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Justin Fields Needs Improvised TD Passes

The Bears passing game isn't enough to stand on simple playbook execution with a rookie at quarterback against the Buccaneers, so they'll need improvised TD passes by Justin Fields to win this matchup.

A year ago, after six games of Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles passing, Allen Robinson had 66 targets and 40 receptions. 

Thankfully, the Bears went after a much better option in the passing game to get Robinson the ball and this year after six games of Andy Dalton and Justin Fields the tally is 36 targets and 21 receptions.

That's right, a 45.5% drop in targets and a 47.5% drop in receptions for the No. 1 Bears target.

So obviously Robinson will take his catches any way he can get them at this point while the offense and NFL defenses are still being processed by Fields. This isn't all on Fields, as there has been a real emphasis on running more. But running more last year didn't necessarily mean a 45% cut in targets for Robinson.

One way to get it to him is always playground football. It doesn't involve the playbook or in many cases knowing how to beat a particular defense.

A scrambling quarterback can move around and beat a defense deep by heaving it to a receiver in one on one jump balls.

'You can get a lot of big plays like that," Robinson said.

It is one avenue available to the Bears Sunday against Tampa Bay and they'll need to explore every single one if they hope to stay close to Tom Brady. In fact, if the Bears are to beat Tampa Bay, they'll need a score or two this way.

Here's who wins Sunday's Bears and Buccaneers game and why:

Bears Running

Tampa Bay's defense allowed its first five opponents 60, 55, 76 minus-1, 39 and 100 yards rushing. The 100 yards came courtesy of Jalen Hurts' scrambles. Khalil Herbert talked about being patient with 3- and 4-yard gains first against the Tampa Bay defense before breaking one. A 3- and 4-yard gain might be breaking one against Vita Vea and Co. The Bears benefit from having Damien Williams back but it's not the backs who will have problems. The blockers will . Edge to the Buccaneers.

Bears Passing

It was the inexperienced secondary pulling together that helped make Tampa Bay's run last year to the title possible. Injuries have decimated the cornerback crop, from starters to new backup Richard Sherman. Justin Fields hasn't been an impressive enough passer to take advantage of these weaknesses, but he could have more opportunity to throw because Shaquil Barrett and Co. have only 12 sacks on the season, nine less than the Bears defense has made. No edge.

Bears Run Defense

Tampa Bay has the capability of running it with Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones but neither Tom Brady nor coach Bruce Arians have been patient enough for this to develop. The Bucs are 28th at running the ball and 26th in yards per carry. They're facing a Bears front that in the past has destroyed teams on the ground but injuries to Akiem Hicks and now Bilal Nichols (knee), along with Eddie Goldman working back in as starter at nose tackle have combined to make for an inconsistent Bears run defense. They are 16th stopping the run. No edge.

Bears Pass Defense

The pass rush will be hobbled this week without Robert Quinn and it is the pressure and threat from the pressure which has helped make the pass defense good enough to rank ninth in the NFL. The Bears need more interceptions and playing without starting safety Tashaun Gipson (hip injury) can't help. Backup Deon Bush is on injured reserve and DeAndre Houston-Carson will be making his first career start in Year six of his career. Taking away injured Gronk and Antonio Brown doesn't hurt the Buccaneers attack much when they can use Cameron Brate, O.J. Howard and Scott Miller instead. If the Buccaneers get Khalil Mack blocked, Tom Brady could feast against the Bears secondary. Edge to Buccaneers.

Special Teams

Normally the Bears would rate a big edge here but it is lessened due to the ankle injury to return man Jakeem Grant. If he plays he might not be the risk taker he usually is, and if he doesn't they are using Nsimba Webster, who struggled doing this earlier this season. Cairo Santos does own an advantage over counterpart Ryan Succop, who has missed three field goals and an extra point this season. Edge to Bears.

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Reminder: The Bears could have had Bruce Arians as head coach, but Phil Emery wanted Marc Trestman at the time. Matt Nagy has adjusted to being the non-play caller but you have to wonder how long that will last if things aren't going well on the ground against a good ground attack like Tampa Bay has. He could be grabbing for that play-calling sheet. Edge to Buccaneers.

The Prediction:

The Line:  Tampa Bay by 11 1/2 (over/under 47).

BearDigest season's record: 5-1 straight up, 6-0 vs. the spread.

BearDigest Pick: Tampa Bay 27, Bears 9.

Too much has to go the Bears' way and the one ingredient most major NFL upsets have is a favorite overlooking the underdog. What chance is there of Brady overlooking the Bears after the Bears knocked off Tampa Bay last year and actually embarrassed Brady?

Toss in one other intangible: The heat. The Bears aren't used to playing in 89 degrees and higher humidity. If Brady doesn't wear them out, the sun will.

Twitter: BearDigest@BearsOnMaven