A pair of 3-1 NFC teams will kick-off Week 5 of the NFL season as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers head north to take on the Chicago Bears.
While both of these clubs may not win their divisions, both squads are firmly placed to contend for a coveted playoff spot, and a win in Week 5 would go a long way as they jockey for positioning.
The Bucs continue to impress lately, especially on offense as veteran quarterback Tom Brady seems to be finding his rhythm with his new squad. Tampa dominated the Chargers’ defense last week, and though the Week 5 test vs. Chicago will be tough, the Buccaneers are showing no signs of not living up to the pre-season hype.
Meanwhile for the Bears they too enter with a 3-1 record, though it seems to be a bit of a mirage. They aren’t this good, and it showed last week in a lifeless loss to the Colts. Regardless of it being Nick Foles or Mitch Trubisky under centre, neither guy is good enough to push this offense forward on a consistent basis. Against a tough and improved Bucs’ defense, Chicago will get yet another example of the simple fact that their QB play continues to struggle.
But at home in colder fall conditions in the windy city of Chicago, is by no means an easy trip. The weather can often be the great equalizer, and we’ll see how things play out Thursday evening. Can the Bucs keep rolling? Or will the Bears grind their way to a result as home underdogs? Continue reading on beneath the posted odds for further team news and a betting prediction for Week 5’s Thursday nighter! Enjoy.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Chicago Bears Betting Odds:
Tampa Bay Buccaneers -3.5 (-110)
@ Chicago Bears +3.5 (-110)
Over 44.5 (-110)
Under 44.5 (-110)
*Betting odds provided by BetOnline.ag
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Chicago Bears Pick:
While it seemed many within the football community wanted to see Tom Brady fail with his new team, it doesn’t seem to be the case. Sure, there have been growing pains – but generally speaking, the future Hall of Famer has progressed each and every week.
This week he will face a pretty stingy Bears’ defense, but one that can and will be exploited. After all, we just saw Philip Rivers throw on Chicago, so Brady should be able to replicate that. Look for the Bucs to really try to attack the Bears’ linebackers, especially through the middle of the field. This is where they’re weakest, and look for Scotty Miller to be key in the slot, as well as Ronald Jones catching balls out of the backfield.
Chicago does boast an impressive pass rush, and enter Week 5 in solid form. That said, despite Brady’s lack of pace – he’s been getting very solid protection from his offensive line. They’ve been giving him time and space to operate, as well as keep him upright. While it should be a good matchup, look for the Bucs to again do enough to give Brady the required time to hit his downfield targets.
If the Bucs’ offense keeps rolling and putting up points, it’s going to quickly force the Bears to enter into a game they’re usually not comfortable in playing. Right now, their offense remains a pretty big mess. Though they recently switched from Mitchell Trubisky to Nick Foles, the early returns haven’t been all that promising. Foles isn’t good either, and as was seen vs. the Colts in Week 4, he has a hard time beating secondaries with his arm.
That’s bad news for Chicago because that really is the only way to beat Tampa Bay – through the air. Their defensive backfield is suspect, and though Allen Robinson should do well to find holes and get open, you just can’t rely on guys like Foles or Trubisky to continually make plays.
If the Bears turn to the run game, it won’t go well for them either. Tampa Bay is the best in the NFL at stifling the run, and their defensive front has allowed the rest of their defense to really focus on limiting passing gains. If the Bucs can consistently force the Bears into passing situations and 3rd-and-longs to close out drives, Chicago might be thankful no fans are being let into most stadiums right now.
Generally the rule of thumb in short-week situations is to side with the more talented team. The preparation isn’t as thorough, and skill often wins out. So that’s exactly what we will do as we enter Week 5. The Bucs’ are a far superior 3-1 side, and have shown steady growth on both sides of the football. Despite being without Chris Godwin, Tampa still has Mike Evans – and the Bears won’t have an answer for the rangy receiver. This number has surprisingly come down throughout the week, and a play on the Bucs is highly recommended on Thursday night.