The last time the Bears came to Tampa Bay it was a blood-bath blowout. The only real drama in the game was when Mike Evans gave away Tom Brady’s 600th touchdown ball like it were any other time he’d scored. Thankfully Brady got the ball back but that’s pretty much how the game went as the Bucs torched the Bears 38-3.
It feels rather obvious that things will play out differently this season.
Justin Fields took a giant step forward last year, to the point where we talked ourselves into the Bucs trading for him if the Bears ended up using the No. 1 pick on a quarterback. Chicago’s defense got better this offseason, and the offense added weapons all across the board.
This could be a humbling game for the Bucs, but the Bears aren’t Super Bowl contenders quite yet and Tampa Bay should be able to hang with them close enough to make things interesting. As with most things this year, though, it won’t come easy.
Buccaneers record: 1-1
This is going to be a potentially humbling game for the Buccaneers, one that probably carries some PTSD to it from what fans experienced last year.
In 2022, this is a game the Buccaneers look at this time of the year and circle as a win. After all, the team was a few months removed from bouncing the Eagles from the NFC Wild Card and Tom Brady had returned to once again put the Bucs on a path to contention.
We all know what happened in winnable games last year, and things probably won’t be much better this time around. Something else that was different about last year was how much better the Eagles were. Tampa Bay would have caught the Super Bowl runner-ups in the middle of a heater — and might have even dropped a game to Gardner Minshew if it were scheduled during Jalen Hurts being out.
This year’s Eagles might not be as good as last year’s but Philly didn’t do much to take any obvious steps backward. The defense not only looks to be dominant again this year, even without Jonathan Gannon, but it improved in the NFL Draft. Tampa Bay will have its hands full and it’s not an insult to say this would be a surprising upset for the Bucs to pull off.
A game like this is a perfect representation of the gap that now exists between the Bucs and true Super Bowl contenders now that we’re in the post-Brady era.
Buccaneers record: 1-2