Tom Brady returns to primetime tonight when his new team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, challenge the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. The contest is scheduled to kickoff at 5:20 p.m. Pacific Time.
He brings with him a three game winning streak, his record with the Buccaneers only blemished by an opening day loss to the New Orleans Saints. The Bears are also 3-1, having won their first three games before being beaten last Sunday at home by the Indianapolis Colts.
The path for these two National Football Conference squads has been quite different. The Buccaneers are confident that Brady will continue to improve as the season progresses and he develops a rapport with his new team.
The Bears are as confident in their quarterback situation as Wiley E. Coyote is of catching the Roadrunner.
Two years ago, the Bears won the NFC North Division after four straight last place finishes. Their success was keyed by a rock solid defense and a rookie head coach, Matt Nagy, who seemed to be the answer for second-year quarterback Mitch Trubisky. Expectations were sky high for the Bears before the 2019 season, and in the dumper after last year’s return to an also-ran.
Now, on my charts, the Bears off-season following a meteoric rise the season before, is as common as an ice cream cone melting in the sun. This year, after paying the price the season before with expectations that exceeded actual talent and winning experience, the Bears should have a solid year and return to the playoffs.
But if they are to return to the postseason, it may well not be with the quarterback who opened their season behind center. Trubisky is not the darling in Chicago anymore, but rather a harsh reminder that Chicago could have selected Patrick Mahomes with the pick they used to acquire Trubisky. The QB that struggled in 2019, was behind center when the Bears opened the season with wins over the Detroit Lions and New York Giants.
But, in a third week game in Atlanta, against a Falcons defense that allows points and passing yards like they were holding a yard sale on them, the Bears offense was anemic into the second half. This followed their win over the Giants, which saw them score 17 points in the first half and get shutout in the final two quarters while barely holding onto their lead in a 17-13 win.
When Trubisky tossed an interception to a wide open defender, Nagy had seen enough and called on one-time Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Nick Foles to turn the fortunes of the Bears around.
He stung the Falcons with three touchdown passes that counted, and two more near TD tosses that were nullified, to guide Chicago to their third straight victory, 30-26.
So, what do you think is going to happen next?
Right, the confidence Foles gained against one of the worst defenses in football was blunted when he came up against one of the best defenses in his first Chicago start. Last Sunday, the Bears offense returned to anemic and the visiting Indianapolis Colts pinned them with their first loss of the season, 19-11.
Foles will get another chance to win at Soldier Field tonight, and he will be doing it against the quarterback he outdueled three years ago in Super Bowl LII.
Brady doesn’t usually miss an opportunity to get revenge, but is this revenge for him or a perfect spot for the Bears to pick up their fourth win of the season?
Turns out, it is a perfect spot for Chicago, and we can cash a ticket with that knowledge.
Qoxhi Picks: Chicago Bears (+3½) over Tampa Bay Buccaneers