Mayfield, Bucs look to build on confidence-bolstering win as they host Fields, Bears

CHICAGO (0-1) at TAMPA BAY (1-0)

Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT, FOX


AGAINST THE SPREAD: Chicago 0-1; Tampa Bay 1-0.

SERIES RECORD: Bears lead 40-21.

LAST MEETING: Buccaneers beat Bears 38-3 on Oct. 24, 2021, in Tampa Fla.

LAST WEEK: Bears lost 38-20 at home to Green Bay; Buccaneers won 20-17 at Minnesota.





TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Bears minus-2; Buccaneers plus-3.

BEARS PLAYER TO WATCH: QB Justin Fields said he was “a little bit too conservative” last week and settled for screens and swing passes rather than trying to make a play downfield. Considering the Bears are banking on him to grow as a passer, it was an ominous start to his third season. Fields was 24 of 37 for 216 yards, lost a fumble and had an interception returned for a touchdown as the Packers pulled away in the second half. He also ran for 59 yards.

BUCCANEERS PLAYER TO WATCH: QB Baker Mayfield shrugged off a slow start to win his debut for his fourth team in a little more than two years, completing 21 of 34 passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns. More importantly, he didn’t turn the ball over against the Vikings, giving his defense a chance to keep the Bucs in the game until Mayfield could get the offense on track.

KEY MATCHUP: Fields, who was sacked four times in Chicago's season-opening loss to Green Bay, against an aggressive Bucs defense led by LBs Devin White, Lavonte David and Shaquil Barrett. Coach Todd Bowles says it'll take a disciplined, team effort to contain the Bears QB, who has 13 games with 50-plus yards rushing.

KEY INJURIES: Bears S Kyler Gordon (hand) did not practice on Wednesday, after leaving last week’s game. ... LG Teven Jenkins (leg) opened the season on injured reserve. Mayfield (right shoulder) was listed on the Bucs' injury report, but was a full participant in practice early in the week. Rookie DL Calijah Kancey (calf) left Tampa Bay's opener after aggravating the injury that sidelined the first-round draft pick most of training camp and the entire preseason. He did not practice Wednesday, when Bowles said “he's not any worse than he was” and would be evaluated day to day.

SERIES NOTES: The Bears have won six of the past 10 games between the one-time NFC Central rivals. The Buccaneers, however, have won seven of 10 matchups played at Raymond James Stadium.

STATS AND STUFF: Bears running backs combined for just 63 of Chicago’s 122 yards rushing last week and averaged 3.3 yards per attempt. ... WR DJ Moore was targeted only two times in his Bears debut, after Chicago acquired him from Carolina for the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. He has 58 receptions for 776 yards in 10 games against the Buccaneers. ... WR Darnell Mooney had four receptions for 53 yards and a touchdown last week. ... RB D’Onta Foreman had 180 scrimmage yards in two games playing for Carolina against Tampa Bay in 2022. ... DE Yannick Ngakoue had a sack and two tackles for loss in his Bears debut. ... The Bucs defense allowed 41 yards rushing in Week 1, tied with the 49ers for the fewest in the league. The unit also had three takeaways against the Vikings. Since 2019, when Bowles arrived in Tampa Bay as defensive coordinator, the Bucs have forced 105 turnovers, fifth most in the NFL behind the Patriots, Steelers, Cowboys and Bills. The team has scored 393 points off those takeaways, tied with Dallas for first in the league over that stretch.

FANTASY TIP: Bucs WR Chris Godwin has five-plus receptions in a franchise-record-tying 15 consecutive regular-season games, the longest active streak in the NFL. He had eight catches for 111 yards and a TD to help Tampa Bay beat the Bears 38-3 two years ago. WR Mike Evans had six receptions for 76 yards and three TDs in that game.


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