Sunday Snapshot: Bears vs. Bucs

The NFL experts chip in with everything you need to know ahead of Sunday afternoon's matchup between the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Soldier Field. Keys to the game, injury reports, fast facts, personnel news, and a whole lot more.

Kickoff: Sunday, 12:00 Noon CT
Surface: Grass
Television: NBC – Sam Rosen, Tim Ryan, and Chris Myers
Series: 53rd meeting. The Bears lead the all-time series 35-17, but the Bucs have won eight of the past 13 meetings. The teams last met in 2006 in Chicago, when the Bucs scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to force overtime before losing 34-31. The Bucs and Bears were former NFC Central rivals.

Bucs QB Brian Griese played the past two seasons for the Bears, which means he knows their defense intimately – and vice-versa. But with WR Joey Galloway not expected to play, Griese will simply be asked to manage the game while RB Earnest Graham shoulders the load. In passing situations, the Bucs are concerned about the 11-up scheme the Bears are utilizing, where it's tough to determine who is rushing and who is dropping into coverage. ... Rookie RB Matt Forte has quickly become the centerpiece of the Bears offense, with his feet and his hands. However, Chicago had just two drives of longer than 26 yards last week, and QB Kyle Orton is going to find big plays hard to come by against the Tampa-2 scheme. The Bucs will try to sit on the run and dare Orton to beat them.

Bears: Devin Hester (ribs) could play if he practices Friday; S Brandon McGowan (ankle) has been lost for the season.

Buccaneers: LB Derrick Brooks (hamstring) will play, but his snaps could be limited; Galloway (sprained foot) is unlikely to play.

The Bucs are 17-0 since 2002 when they don't commit a turnover. ... The Bears have won an NFL-best 60 home openers.

WR Earl Bennett
Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images

Bears: Hester did not practice Thursday and revealed that his injury was a torn rib cartilage that made breathing difficult and some movements painful. He said he's progressing and hopes to play Sunday, but that seems extremely doubtful. ... DB Danieal Manning, who has been promoted to nickelback because of the season-ending ankle injury to McGowan, will also handle kickoff returns Sunday if Hester is out, as expected. ... CB Nathan Vasher is the Bears' No. 2 punt returner, and he took over that job last week when Hester was injured. ... WR Earl Bennett is a possible replacement for Hester as the punt returner. He hasn't been active in either of the first two games, but the rookie returned a punt 75 yards for a TD in the preseason. ... DT Tommie Harris (ankle) was limited at practice Wednesday and Thursday but is expected to start Sunday.

Buccaneers: CB Elbert Mack practiced Thursday while awaiting a ruling on his appeal of a one-game suspension without pay. Mack was suspended for his helmet-to-helmet hit against Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan. ... Brooks was limited in practice Thursday with a right hamstring strain but is expected to play at Chicago. "I feel a lot better than I did this time last week," Brooks said. ... WR Antonio Bryant is expected to move from flanker to split end, replacing Galloway in Sunday's game at Chicago. ... RG Davin Joseph is recovering from a broken foot enough that coaches believe he may be able to play next week against the Packers. ... WR Dexter Jackson is expected to see some playing time at receiver against the Bears with the injury to Galloway. ... DE Gaines Adams was limited in practice with an abdominal strain but is expected to play against the Bears.

Bears 16, Buccaneers 13.

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