Game Overview ::
By MJohnson86 >>
- The Bears are showing signs of life offensively and the maturation of Justin Fields is growing by the week, with the staff putting more on his plate and showing more trust each game.
- The Bucs continue to roll through inferior opponents and impose their will on defenses and game scripts.
- On paper, this matchup would appear to push the Bucs towards the run but, in reality, this is not a shy away matchup for their #1 rated passing offense.
- The Bucs should approach their implied team total regardless of how the game plays out, while the game as a whole has the potential for fireworks if the Bears can have some offensive success.
How Chicago Will Try To Win ::
JM did a fantastic job in his Tuesday pod talking about how to dig deeper into box scores and look for things that may not be readily apparent. Much has been made about the Bears run-heavy offense this season, particularly since Justin Fields took over as their starting QB. If you just glazed over the box score from Week 6, you would think it was the same old story for the Bears as Fields attempted 27 passes with the Bears running the ball 26 times. However, if you dig deeper and/or watched the game, there are some different takeaways that we can find:
- On paper, the Bears ran the ball 14 times and passed 14 times in the first half. However, three of those runs were scrambles by Fields on called pass plays, one was a shovel pass to Cole Kmet that was ruled a backward pass and therefore scored as a run, and there was a pass interference penalty on Green Bay that doesn’t show up in the box score. So, in reality, the Bears called 19 pass plays to 10 run plays in the first half of a competitive game (halftime score was 10-7).
- After going a bit more run-heavy during the 3rd quarter, Fields led the Bears on an impressive 4th quarter drive to cut the Packers lead to 17-14. On that drive, Fields was 5/5 for 64 yards and a TD, also adding a 14-yard scramble. Fields also led the Bears on another drive, after the Packers scored to make the score 24-14, quickly taking the Bears down to the Packers 32-yard line before a couple of sacks short-circuited things and effectively ended the game.
Actually watching the game and understanding the box score shows us that the Bears are starting to show trust in Fields earlier in games and that he is getting more comfortable pushing the ball down the field and playing in situations where the team needs to be more aggressive late. Both of those takeaways are very good signs for Fields’ development as a QB and will be critical to this week for the Bears.
Don’t get it twisted, the Bears certainly do want to be able to run the ball and have that as part of their identity. However, this week, against the Bucs top-5 run defense, that won’t be much of an option. Opponents barely even try to run on the Bucs — the last three weeks their opponents have had a combined 22 running back carries (six for the Patriots, seven for the Dolphins, nine for the Eagles). Even the week before against the Rams it was a similar story — the Rams ran the ball 22 times total but threw it at a 35-12 pass-to-run ratio before building a three-score lead in the second half. The Bears will either follow the game plan that every other team has shown and turn very pass-heavy early on, or they will try forcing the run early, likely with very little success, and be forced to abandon the run altogether once they fall behind. Last week’s play-calling and usage suggests they are trusting Fields more and will be more likely to attack the Bucs beat-up secondary than most people will be expecting.
How Tampa Bay Will Try To Win ::
The Bears have a very good defense, ranking 7th in the league in DVOA while statistically being stronger against the pass than the run. However, the Bucs are not a team that is blindly going to be forced into a particular mode of functioning by an inferior opponent, which the Bears clearly are. This matchup is similar to the last two games for the Bucs — a solid defense who rates better against the pass than the run. Over the course of those two games, the Bucs held similar to their usual tendencies with 67% and 60% pass rates, respectively. We should expect more of the same here.
The Bucs will run often enough to keep the defense honest and open up the passing game, but this offense is built on Tom Brady and his incredible receiving corps. The Bears rate well in pass defense by DVOA, but have not played a schedule of particularly explosive passing offenses — something that shows up in their 30th ranked coverage unit by PFF grades. Those two statistics combined tell a story that the Bears pass defense is very beatable if they face a team with a variety of weapons and aggressive tendencies, two categories that the Bucs clearly check the boxes in. Tampa Bay will try to win simply by being themselves — aggressively attacking their opponent to build early leads and maintaining their aggression to step on the throat. Top-tier teams like the Bucs impose their will in matchups like these and we should expect nothing short of that from the defending Super Bowl champions here. They are #1 in the NFL in pass offense DVOA and yards per pass attempt, they are going to do what they do here.
Likeliest Game flow ::
The Buccaneers will almost certainly control the game flow in this spot as they have superior talent, chemistry, and coaching. Assuming they are able to have early offensive success, they will be in control from the start. In a scenario where they are slow out of the gate, the Bears will be unlikely to have any offensive success if they focus too much on the run. The Bears will need to be more aggressive and pass-heavy than their previous tendencies, which should lead to a slightly faster pace and more play volume. If the Bears are not able to have success through the air, they will have short possessions resulting in the Bucs having the ball more and being able to score, rack up play volume, and press the gas on this game even faster. If the Bears do have success through the air early and can keep it close or take a lead, the Bucs will feel that pressure and be even more likely to attack and play aggressively early on and deeper into the game. In either outcome, we are likely to see a good-to-great game from the Bucs offense. On the other side of the ball, the Bears offense will either provide an above-average (by their standards) performance or the Bucs defense will have a field day, with the Bears receivers still likely to see increased usage in a rout.
TOP PLAYS OF THE WEEKEND
SORTABLE GREEN ZONE TOUCHES
TEAM & PLAYER DK POINTS
DFS+ Interpretation ::
By LexMiraglia10 >>
- Rematch of 2020’s 19-20 TB loss that birthed the Brady meme in which he forgot what down it was
- TB has since added AB, won a SB, and scored 30+ pts in 13/21 games
- Since allowing 34 to LAR in W1, CHI has allowed 17 (CIN), 26 (CLE), 14 (DET), 9 (LV), & 24 (GB) pts
- CHI ranks 7th in overall defensive DVOA
- Stafford is the only QB to throw for 300 yds vs CHI
- Brady’s pass yds: 379 // 276 // 432 // 269 // 411 // 297
- CHI has faced the 6th fewest pass att and Goff’s 38 are the most in a game
- Brady’s pass att: 50 // 36 // 55 // 43 // 41 // 42
- CHI has allowed 10 TDs to 4 INT
- Brady has 17 TDs to 3 INT
- TB WRs times leading/tied for lead in targets w/ AB: Evans (8), Godwin (7), Brown (6)
- TB tg 2021: Godwin (47) // Evans (49) // Brown (42)
- TB tg in 3g w/o Gronk: Godwin (21) // Evans (24) // Brown (32)
- Evans had just four games of 20+ DK pts in 2020 (1 with AB)
- Evans has three games of 20+ DK pts already in 2021 (2 with AB)
- Brown has more yds than Godwin in 4 of 5 games
- WRs with 70+ yds vs CHI: Kupp (108:1), Van (80:1) // Boyd (73) // Odell (77) // Cephus (83), St. Brown (70) // Davante (89)
- CHI is facing the 6th highest aDOT
- TB WR aDOTs: Evans (14.5) // Brown (13.3) // Godwin (8.6)
- Fournette rush att: 9 // 11 // 4 // 20 // 12 // 22
- Fournette targets: 7 // 4 // 3 // 5 // 5 // 6
- RBs with 60+ rush yds vs CHI: Hendy (70:1) // Mixon (69) // Hunt (81:1), Chubb (84) // Williams (66) // Jones (76)
- Fournette rush yds: 32 // 52 // 8 // 92 // 67 // 81
- RBs with 30+ rec yds vs CHI: Hunt (74) // Swift (33) // Jones (34:1)
- Fournette rec yds: 27 // 24 // 26 // 47 // 43 // 46
- TB has allowed the 6th most completed air yds despite the 2nd lowest forced aDOT
- Fields aDOT by game: 11.6 // 6.2 // 13.4 // 10.2 // 12.5
- Fields on 20+ yd passes: 6/19 for 192 yds, INT (7 Big Time Throws per PFF)
- QB pass yds vs TB: 403 // 300 // 343 // 275 // 275 // 115
- Fields pass yds: 60 // 68 // 209 // 111 // 174
- QB pass att vs TB: 58 // 48 // 38 // 40 // 39 // 26
- Fields pass att: 13 // 20 // 17 // 20 // 27
- Hurts rushed for 44 yds, 2 TD on 10 att vs TB
- Fields rushing yds: 31 // 12 // 9 // 4 // 43
- TB blitzes at the highest rate in the NFL
- Fields has taken almost half as many sacks (8) as he has completions vs the blitz (17) on 43 blitzed dropbacks
- ARob doesn’t have more than 63 yds this season
- Mooney has one game over 66 yds this season (125)
- WRs with 60+ yds vs TB: Cooper (13:139:2), Lamb (7:104:1) // Ridley (7:63:1) // Kupp (9:96:2), Jackson (3:120:1) // Meyers (8:70) // Williams (3:60) //
- Tg in last 3 with Lazor calling plays: Mooney (7, 5, 8) // ARob (3, 5, 7)
- WRs aDOT:
- TB is allowing the 6th most WR DK pts/g
- TEs vs TB: Jarwin/Schultz (9:65) // Pitts (5:73) // Higbee (5:40:1) // Henry (4:32:1), Jonnu (3:14:1) // Gesicki (4:43) // Ertz (4:29:1)
- TB allowed 14.2 & 14.0 DK pts/g to TEs in Bowles first two TB seasons
- TB is allowing 16.5 DK pts to TEs through six games
- Kmet has two games with 40+ rec yds (42, 49), and four games with a combined 39 rec yds
- CHI rush att sans Monty: Williams (16, DNP) // Herbert (18, 19)
- CHI rush yds sans Monty: Williams (64, DNP) // Herbert (75, 97)
- Def rush DVOA of those two defenses: LV (10th) // GB (30th)
- Def rush DVOA of TB: 5th
- No team allowed fewer rush yds than TB in 2020, with the next closest team allowing nearly 200 yds more; 2019 TB allowed the fewest by 100+ yds as well
- In 20 games, Kamara, CMC, & Cook were the only RBs to break 20 DK pts vs TB, and AK & CMC both needed 2 TDs to get there
- Gurley & AK were the only two RBs to break 20 DK pts in 2019 vs TB, and they combined for 17 rec in those 2 games
- Through six 2021 games, TB has allowed two 20+ DK pt scores to RBs, with Patterson & Gaskin combining for 15 rec & 4 TDs in those games
- Patterson (7:11:1, 5:58:1) // Gaskin (5:25, 10:74:2)
- TB allowed the most RB rec in 2020; 7.5 rec/g allowed so far in 2021
- Targets sans Monty: Williams (2, 3, –) // Herbert (0, 0, 3)