Bears-Buccaneers: 3 matchups to watch

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(670 The Score) Well, it’s here. It’s the week the Bears have to play the Buccaneers ... in Tampa Bay ... seven days after losing to the Packers ... probably without one of their best edge rushers ... and with the league’s worst passing offense. Put those aside, and it looks like a pretty fair matchup between two teams that kinda have a weird history. Tampa Bay spent 25 years in the NFC North for some reason? Tom Brady forgot how many downs there were! Maybe something crazy will happen – at the least, maybe the Bears (-13.5) will cover. Here are a few matchups to watch.

Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin vs. Bears CB Kindle Vildor
I was tempted to pick Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson vs. Buccaneers receiver Mike Evans here, which is a matchup certainly worth watching. But at this point, Johnson is probably pretty close to Evans’ equal and not the matchup that Tampa Bay is going to want to exploit. That dubious award goes to Vildor, who has had a lackluster season so far – in fact, of all NFL cornerbacks who have been targeted at least 10 times, only two have allowed a higher passer rating. And don’t even worry about who’s one spot lower than Vildor! On the other hand, Godwin continues to be very good at basically everything – PFF currently has him as the Bucs’ top-ranked receiver and 27th out of 110 overall in the NFL. Getting anything out of the Bears’ supplementary pass rushers is going to go such a long way Sunday.

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Bears OT Jason Peters vs. Buccaneers OLB Shaq Barrett 
I’m not sure that we, as a collective unit, have fully comprehended that Peters has played like one of the NFL’s elite tackles so far. PFF has him ranked fourth out of 79 eligible tackles, and Peters has allowed just eight pressures and three sacks in 325 snaps so far. The numbers around the Bucs’ pass rush are a little confusing – they rank third in ESPN’s pass rush win rate, but the individual stats and sack numbers aren’t really there so far. After a slow start to the year, Barrett has had 3.5 sacks in the last three weeks. There’s *more* than enough talent on the Bucs’ front to cause problems, especially for a Bears’ offensive line that has Football Outsider’s worst adjusted sack rate (12.4%). (It’s bad.)

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