own with defensive linemen Akiem Hicks, Eddie Goldman and Roy Robertson-Harris playing solid all around. Nick Kwiatkoski slides in next to Danny Trevathan with Jerrell Freeman likely done for the season with a torn pectoral muscle.
The Bears will need more from Leonard Floyd and Willie Young. Sam Acho was the most reliable outside backer last week against the run. Pernell McPhee will be mixed in as he gets fully healthy.
Kyle Fuller is the likely starter next to Marcus Cooper with Prince Amukamara still recovering from a knee injury.
The Bears are a team that is turning things around. Injuries are piling up which is ripping the depth away from them. However, I believe they will pull off the road upset against a very talented Bucs team. The Bears made Atlanta look relatively average for much of last week’s opener, so I think they can carry that tough play into Week 2.
Final Score Prediction
Bears 24, Buccaneers 20
Prediction record: 1-0
Buccaneers – OUT: LB Devante Bond (knee); QUESTIONABLE: LB Kwon Alexander (illness), C Evan Smith (illness).
Bears – DOUBTFUL: RB Benny Cunningham (ankle); QUESTIONABLE: CB Prince Amukamara (ankle), WR Josh Bellamy (ankle), S Deon Bush (hamstring), RB Jordan Howard (shoulder), LB Christian Jones (back), G Kyle Long (ankle), WR Markus Wheaton (finger).
Weather.com Weather Report
Sunny. High 91 F. Winds N at 5 to 10 mph.
A look ahead
The Bears will travel to Tampa Bay for what turns out to be the Buccaneers season opener after Hurricane Irma canceled their Week 1 game with Miami.
Thoughts on the Bears-Bucs Week 2 matchup? Make sure to weigh in on the comment section below.