Tom Brady and Nick Foles face off for the first time since their epic Super Bowl matchup when Tampa Bay Buccaneers travel to Chicago Bears today (8.20pm ET Thursday, live on FOX).
Both players have new homes, Brady at Tampa and Foles at Chicago, but we can all fondly remember when the Patriots and Eagles took the field in Super Bowl LII. This was the Eagles first Super Bowl victory and brought backup quarterback Nick Foles an MVP trophy. The 41-33 shootout will be most well remembered for the “Philly Special” play call.
The Buccaneers are coming off a hard-fought victory against the Chargers and improve to 3-1 on the year. The Bears are also 3-1, but are coming off a game in which they laid an egg in Nick Foles’ first start of the year. They were only able to muster 11 points against a stingy Colts’ defense. Eight of those points came in the final 2:12 of the game.
Read on for our Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Chicago Bears predictions and full preview with final betting picks for today’s NFL game.
Can Bears’ Defense Limit Tom Brady and Offense?
This will be one of the more pivotal matchups of the game. The Buccaneers offense seems to be clicking with new quarterback Tom Brady. This is no surprise with their stable of weapons but many experts thought it may take some time with a new quarterback and a lack of offseason reps.
They are coming off their best performances of the season after putting up 38 points against the Chargers. This was a game in which they needed to come back from an early 24-7 deficit. Outside of one pick-six Brady looked sharp and had his best game statistically so far this season. Brady was 30/46, threw for 369 yards, and five touchdowns. He was successfully able to spread the ball all over the field and had nine different receivers with a reception.
Ronald Jones was also able to get the ground game going and had 111 rushing yards on 20 carries (5.6 yards per carry). Mike Evans led the passing attack in receptions and yards with seven and 122 respectively. This is what many expected to see from this deep offensive unit. On the season they now rank 9th in the league in passing yards per game (273.8) and 8th in points per game (30.0).
The Bears defense is coming off one of their best performances of the year, but the offense was unable to pick them up. They held the Colts to 19 points and made them settle for four field goals. This was a much-needed strong outing after giving up 26 points to the Falcons the week before. They are now ranked 7th in points allowed per game at 20.2, which is slightly ahead of the Bucs who give up 23.0 points per game.
The Bears were able to limit Philip Rivers to less than 200 yards on 16/29 passing. Their passing defense has been one of their strongest units on the year and rank 9th giving up 230.2 passing yards per game. This is the matchup to focus on with the Buccaneers passing attack being their strongest unit on the season thus far.
There are a few important injuries to keep an eye on for this specific matchup. Tampa’s starting tight end OJ Howard is now on the IR after suffering an Achilles injury in week four. Star wide receiver Mike Evans is questionable with an ankle injury and did not practice on Wednesday during the walkthrough. Fellow wide receiver Scotty Miller was limited on Wednesday and most significantly Chris Godwin was ruled out for week five. If Mike Evans is unable to go the Buccaneers will be down their two best weapons. This would prove to be a huge advantage for Chicago.
Our Betting Preview’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Chicago Bears Predictions & Picks Conclusion
USAbetting is backing the home underdog Chicago Bears. I expect Nick Foles to bounce back after a lackluster first start with the team. They have enough offensive weapons to keep this close and the Buccaneers have several offensive weapons down.
Even if Mike Evans is able to go, how effective will he be with an ankle injury as a deep threat? This line opened at Bears +5.5pts and has been bet all the way down to Bears +3.5 home dogs generally with the premier sportsbooks for US-based players. Though one top bookie is still +4pts. I think the Bears have a very good chance to win outright at home. I think their secondary will be able to contain the Bucs a bit and that Mack and the pass rush will be able to rattle Brady. I think this is a great buy low spot on Nick Foles and the Bears. The total of over/under 44pts feels a bit high, so we’ll stick to the bet on the spread for our concluding Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Chicago Bears predictions and picks. To summarize: