Dangerous Bucs pose challenge to Bears

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In a matchup of stark contrasts, Tampa Bay brings its explosive offense to the lakefront Sunday  to challenge a stout Chicago Bears defense.

The Bears, 2-1 and surprise leaders in the NFC North, are seeking to finish the first quarter strong but will be undermanned.

Already ruled out are CB Prince Amukamara and backup corner Marcus Cooper.  Undrafted rookie free agent Kevin Toliver faces a stiff test against speedy veteran DeSean Jackson and big-bodied wideout Mike Evans.

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The Bucs are coming off their first loss and a short-week, dropping a 30-27 contest to Pittsburgh Monday night.  Starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick displayed a hot hand in the Bucs first three games, but threw three interceptions in the Steelers defeat.  Adding to the intrigue is former starter Jamies Winston is eligible to return after a four-game NFL imposed suspension.

Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter has remained mum publically, but all signs point to Fitzpatrick getting the nod and Winston working in relief.

Something has to give when TAMPA BAY’s league-leading offense (473.3 net yards per game) faces off against KHALIL MACK Buccaneers wide receivers EVANS (367 receiving yards and three touchdown catches) and JACKSON (312 receiving yards and three touchdown catches) are the only pair of teammates in NFL history with at least 300 receiving yards and three touchdown catch

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es each in a team’s first three games of a season. The Bears enter Sunday’s matchup with an NFL-leading 14 sacks and rank fifth in the league in total defense, allowing 289 net yards per game. Mack has recorded at least one sack and one forced fumble in each of his first three games with the Bears.

Meanwhile, Chicago quarterback Mitch Trubisky seeks consistency. Trubisky’s shaky play early in the year has prevented the Bears offense from hitting on all cylinders, but he’s not the only culprit.  The offensive line has struggled to open up enough creases in the run game, allowing teams to stack the box and bottle up Jordan Howard.

If the Bears can find a way to get solid performances on both sides of the ball and slow down the Bucs offense, Chicago and its fans will head into an early bye week with a promising outlook.

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