Bucs vs. Bears Preview

Mon Venus has become one of my favorite places on God’s green earth. As I have mentioned before I am displaced Bucs fan. I moved to Northern Virginia about a year ago for the job, which means I am home this weekend for the holiday.

Originally, I figured the Bolts game would be one of the highlights of my weekend, but that was the worst Lightning game I have ever been to. Just atrocious goalie play by Sean Burke.

But then I ran into some guys from high school and some how ended up at Mons, and suddenly my Friday (or early Saturday morning) wasn’t all that bad. I've been to Gentlemans Clubs in Scotland and Montreal but nothing beats Mons. Although few things feel worse than waking up after you left your contacts in all night.

Anyway, for my game preview I stealing the format from Mistake by the Lake (again) and using Football Outsider’s stats to examine the match ups in this game. You can find a more detailed description of Outsider’s stats here, but basically they break every team’s plays down and compare them to the league average.

First, let’s look at the Buc’s offense versus the Bear’s defense.

DVOA . . . . . . Buc's offense . . . . . .Bear's defense
Passing . . . . . -4.4% (#21) . . . . . . . . . -49.5% (#1)
Rushing . . . . . -15.1% (#26) . . . . . . . . -27.0% (#1)

When it comes to DVOA, if you’re an offense you want a more positive percentage, but if you’re a defense a more negative rating is better.

As well as the Bucs offense has played in the last two games they will struggle to put points on the board against a solid Bears defense. If the Bears defense looks familiar it’s because it has been modeled after the Bucs defense. Bears coach Lovie Smith studied under Tony Dungy and Monte Kiffin, before leaving for St. Louis and eventually Chicago.

Simms will have to play Dilfer-ball to win this game, i.e. focus on not turning the ball over. The Bears defense is the definition of opportunistic as evidenced by their 108 yard defensive touchdown against the 49ers a few weeks ago. If he does turn the ball over and give the Bears offense a short field the Bucs will lose the game.

DVOA . . . . . . . Bears offense . . . . . . Bucs defense
Passing . . . . . . -40.0% (#29) . . . . . . . . 3.3% (#17)
Rushing . . . . . . 1.8% (#11) . . . . . . . . . . -15.9% (#9)

Forget everything you’ve heard about Bears quarterback Kyle Orton playing safe ball and not making mistakes. He has 11 interceptions and 4 fumbles this year. But as bad as the Bears passing game is their rushing game with Thomas Jones has proven to be dangerous.

The key for the Bears offense has been the improved play of the line this season which has benefited from playing with a short field. The Bears defense is tied for eighth with 22 turnovers, but the offense has turned the ball over 23 times.

If the Bucs can shut down their former runningback they should be able to create turnovers by forcing the bears to throw the ball. Then just hope kicker Matt Bryant has a little of the magic from last week left in his leg.

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