TAMPA BAY (-2.5) vs Chicago
· I’m not sure you can upgrade Tampa Bay after the week 1 upset as they were -2.3 net yards per play in Minnesota. However, we’ve seen this line go from pick ’em on the lookahead to a Buccaneers by a juiced 2.5. I think most of the movement can be explained by a downgrade for the Bears in market.
· This could be an ideal matchup for Baker Mayfield against Chicago’s secondary. The Bears allowed a league-high 26% big pass rate excluding garbage time against the Packers.
· Tampa Bay WR Mike Evans averaged 0.30 EPA/target in week 1 and he’ll have a favorable matchup again on Sunday versus rookie CB Tyrique Stevenson.
· Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin has finished in the top 10 in yards per route run from the slot each of the last two seasons. Godwin will either be across from backup nickelback Josh Blackwell or banged-up starter Kyler Gordon, who surrendered 1.91 yards per slot cover snap last year ranking 65th out of 68 qualifying nickelbacks.
· Edge defender Yannick Ngakoue led the Bears in pass-rushing efficiency in week 1 but he will be shut down by Pro Bowl LT Tristan Wirfs.
· Justin Fields had a league-low 3.1-yard average depth of target in week 1. Chicago’s coaching staff needs to let their quarterback open it up and call a real NFL offense, but it just doesn’t seem like Bears OC Luke Getsy trusts Fields as a passer.
· Chicago’s offense led the NFL with 16 targets to running backs last week, but Tampa Bay’s defense has excellent linebackers and only conceded 4.9 yards per target to RBs in 2022 (7th).
· Bears C Lucas Patrick surrendered a league-high 5 pressures in week 1 and he’s going to get manhandled by DT Vita Vea, who finished 10th in pass-rushing efficiency last season.
· Our model favors the Buccaneers by 2.3 points, with a predicted total of 41.5 points.