Location: London, England
Time: 1:00ET/Noon CT
Announcers: Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, Tony Siragusa
Weather: 55°F, Mostly Clear
Line: Bears by 1.5
Injury Report: CHICAGO — T Gabe Carimi (OUT), DT Matt Toeaina (OUT), WR Earl Bennett (PROBABLE), TE Kellen Davis (PROBABLE), WR Devin Hester (WILL PLAY), S Anthony Walters (PROBABLE), S Major Wright (WILL PLAY)
TAMPA BAY – WR Sammie Stroughter (OUT), RB LeGarrette Blount (OUT), TE Luke Stocker (QUESTIONABLE), DT Gerald McCoy (QUESTIONABLE), DE Michael Bennett (PROBABLE), TE Kellen Winslow (Not Injury related, Expected to Play), LB Mason Foster (PROBABLE)
Key Matchup: Bucs Defense vs. Jay Cutler
Last Week: Buccaneers beat Saints 26-20 , Bears beat Vikings 39-10
Last Meeting: September 21, 2008 — Bears 24, Buccaneers 27
Series History (Since 2001): Bears lead series 4-3
Last Minute Preview: Tampa is coming off a hot and ever important win over the Saints last Sunday butt eh question will be continuity. They came off two impressive wins against the Falcons and Colts and got blown away when forced to travel cross country. Now they have been asked to travel cross-continent to London and how it effects them will be one of the storylines to follow. Tampa did try to counter the effects of jet-lag by leaving almost immediately after their 26-20 win over the Saints and have spent all week abroad. This gives them a key advantage over the Bears, who chose not to arrive until early Friday morning.
Another storyline is how the Bucs will handle Devin Hester. It’s no longer a sign of conformity to admit kicking to him is a terrible, terrible idea. Plus if you do and he burns you, you’ll never hear the end of it from various football pundits across the sports media universe. Raheem Morris is a gutsy coach that prides himself on not being afraid of anyone and not having one task be too hard to take on. It is for this reason I firmly believe he kicks it to Devin Hester to start the game. He will want to flex his muscles early and if he stops Hester, it will look brilliant and stifle the Bears. If he takes it to the house, then the move looks as dumb as it does when every other coach does it. Other than a return game, the Bears aren’t a scary team. Matt Forte is the X-Factor as he will either torch the Bucs or be crippled by a terrible passing attack. Josh Freeman needs to get the Bears on their heels early by way of Earnest Graham and then utilize the passing lanes. It won’t be a cake walk by any means, but the Bears shouldn’t be a team that outsmarts or outplays the Bucs in London.