The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are coming off a hard-fought upset victory against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 1. As they prepare for their Week 2 matchup against the Chicago Bears, several bold predictions could come to fruition. Here are four bold predictions for the Buccaneers in their upcoming game.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Victory Against Minnesota Vikings
The Buccaneers faced the Vikings in their season opener, delivering a thrilling contest that kept fans on the edge of their seats. Quarterback Baker Mayfield led the way with a solid if unspectacular performance. He threw for 173 yards and two touchdowns to Mike Evans and Trey Palmer. The Buccaneers' defense, known for its ferocious pass rush, sacked Vikings QB Kirk Cousins twice and forced two fumbles, shifting momentum in their favor. The game was a nail-biter, but the Buccaneers clinched a 20-17 victory. That marked a strong start to their 2023 campaign and showcased a well-rounded team.
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Here are our four bold predictions for the Buccaneers as they face the Bears in Week 2.
1. Buccaneers Win by More Than 10 Points
The Buccaneers are favored to win against the Bears in Week 2, and we think they will win by more than 10 points. The Bears struggled in their Week 1 matchup against the Green Bay Packers, losing 38-20. The Buccaneers have a solid offense led by Mayfield, and their defense is one of the better ones in the league. If they can continue to play at a high level, they should be able to win by a comfortable margin.
The Bucs are playing their home opener after a tough road victory at Minnesota. Meanwhile, Chicago was awful in its home loss to the Packers. That will carry over here. The Chicago defense has issues, which Baker Mayfield will take advantage of to get the Bucs to 2-0.
2. Mayfield Throws for Over 200 Yards
Speaking of Mayfield, he completed 21 of 34 passes for 173 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. He also added eight carries for 11 yards in the Buccaneers' upset win over the Vikings. Officially beginning his tenure as the Buccaneers' starting quarterback, Mayfield displayed impressive poise during a mistake-free performance in a tough road environment. The 2018 first overall pick unsurprisingly leaned on Mike Evans and Chris Godwin the most. Recall that 11 of his completions, 117 yards, and one of his touchdowns ended up in the hands of the duo. Mayfield connected with seven different targets overall, and he also hit rookie Trey Palmer for a seven-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter. With a solid start to the season under his belt, Mayfield will look to build on it in his Week 2 home debut against the Bears.
“Get that weight up little boy” -Baker Mayfield pic.twitter.com/aEVKF8fiG8
— JC Cornell (@CornellNFL) September 11, 2023
Mayfield should have performances like this when the matchup is right, including in Week 2 against Chicago. The Bears allowed Jordan Love to put up over 240 yards in Week 1, and we like Mayfield's chances to have another good game. Of course, he'll continue to lean on Evans and Godwin.
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3. Mike Evans Finds Endzone Again
Now on to Evans. He secured six of 10 targets for 66 yards and a touchdown in the Buccaneers' win over the Vikings. Evans finished as the team leader in receptions, receiving yards and targets. He helped Mayfield author an upset victory on the road in his first official game as future Hall of Famer Tom Brady's successor. The multi-time Pro Bowl receiver recorded an impressive 28-yard touchdown grab with just over a minute left in the first half to begin Tampa Bay's comeback from a 10-3 deficit. Evans should naturally remain one of Mayfield's top targets throughout the season. As such, he'll have a chance to work with his new quarterback at home for the first time in what could be a favorable Week 2 matchup against the Bears.
We like Evans' chances of doing well against Chicago. Also, this could be the last home-opener for Evans, who is a free agent after this year. It was great to see Baker Mayfield keep Evans playing at a high level in their first game together, and Godwin will hopefully follow suit against the Bears. We have Evans recording his second touchdown of the season in Week 2.
4. Rachaad White Bounces Back
Rachaad White rushed 17 times for 39 yards and brought in both targets for 10 yards in the Buccaneers' win over the Vikings. As expected, White handled a true lead-back role to kick off his second season. However, the matchup proved anything but favorable. A Vikings defense that already looks more aggressive under new coordinator Brian Flores repeatedly stifled White on the ground. They limited him to a miserable 2.3 yards per carry and a long run of six yards. Nevertheless, the touch volume was certainly encouraging. This means White could encounter a more palatable scenario against the Bears during a Week 2 early afternoon home matchup in the fatiguing Florida heat.
Yes, we were disappointed with White at Minnesota in Week 1. That said, we're going back to him this week against the Bears given the matchup at home. Tampa Bay isn't expected to be favored in many games, and Chicago is still chasing Aaron Jones. Recall that Jones had 127 total yards and two touchdowns for the Packers in Week 1. White isn't likely to do that, but he should have a good enough bounce-back performance in Week 2.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are coming off a hard-fought victory in Week 1, and they will look to continue their winning ways against the Chicago Bears in Week 2. With a solid offense led by Baker Mayfield and a talented defense, the Buccaneers have the potential to make several bold predictions come true. If they can execute their game plan, they should be able to come out on top against the Bears.