Chicago Bears Week 16 Preview: Tampa Bay Buccaneers


The Chicago Bears try to end the season on a strong note. They take on former Bears head coach Lovie Smith and his Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a Week 16 matchup.

As the season winds down to the end, the Chicago Bears will try to make a strong showing. They have two more games to go to try to beat last season’s win total. That is something no one could have predicted we’d say after their big win against the Green Bay Packers on Thanksgiving.

The last two games will be played for pride, and for a roster spot on next season’s team. Quarterback Jay Cutler spoke on how playing for nothing will show players’ character. “We’ll find out who in that locker room has some character and wants to finish and who doesn’t,” said Cutler.

The first of the last two remaining games will be played on Sunday in Tampa Bay as the Bears take to the road and meet the Buccaneers. The Bucs are coached by former Bears head coach Lovie Smith.

Smith has his Bucs playing surprisingly well in his second season as coach. After winning just two games in his first season, his team had the number one pick and used it on Jameis Winston.

That proved to be a good pick so far, as Winston has done a good job leading the Bucs. They have a 6-8 record, and look to have a good future with Winston as their quarterback.

The Chicago Bears offense has spun its wheels in mud the last few weeks. In the past five weeks, they are averaging just 18.0 points per game. That will get you exactly the record they have in those past five games — one win and four losses.

It appears that the entire Chicago Bears offense has already gone into offseason mode. The offensive line, which just a few weeks ago was in the top five in sacks allowed, has just imploded. Cutler has had to run around, getting sacked eight times in the past two games. That is one-third of the sack total they’ve allowed all season.

The offensive line has to do whatever it takes to protect Cutler this week. This is a bad Bucs defensive unit. They rank 22nd in points allowed and 22nd in passing touchdowns allowed.

Cutler and the Chicago Bears may be without Alshon Jeffery (again) because of injury. He is a supremely gifted athlete when on the field, but for whatever reason, he can’t seem to stay away from the injury bug.

If the line can do its job this week, it should be a good day through the air. That has not been happening lately, though, so let’s see how the unit does.

Matt Forte is auditioning for another team for the 2016 season, as it seems the Chicago Bears are not interested in his services anymore. He and Jeremy Langford have shown to be a pretty good two-headed monster out of the backfield. The Bucs defense has been pretty tough against the run, ranking in the top ten in both rushing yards and rushing touchdowns allowed, and with the questionable line, it will be interesting to see how they do.

On defense, the Chicago Bears will need to pressure Winston. He has thrown 12 interceptions, so he will give you a chance to make the turnover. The team has also lost 10 fumbles, so this is an offense that has trouble holding onto the ball.

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The defensive line will need to toughen up their rushing defense. They rank 26th against the run, while the Bucs offense ranks fourth in rushing yards. If Doug Martin and company are allowed to run wild, it will make Winston’s day a great deal easier.

The Chicago Bears secondary is a Jeckyll-and-Hyde unit. They rank third in yards allowed through the air, but rank 20th in touchdowns allowed and 28th in interceptions. Let’s see if they will capitalize on the chances Winston will give them.

Next: Chicago Bears: Top Quarterback Prospects in the 2016 Draft

Expect this game to be a grind-it-out type of game. Both offenses have their troubles getting into the end zone, so it may be an ugly game.