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Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Chicago Bears: Lineups and analysis

The Bears hardly resemble the team that played in the NFC title game last season. Their defense has been ragged and their offense uneven. Their secondary is a major problem, and the Bucs — like they did against the Saints last week — perhaps can take advantage. That's provided Tampa Bay can stop running back Matt Forte.

Probable starters

Bucs offense

WR: Mike Williams 19

LT: Donald Penn 70

LG: Ted Larsen 62

C: Jeremy Zuttah, 76

RG: Davin Joseph 75

RT: Jeremy Trueblood 65

TE: Kellen Winslow 82

WR: Arrelious Benn 17

QB: Josh Freeman 5

RB: Earnest Graham 34

FB: Erik Lorig 44

Bucs defense

LDE: Michael Bennett 71

DT: Frank Okam 98

DT: Brian Price 92

RDE: Adrian Clayborn 94

SLB: Quincy Black 58

MLB: Mason Foster 59

WLB: Geno Hayes 54

LCB: Aqib Talib 25

RCB: Ronde Barber 20

SS: Sean Jones 26

FS: Tanard Jackson 36

special teams

P: Michael Koenen 9

PK: Connor Barth 10

KO: Michael Koenen 9

PR/KR: Preston Parker 87

Bears offense

WR: Devin Hester 23

LT: J'Marcus Webb 73

LG: Chris Williams 74

C: Roberto Garza 63

RG: Chris Spencer 67

RT: Lance Louis 60

TE: Kellen Davis 87

WR: Roy Williams 11

QB: Jay Cutler 6

RB: Matt Forte 22

FB: Tyler Clutts 44

Bears defense

LDE: Israel Idonije 71

DT: Henry Melton 69

DT: Matt Toeaina 76

RDE: Julius Peppers 90

SLB: Lance Briggs 55

MLB: Brian Urlacher 54

WLB: Nick Roach 53

LCB: Tim Jennings 26

RCB: Charles Tillman 33

SS: Major Wright 27

FS: Chris Conte 47

special teams

P: Adam Podlesh 8

PK: Robbie Gould 9

KO: Robbie Gould 9

PR/KR: Devin Hester 23

Injury report

BUCS — Out: C Jeff Faine (biceps), WR Sammie Stroughter (ankle). Doubtful: RB LeGarrette Blount (knee). Questionable: DT Gerald McCoy (ankle), TE Luke Stocker (knee). Probable: DE Michael Bennett (groin), LB Mason Foster (ankle).

Bears Out: T Gabe Carimi (knee), DT Matt Toeaina (knee). Probable: WR Earl Bennett (chest), TE Kellen Davis (elbow), WR Devin Hester (chest), S Anthony Walters (knee), S Major Wright (hip).

Stat pack

1 p.m., Wembley Stadium, London TV/radio: Ch. 13; 620-AM, 103.5-FM Line/over-under: Bears by 1; 43½

avg. Rushing yards

avg. passing yards

avg. total yards

avg. Rushing yards allowed

avg. passing yards allowed

avg. total yards allowed



111.8 (15th)

104.3 (20th)

114.5 (18th)

121.8 (22nd)

238.7 (14th)

223.5 (21st)

276.0 (26th)

275.5 (25th)

350.5 (15th)

327.8 (21st)

390.5 (25th)

397.3 (29th)

Bears' best offensive player

Matt Forte is, arguably, the most complete running back in the NFL. He can run, catch and block with the best and leads the Bears in rushing yards, receptions and receiving yards. He averages 6.7 yards per touch, including 5.3 per carry.

Bears' best defensive player

End Julius Peppers, now 31, is getting older, but he's still a handful for offensive tackles. If the Bucs end up with too many third-and-long situations today — which they often do — Peppers will have a chance to impact the outcome of this game.

The Bucs must avoid …

Letting Matt Forte beat them. The running back is, by far, the biggest component of the Bears offense. If the Bucs don't at least keep him in check, they likely will lose. The Bears go as he goes.

What the Bears do best

The Bears are extraordinary on special teams. More than half of their 128 points have come on special teams either as a result of Robbie Gould (13-for-13 on field goals) or Devin Hester, who has two returns for scores.

You can beat the Bears if …

You establish a running game. This likely will open up opportunities to test a secondary that has been particularly disappointing. The Bears are giving up 275.5 passing yards per game.

Prediction Bucs 24, Bears 21

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Chicago Bears: Lineups and analysis 10/21/11 [Last modified: Saturday, October 22, 2011 5:18pm]
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