TNF: Buccaneers vs. Bears odds, picks & predictions
Tom Brady will seek his sixth win against the Chicago Bears on Thursday Night Football, when he and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers make a stop at Soldier Field.
The new Bucs quarterback is 5-0 in games against Chicago and last defeated the Bears in 2018, as a member of the Patriots.
Fri, October 9 2020, 12:20 AM
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Bucs and Bears both lucky to be 3-1
The Bucs are riding a three-win streak, following Brady’s fourth-quarter comeback against the Chargers on Sunday. It was the 37th fourth-quarter comeback victory of Brady’s career, the second most by any quarterback, only behind Peyton Manning (43).
Meanwhile, the luck-struck Bears came back down to earth in their first loss of the season Sunday.
After three sloppy victories against mediocre competition, quarterback Nick Foles got his first start for Chicago and went 26-of-42 for 249 yards, with a touchdown and an interception, against the Colts.
In the run game, an injured Tarik Cohen’s absence was felt. David Montgomery pulled out just 27 yards on 10 carries, and receiver Cordarrelle Patterson added five yards on three attempts.
The Colts rushing attack fared much better against Chicago’s defense. Jonathan Taylor rushed for 68 yards on 17 carries, plus Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins combined for 39 yards.
The Bears’ ninth-ranked pass defense held Philip Rivers to 190 yards on 16-of-29 passing and gave up just one touchdown early in the first quarter.
Bucs come in shorthanded on a short week
Running back Leonard Fournette is likely out for the second straight week with an ankle injury, which leaves Ronald Jones II to lead the Bucs ground game Thursday.
Jones carried the ball 20 times for 111 yards against the Chargers, while Ke'Shawn Vaughn and LeSean McCoy combined for seven yards on four carries.
In the passing game, receiver Chris Godwin sat out with a hamstring injury. Mike Evans stepped up in his place to lead the Bucs with 122 yards on seven catches, and Brady threw five touchdown passes — one each to Evans, Scotty Miller, O.J. Howard, Vaughn, and tight end Cameron Brate.
Howard left Sunday's game late in the fourth quarter, with a possible ruptured Achilles and is likely out for the season. Godwin, Miller (groin), and Evans (ankle) did not practice Monday.
Rob Gronkowski has been mostly insignificant in the passing game and was limited in Monday's practice with a shoulder issue. Receiver Justin Watson saw his role increase in Sunday's win but also missed Monday practice with a chest injury.
The assortment of weapons once at Brady's disposal will be severely limited against an already stingy Bears pass defense. Jones will need to step up in a greater capacity in the ground game, as a result.
As for Chicago, linebacker Khalil Mack was limited in Monday practice with a knee issue, but all other starters are healthy.
Thursday's matchup comes down to defense
The Bucs own the second-best run defense, so Chicago will continue to struggle with its limited attack. Tampa Bay also averages 3.5 sacks per game (third most in the league), but has given up 247.8 passing yards per game, including 340 against Carolina and 278 against the Chargers.
|Team||Passing yards||Rushing yards||Passing yards allowed||Rushing yards allowed|
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Foles is still getting his feet wet as Chicago's new head of the offense, and he has thrown one interception in each of his appearances this season.
The Bucs should be able to force the quarterback to make mistakes, while Brady will be eager to outduel the former Eagles gunslinger in his first rematch with Foles since Super Bowl LII.
Who will win the Brady-Foles battle?
Bucs vs. Bears betting trends
Tampa Bay and Chicago are both 2-2 against the spread this season. The Bucs are 4-0 ATS in their last four games as road favorites, but 0-4-1 ATS in their last five against a team with a winning record.
In the past five games between the Bears and Bucs, the home team is 4-1 ATS.
The Under is 6-1 in the Bears' last seven home games.
With Brady going up against a sturdy Chicago defense, without key players on offense, this game should come down to the wire.
Foles will find a few holes in the Bucs pass defense, while Brady will struggle early to expose Chicago's secondary and need another late rally to win.
Score prediction: Buccaneers 27, Bears 23