Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Chicago Bears Preview and Predictions 09-30-2018

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a decision to make at quarterback heading into Sunday's visit to the Chicago Bears. Ryan Fitzpatrick has been outstanding through the first three games for the Buccaneers, but Jameis Winston -- who started 45 games through his first three seasons -- is back from a suspension and ready to contribute.

"I'm here to assist the best way I possibly can," Winston said in his return press conference this week. "My passion for this team, my love for this team goes beyond whether I'm out there throwing the football for this team or not." Fitzpatrick has thrown for over 400 yards in each of the first three games while compiling 11 touchdowns passes and another on the ground, although he did throw three of his four interceptions in Monday's 30-27 loss to Pittsburgh. The Bears have rebounded from a painful season-opening loss at Green Bay with consecutive wins over Seattle and Arizona. Led by linebacker Khalil Mack -- who has four sacks, an interception and three forced fumbles -- Chicago enters Week 4 tied for second in the NFL with eight takeaways.

TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Bears -3. O/U: 46.5

ABOUT THE BUCCANEERS (2-1): The Fitzpatrick-Winston situation will garner most of the headlines, but it stands to reason that the coaching staff is more concerned with improving a defense that ranks 31st in yards allowed and 29th in scoring, giving up an average of 30.3 points. Safety Chris Conte (knee), who had seven tackles in each of the first two games, was placed on injured reserve this week, a blow for a secondary that has one interception thus far. Mike Evans has been Fitzpatrick's top target with 23 catches for 367 yards, while Peyton Barber leads the way on the ground but is averaging just 2.9 yards in 43 carries.

ABOUT THE BEARS (2-1): Mitch Trubisky is averaging under 200 yards passing and has just two touchdowns against three picks early on, but a matchup with the porous Bucs might help the second-year pro break out. "We just need to continue to get better -- execute, believe in the plan," Trubisky told reporters. "And continue to have those conversations about what plays we really feel comfortable about and what plays we like. Me and coach (Matt) Nagy will go back and forth. And they're going to dial up a great gameplan." Jordan Howard has struggled to get the ground game going and has only 96 yards on 38 carries over the last two games.


1. Winston threw for 204 yards and a touchdown and Tampa Bay forced four turnovers in a 29-7 win over Chicago at home last year.

2. The Buccaneers have 1,202 net passing yards, compared to 534 for the Bears.

3. Tampa Bay DE Jason Pierre-Paul has three of his team's seven sacks.

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Soldier Field
Chicago, Illinois, USA.
Capacity: 61,500

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Last Injuries

Chicago Bears

  • Sherrick McManis

    Ques Sun | questionable

    McMais exited the previous game due to hamstring injury, and it is unknown if he will face the Colts on Sunday.

  • Tarik Cohen

    I-R | I-R

    Cohen has been moved to the injured reserve list with a torn ACL in his right knee.

  • John Jenkins

    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Jenkins has hit the injured reserve list due to a torn ligament in his thumb, and he will miss an undetermined length of time.

  • Robert Quinn

    Prob Sun | probable

    Quinn is expected to face the Falcons on Sunday despite an ankle injury.

  • Khalil Mack

    Prob Sun | probable

    Mack is dealing with a knee injury, but it is projected that he will suit up against the Falcons on Sunday.

  • Josh Woods

    Prob Sun | probable

    Woods sat out the last game due to a personal matter. He is likely to rejoin the team Sunday against the Falcons.

  • Jason Spriggs

    Prob Sun | probable

    Spriggs sat out the last game due to a knee injury, but he is projected to be in the lineup Sunday versus the Giants.

  • David Montgomery

    day-to-day | questionable

    Montgomery departed Sunday's game due to a neck injury, and it is unknown if he will return.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Sean Murphy-Bunting

    Ques Sun | questionable

    Bunting left the last game due to a hamstring injury, and it is unknown if he will be active Sunday versus the Chargers.

  • Justin Watson

    Prob Sun | probable

    Watson missed the last game due to a shoulder injury, but it is anticipated that he will take the field against the Chargers on Sunday.

  • Chris Godwin

    Out Sun | out

    Godwin exited the previous game due to a right hamstring injury, and he will not suit up for Sunday's contest versus the Chargers.

  • Leonard Fournette

    Ques Sun | questionable

    Fournette is tending to an unspecified injury, leaving his availability for Sunday's battle against the Chargers hazy.

  • Donovan Smith

    Ques Sun | questionable

    Smith is nursing a knee injury, and it has yet to be determined if he will line up Sunday against the Broncos.

  • Parnell Motley

    Prob Sun | probable

    Motley has missed the past two games with a hamstring injury, but he is projected to be available Sunday against the Broncos.

  • Jason Pierre-Paul

    Prob Sun | probable

    Pierre-Paul is dealing with a knee injury, but it is expected that he will be in Sunday's lineup versus the Broncos.

  • Scotty Miller

    Prob Sun | probable

    Miller has hip and groin injuries, but he is likely to line up for Sunday's matchup versus the Broncos.