The shirt above was actually sold by our friends 26Shirts.
Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears this Week?
I always like the Chicago Bears.
And I think Matt Nagy and the offense are going to come out a bit spiky this week. Celebrating in the locker room Sunday, Nagy owned the offense’s failings while praising the defense’s dominance. He won’t want to be in many more locker rooms like that one.
[Editorial Note: This column is being written under the assumption Dirk Koetter won’t be benching a QB with 1200+ yards through three games.]
Matt Nagy. Head Coach.
But offense is his baby.
Baby is crying.
Why the Bears Will Win
- Bears Defense. This unit has been praised ad infinitum and deservedly so. They are the best defense in the league after three games. And the Bucs haven’t seen anything like this, especially on the road, in 2018. Two of the three defenses Tampa has played – Pittsburgh and New Orleans – are currently ranked in the league’s bottom four. One of the reasons Fitzpatrick has thrived statistically early is the lack of pressure on him. That changes at Soldier Field this week.
- Bucs Defense. They’ve allowed 91 points in three games and there’s a reason: they are not particularly talented. They’ve rarely gotten to the quarterback with four guys and those quarterbacks are executing to the tune of a 117.1 passer rating. (That’s nearly 30 points worse than the Bears.) Trubisky is going to have plenty of opportunities to make plays down the field against a secondary featuring old guys and inexperienced rookies.
- Trey Burton. There’s a breakout game coming for Burton and this match-up suits him perfectly. Vance McDonald and Zach Ertz both flourished against Tampa and the big Chicago tight end has increased his productivity each week. Don’t be surprised if Nagy moves Trubisky out of the pocket and gives him some easier, three-level reads to one side of the field. That could give Burton the opportunity for a big afternoon.
Tweet of the Week
.@ChicagoBears @52Mack_ is the defensive MVP of the @NFL through 3 games. Played all 52 snaps Sunday and is just getting into football shape. He gives the @ChicagoBears a chance to win every Sunday. The Big Mack Attack is a must in ….#BaldyBreakdowns pic.twitter.com/mPfSTbZDfS
— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) September 25, 2018
Why They Won’t
- Nagy/Trubisky. A second viewing of the Bears/Cardinals tape confirmed what I believed on first viewing: the Bears offense doesn’t make a lot of sense. It lacks coherence. It lacks identity. And right now it lacks a comfortable, confident quarterback. When Arizona brought extra pressure (or just an exotic blitz look) the coach and quarterback had zero answers for it. Can they get that fixed? Of course. But it’s very hard to make big ticket scheme changes in the six-day period between games. The Bears need the bye. But they have a game to play before they reach it.
- Fitzpatrick’s Big Plays. The Bears have the best pass rush in the NFL but there are going to be moments this week – several – where Mack & Co. don’t get home. When that happens expect Fitz to take shots over the top because nobody has taken more early in this NFL season. Adrian Amos and Eddie Jackson really haven’t been tested yet because of the success up front. That will almost certainly change Sunday.
- Tampa’s Rush Defense is stingy, holding opponents to 3.6 yards per rush and 70.7 yards per game. Their approach will be simple Sunday: limit the success of Howard/Cohen on the ground and throw pressure at Trubisky on 2nd/3rd-and-long situations. Nobody has run it on this defense with any success yet. The Bears should leave the tunnel Sunday knowing they’ll need to toss it to win.
Song of the Week
Don’t Gamble, But If You Do… (2-1)
Bears didn’t cover in Arizona. And the over didn’t hit. So last week’s bet was shit. Honestly, if you read this section last week you know I wasn’t entirely sold on the bet anyway. The teaser I recommended – Bears, Broncos, Steelers – hit. This week we’re going that route.
I’m three-team teasing (6 points) again this week. Bears (+3), Rams (-.5) and Bills (+16). Good, solid bet at +165. I’ve got no problem floating $100 on that one.
Charity of the Week
— Julius Peppers (@juliuspeppers_) September 21, 2018
This scoreline is completely dependent on which Ryan Fitzpatrick shows up Sunday. If he’s in solid form, this is going to be a close one. If he starts flinging the ball randomly into the Bears secondary, they’ve shown they are ready to make opponents pay. I’m banking on a solid, if unspectacular Fitzpatrick and a tight ballgame. (But I wouldn’t be surprised either way.)
Chicago Bears 27
Tampa Bay Bucs 24