Bears-Buccaneers prediction

Posted Oct. 23, 2011 @ 11:23 a.m.
Posted By Dan Parr

PFW associate editor Dan Parr makes his prediction for the outcome of Sunday's game between the Bears and Buccaneers.

Barring a mistake by Bucs punter and kickoff specialist Michael Koenen, who doesn't make many errors, the Bears' offense will have to do the scoring on its own. Devin Hester could be in for a quiet day on special teams against one of the league's better punters.

As long as Mike Martz makes sure his offensive tackles get help from tight ends and chipping backs in pass protection — much as he did last week against the Vikings — Chicago's offense should be steady, and QB Jay Cutler should have time to make good throws. Cutler is going to have to be careful with the ball, though. The Bucs picked off one of the league's more precise quarterbacks, Drew Brees, three times last week.

An outstanding defensive performance by the Bears will be the biggest difference in this game. Jet-lagged from traveling to London later in the week than the Bucs did or not, the Bears' defense will hold Tampa Bay in check. RB Earnest Graham will not have a second straight 100-yard rushing performance, and QB Josh Freeman is going to struggle to make big plays against the Bears' cover-2.

Prediction: Bears 21, Bucs 17

Season record: 5-1

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