Recommended Wager: Tampa Bay (-3.5) over Chicago

Carolina @ Atlanta
Recommended Wager: ATL -2.0
Strength: 5.16

Key Injuries:
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: (Week 13 bye)
-WR Mike Evans (ankle) did not practice this week and is QUESTIONABLE. He temporarily left his week 4 game after an awkward tackle only to return and dominate.
-WR Chris Godwin (hamstring) was injured week 3 and INACTIVE week 4 and OUT week 5. He has not practiced since the injury.
-WR Justin Watson (chest) did not practice all week and is OUT.
-WR Scotty Miller (hip/groin) did not practice Monday or Tuesday, but was limited Wednesday and is QUESTIOANBLE.
-RB Leonard Fournette (ankle) was INACTIVE week 4 and DOUBTFUL week 5. He has not practiced since the injury.
-RB LeSean McCoy (ankle) was injured week 4 and is OUT week 5 after not practicing all week.
IR: TE OJ Howard (Achilles – season ending), RB Kejon Barner (suspension)

Chicago Bears: (Week 11 bye)
-S Deon Bush (hamstring) is OUT after not practicing all week.
IR: RB Tarik Cohen (ACL), DT Eddie Goldman (opt out), CB Artie Burns (knee)

Line watching: The line opened at 3 and quickly moved to 3.5, where it’s remained steady.

Matchup breakdown:
The Bucs are a solid team across the board. Old man Brady isn’t giving up quite yet, he’s entering the game third in the league in PFF grade. The only problem is the injuries at the skill position. I don’t particular care about the running backs, and Ronald Jones is a fine option either way. However, Mike Evans is questionable, Scotty Miller is questionable, Chris Godwin is out, and OJ Howard is done for the year. Evans played through the injury that is currently ailing him, so I think he’s got a solid chance to play. If Miller can’t go, Justin Watson will be the next man up, and the Bucs may need to ask ex wrestler Rob Gronkowski to contribute more as a receiver. On defense, the Bucs rank 1st in the league in Football Outsider’s predictive DAVE ranking. Their pass rush is lead by Shaq Barrett (21 pressures), Vita Vea (12), and Jason Pierre-Paul. LeVonte David is one of the better all around linebackers in football, while Carlton Davis and Jamel Dean have played well at cornerback.

Given the matchup, the 3-1 Bears will have thier work cut out for them. Nick Foles will get the start — he took over for Mitch Tribusky week 3 when he lead the Bears back from a 26 – 10 deficit. Last week against an underrated Colts defense, Foles only completed 61.9% of his passes and gained 5.9 yards per attempt. This is Foles in a nut shell — he’s long since been an up and down quarterback capable of being pro bowl worthy one week and practice squad-esque the next. The offensive line has been solid across the board, but the receivers have been as inconsistent as the quarterback. Allen Robinson is the best of the bunch, leading the way with 41 targets, 25 catches, 331 yards, and 2 touchdowns. The next leading pass catchers by targets are the corpse of Jimmy Graham (22), 5th round rookie Darnell Mooney (19), and slot receiver Anthony Miller (19). David Montgomery will handle the bulk of the work at running back and will be in the mix as a receiver as well. On defense, the pass rush is reliant on Khalil Mack (22 pressures) on the outside and Aikem Hicks (16) on the inside. Kyler Fuller is a veteran, consistent corner, while 2020 2nd rounder Jaylon Johnson has played well. Their linebackers and defensive interior has struggled against the run, so it isn’t a total surprise to see them much better against the pass (5th in DVOA) than the run (16th).

Enjoy your Thursday, bitches.

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