But they’ll face a tall order against a Tampa Bay team coming off an upset win over the Minnesota Vikings. The Bucs have a talented defense that could present problems for Justin Fields and two top wideouts in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin who will challenge the secondary.
Before the game, we caught up with managing editor River Wells of Bucs Wire to get the scoop on the Bears’ Week 2 opponent.
Here are five questions with Bucs Wire:
Baker Mayfield recorded a win in his first start with the Bucs. How would you evaluate his performance? What could give Chicago’s defense problems?
River Wells: Mayfield had a very shaky start to his game, but he picked things up in the second half. He ended up throwing for two touchdowns but just 173 yards, so he still needs to prove he can rack up serious yardage through the air. If the Bears aren’t careful, both WR Mike Evans and WR Chris Godwin would love to help him do that on Sunday and both are still vaunted threats in the NFL.
How will the Bucs defense look to attack Justin Fields and this Bears offense?
RW: Fields’ struggles in the passing game are well known, so the key will be keeping him inside the pocket and forcing him to throw — Todd Bowles even said as much during his Wednesday presser. Bowles is notorious for giving opposing quarterbacks fits with his defensive looks, so expect him to do his best to confuse Justin Fields and really bring the pressure from the edges early.
How can Chicago’s defense hope to contain the dynamic receiving duo of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin?
RW: Evans is extremely tough to beat one on one, so making sure there’s safety help will go a long way in trying to contain him. Godwin is a great route runner who can lose defenders, but it might be a bit easier to handle him if you can force him to make contested catches.
Who are some under-the-radar Bucs player that Bears fans should keep an eye on?
RW: Trey Palmer has exploded onto the scene for Tampa Bay in preseason and he caught a touchdown in the team’s win against Minnesota. He’s a WR3, but if the Bears aren’t careful, he could do some damage while the team is trying to contain Godwin and Evans.
What’s your score prediction for the game?
RW: The Bucs offense isn’t firing on all cylinders just yet, but I think Fields is the perfect candidate to get fits from Todd Bowles’ pre-snap looks on defense. A tough Bucs defensive unit that had three turnovers last week will get the job done and Baker Mayfield and the Bucs offense will rebound from a weaker start after Week 1. Bucs 27, Bears 14