Prime Time Picks is 6-2, and my next preview and prediction will focus on the Thursday night game between the Buccaneers (3-1) and the Bears (3-1).
Week 5 Prime Time Picks: Buccaneers (-4.5) vs Bears (+185) O/U 44 – All lines via DraftKings
After a shaky season opener, Tom Brady and the Buccaneers have bounced back strong and are riding a three-game winning streak as they head to Solider Field in Chicago to take on Nick Foles and the Bears. Chicago is coming off a tough loss to the Colts that knocked them from the ranks of the unbeaten on Sunday. Can Chicago bounce back on a short week? Or will the Bucs take their winning streak to four games?
Super Bowl LII featured Foles defeating Brady and the Patriots by leading the Eagles to their first Super Bowl victory. Foles also walked away with the Super Bowl MVP trophy. A lot has changed since then, and this is the first time the two QB’s will meet since. Can Brady get his revenge?
Brady 5-0 vs Bears
In his career, Brady is 5-0 against the Bears, including 2-0 at Solider Field. In those five games, Brady has posted a passer rating of 109.2, completed 70.3 percent of his passes for 1,595 yards, 14 TD’s, and just four interceptions. His most recent win against Chicago came in Week 7 of 2018, a road win by a score of 38-31. Brady will look to continue this success on Thursday and move to 6-0 in his career against Chicago.
Foles Looking to Keep the Magic Alive
After sparking a massive second half comeback against the Falcons in which he threw 3 TD’s, Nick Foles came back down to Earth last week against the Colts. Foles’ offense was held to just 11 points (eight of which came in the fourth quarter), and the Bears only gained 277 yards for the game. Foles’ stat line: 26/42, 249 yards, TD, INT, one sack, passer rating of 76.4. The Colts defense has been dominant this season, as they lead the league in total defense (227 yds/game and 14 points/game), so it was no easy task, but Foles was unable to have any sustained success. The matchup is tough again this week as the Buccaneers defense is 4th in league in yards per game at 312. The good news for Foles is that the Bucs are coming off a week in which they let rookie Justin Herbert throw all over them. Herbert posted a rating of 137.9, completed 80% of his passes (20/25), for 290 yards, 3 TD’s, and 1 INT, and the Chargers put up 31 points. In a short week, Foles will try to emulate the success that Herbert had.
Bears Running Game Without Tarik Cohen
Bears RB Tarik Cohen tore his ACL in the game against the Falcons and will miss the remainder of the season. This led David Montgomery to be the lead back in the game against the Colts, and the Bears running game was pretty much non-existent. The Bears has just 28 rushing yards for the game, averaging a measly 1.8 yards per carry. Things do not get easier this week, as the Bucs rushing defense is giving up just 64.3 yards per game on the ground, good for 2nd in the league.
Allen Robinson Needs to Shine
In an otherwise terrible offense showing last week, Allen Robinson was the one bright spot, as he had seven catches for 101 yards and a TD. So far this season, Robinson has 25 catches for 331 yards and 2 TD’s. He seems to have good chemistry with Foles too, as both his touchdown catches have come from Foles. Robinson will need to have a big game again on Thursday if the Bears want to move to 4-1. The opportunity may be there, as the Bucs passing D is 19th in the league at 247.8 yards per game.
Brady Getting More Comfortable
At 43 years old, Tom Brady is proving he still has a lot of gas left in the tank. After a rough start in Week 1, Brady has bounced back and led the Buccaneers on a three-game winning streak. Last week Brady had his best performance of the season as he competed 30 of his 46 attempts for 369 yards, five touchdowns, and just one interception. He threw his five TD’s to five different receivers. He is tied for 4th in the league with 11 scoring passes, with 8 in the last two games. His favorite target has been Mike Evans, as he has a TD reception in each of the Bucs’ first four games. They will look to continue this success against a strong Bears passing defense that is 9th in the league, allowing 230.3 passing yards per game.
The Bears offense looked pretty bad last week against the top-ranked Colts defense, and the Bucs defense presents another tough matchup for them. The Bears running game was non-existent, and the Bucs defense is 4th best in the league, 2nd best against the run, so running the ball will be difficult for the Bears in this one. This will force Foles to make plays through the air. While I think Foles will be better this week, I don’t think it will be enough to keep up with Brady and the Bucs offense. They are coming off their best week so far this season, and Brady’s chemistry with his receivers, especially Mike Evans, is getting better every week. Brady seems more and more comfortable in this offense each week, and the more comfortable he is, the the more dangerous he is. I expect a solid game from Brady and the Bucs offense, and I think the defense will be able to hold Foles and the Bears offense to a low number of points. Brady will be looking for revenge against Foles, and he is 5-0 against the Bears in his career. I think he will be able to get to 6-0, as well as cover the 4.5 point spread.
Title Photo: Jack Dempsey | Credit: The Associated Press.