Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-8 SU, 4-6 ATS) vs. Chicago Bears (4-6 SU, 4-6 ATS)
NFL Week 12
Date and Time: Sunday, November 23, 1:00pm EST
Where: Soldier Field – Chicago, IL
by Bob, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: TAM +6/CHI -6
Over/Under Total: 46.5
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This Sunday, we will have an NFC contest between two teams that desperately need to start winning again. Tampa Bay will travel into Chicago to take on the Bears in Soldier Field. These two teams have not faced off since 2011, and that year, Chicago got a hard fought 24-18 win in Tampa. Can Tampa return the favor up north?
Chicago has opened as a six point home favorite and the over/under is set at 46.5 total points. Against the spread this season, Chicago is 4-6 and Tampa has the exact same record against the spread, even though their overall record is two games worse. As of Tuesday night, 64% of the recorded action has been placed on the Bears to cover the spread. Both teams are playing pretty inconsistent, so I do not see any reason why one of these teams would have so much action on them.
The Bears started this season with high hopes of making a run at the NFC North title. It is pretty evident that this team is not ready to compete at a high level just yet. Before defeating the Vikings this past weekend, the Bears lost back to back games in completely embarrassing fashion. On October 23rd, they went to Foxboro and were hammered by the Patriots 51-23. The following week, they looked even worse at home when the Green Bay Packers took a 42-0 lead into halftime, thats right, halftime. That game ended 55-14 and it was not even that close. It was one of the most one sided NFL games I have ever seen. If Chicago plans on getting back on the winning track, they are going to need to improve on the defensive side of the ball. The Bears are giving up over 255 yards passing per game, and another 110 per game on the ground. If they cannot stop the passing game of the Bucs, they may not only miss covering this spread, but they could easily lose this game. The offense has been pretty average all season. With a top ten passing offense, and top 20 run game, the Bears do an okay job of scoring points. The key to this game for Chicago is to shut down the Tampa passing game. The Buccaneers have some big receivers and if the Chicago DBs cannot contain them, they may find themselves in a dog fight all day.
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For a few weeks, it looked like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were the worst team in the NFL. Although they are 2-9, they have been somewhat competitive in a few of those losses. Tampa has lost two games in overtime, and another four games by less than a touchdown. A few lucky bounces here and there, and Tampa could have a much better record. The Bucs are coming off their best performance of the season after beating the Redskins 27-7. Rookie wide receiver, Mike Evans, had a career day when he caught two touchdown passes and racked up 209 yards through the air. Tampa has some young talent, and are just a few playmakers on each side of the ball away from being a very good team. The key to this game for Tampa is simple, stay in the game. Do not let Chicago jump out early. The Bears have seemed very fragile lately and appear to be a team that will easily fold in tough situations. If Tampa can get up by two scores early, I can see them getting the win.
I can understand why on paper it would appear that Chicago should win this game going away, but I do not trust this Bears team right now. Not only is Tampa showing signs of life and being competitve, but their coach Lovie Smith would love nothing more than going into his old home and getting a win. I think this game comes down to the very end. No idea who will win, but I see a close three point win for someone.
Bob’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: PICK TAMPA BAY +6