CHICAGO BEARS (0-1) AT TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (0-0)
KICKOFF: Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Raymond James Stadium. TV: FOX, Dick Stockton, Mark Schlereth, Shannon Spake.
SERIES HISTORY: 58th regular season meeting. Bears leads series, 38-19. Tampa Bay won the most recent meeting, 38-10 at Raymond James Stadium in 2016. The teams played in 2011 in London with the Bears prevailing 24-18. Until 2002, the Bears and Bucs were in the NFC Central division.
KEYS TO THE GAME: As much as Bears rookie Tarik Cohen surprised much of the NFL with a breakout debut Sunday, at least one Bucs player knew exactly what he would face this week as Chicago comes to play Tampa Bay. "When I saw what he did in his first game, I wasn't shocked at all," said CB Ryan Smith, who played at North Carolina Central when Cohen played for rival North Carolina A&T. "He's a great player, a great athlete. I played him my last two years, and he gave us hell."
Stopping the Bears' running game will be the biggest test for the Bucs. Chicago RB Jordan Howard will run downhill while Cohen will test the Bucs on the perimeter in the pass and run game. The Bucs are familiar with Bears QB Mike Glennon, but he has a deep knowledge of Tampa Bay's defensive players.
Offensively, the Bucs figure to be rusty. Jameis Winston did not throw a touchdown pass in the preseason, but he has good rapport with WRs Mike Evans, Cameron Brate and Adam Humphries. Running the football is the key to the Bucs' play-action game. But RB Jacquizz Rodgers has to carry the load the next three games while Doug Martin is serving a suspension. The Bears did a nice job against Falcons RB Devonta Freeman in Week 1 and will look to continue their strong running defense.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH:
--Bears QB Mike Glennon vs. Bucs QB Jameis Winston. Glennon, who started 18 games for the Bucs in his career, was the backup for Winston the last two seasons in Tampa Bay. He knows the Bucs' defense, and he is looking to bounce back from a narrow loss in Week 1 despite a decent performance.
--Bears DE Akiem Hicks vs. Bucs RG J.R. Sweezy. Less than 48 hours after signing a contract extension, Hicks had three tackles and two sacks last week against Atlanta. Sweezy is making his first regular-season start for the Bucs after spending 2016 on injured reserve.
PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Bears RB Jordan Howard. Howard was so upset after last week's loss that he did not talk to reporters. A big reason for Howard's disappointment was a dropped pass near the front of the end zone that could have represented a go-ahead touchdown. The second-year running back is looking for a more satisfying Week 2 after rushing for 52 yards and a touchdown against Atlanta. Standing in Howard's way will be Buccaneers LBs Kendall Beckwith, Kwon Alexander and Lavonte David. The linebacking corps might not gain the same headlines as the defensive line or secondary, but its success is vital to preventing Howard and his teammates from breaking big plays.
FAST FACTS: Bears RB Tarik Cohen racked up 158 all-purpose yards in the season opener, which marked a franchise record for a team rookie in his debut performance. ... WR DeSean Jackson will make his debut with the Buccaneers. Since the 2009 season, he ranks fifth in the league with 8,819 receiving yards. ... Bears TE Zach Miller has nine touchdown receptions since 2015, which is most on the team. But he is fighting for targets alongside fellow TEs Dion Sims and Adam Shaheen, a rookie second-round pick. ... Bucs S T.J. Ward will make his debut. Ward registered 87 tackles with the Broncos last season and has posted two seasons with 100 tackles.
PREDICTION: The Bears battled the Falcons hard in Week 1, and no reason exists to think they will show any less effort in Week 2 against Tampa Bay. Still, at the end of the day, the team with more talent prevails.
OUR PICK: Buccaneers, 24-20.