Bears vs. Buccaneers time, odds, prediction, key questions: How to watch Tom Brady take on Justin Fields


A new era is underway in Chicago, and an old one is dominating in Tampa. The Bears and Buccaneers couldn’t be in much more different places as we approach the midway point of the 2021 NFL season. Windy City is still learning to love rookie quarterback Justin Fields, whose athleticism has yet to overcome the flaws of Matt Nagy’s offense. The Bucs, meanwhile, are cruising right along with 44-year-old Tom Brady under center, boasting one of the game’s most productive offenses as a true threat to repeat.

Tampa Bay will try to keep pace with the best of the NFC on Sunday, when it’ll look to improve to 6-1 by playing host to the Bears. Chicago, on the other hand? Nagy and Co. are probably hoping mostly for Fields to take another step forward — if not to upset the reigning champions, then to save their jobs. Can the Bears’ defense get after Brady enough to give the rookie a chance at an improbable victory? Or is Tampa Bay destined to dominate once more in the comfort of its own home?

We’ve got you covered below with odds, predictions, key questions, information on how to watch, and more:

How to watch

Date: Sunday, Oct. 24 | Time: 4:25 p.m. ET
Location: Raymond James Stadium (Tampa, Florida)
TV: 
CBS | Stream: Paramount+ (click here)
Follow: CBS Sports App
Odds: Buccaneers -12.5, O/U 47

Key questions

  • Will Nagy trust Fields to air it out? In four starts, Fields has averaged fewer than 7 yards per attempt three times, topping 20 pass attempts just once. But the Bucs are more vulnerable against the pass due to injury. Khalil Herbert is a safer centerpiece for Nagy, but Tampa Bay’s front seven is stingy, which could/should lead to a more opened-up attack.
  • Can Khalil Mack wreck the game? The Bears have definitely done one thing right this year: rush the passer. Mack and Robert Quinn are the leaders, combining for 11.5 sacks in six games. The former is the more imposing, with a chance to disrupt Brady in the pocket. But can he do it consistently? A key will be pressuring TB12 up the middle.
  • Can Chris Godwin or Mike Evans step up? Not that they’ve been invisible, but with Antonio Brown battling an ankle injury, they should get more chances to make a difference. Chicago’s secondary has struggled to contain opposing receivers, so it wouldn’t be surprising for one or maybe even both to sniff 100 yards if Brady can stay in rhythm.

Prediction

Latest Odds:

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
-12.5

Are the Bears feisty? Sure, you could say that. The heat they apply up front ensures they won’t get torched all day long. But if they’re now downing the quarterback, they’re very vulnerable against both the run and pass. Fields, meanwhile, brings an obvious dose of athleticism to their offense, with Khalil Herbert proving capable as a fill-in ball-carrier against Green Bay. And yet he’s been average at best as a passer, partly because of his supporting cast and partly because he’s held the ball too long.

Couple that with the fact the Bucs are at home, coming off a long rest after Week 6’s Thursday night game, and it’s easy to see why oddsmakers favor Tampa Bay by almost two touchdowns. Chicago should keep things chippy early, but Nagy and Fields are too dependent on the ground game to go toe to toe with Brady, even if this were a shootout. The Bucs are superior in almost every way, and they should be well on their way to a fourth straight win.

Pick: Buccaneers 26, Bears 13

Check out CBSSports.com for even more predictions on this game and the rest of Week 7.





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