Lovie's homecoming: Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith coached the Bears for nine seasons and took them to a Super Bowl. Smith has been downplaying the significance of his return to Chicago by saying it's just another game. But deep down, the game is likely to mean a lot to Smith. He's a proud guy and it had to hurt to be fired after a 10-6 season in 2012.
Tampa Bay's running game: If the weather forecast is accurate, it will be critical for Tampa Bay to establish the running game. The forecast is for rain at Soldier Field and the Bucs may have to stay on the ground. That's not an area of strength for Tampa Bay, which ranks No. 28 in the league in rushing. It looks like starting running back Doug Martin will play after missing the last three games with an ankle injury. The combination of Martin, Bobby Rainey and Charles Sims needs to give the Bucs consistency in the running game.
Mike Evans: The rookie receiver has been one of the hottest players in the league the last three weeks. He's had at least 100 receiving yards and at least one touchdown in each of the last three games. Can he continue the streak for a fourth game? The Bears are bound to devote a lot of attention to Evans. That could open things up for receiver Vincent Jackson and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins.
Tampa Bay's pass rush: The Bucs had a season-high six sacks in last week's victory against Washington. It looks like the defensive line is starting to click. The Bucs have started to get pressure from players beyond defensive tackle Gerald McCoy. Defensive end Michael Johnson is getting healthy after playing through an ankle injury and a broken hand and Jacquies Smith has been a pleasant surprise as a situational pass rusher.
Chicago's wide receivers: Alshon Jeffery is 6-foot-3 and Brandon Marshall is 6-4. That's one of the biggest receiving tandems the Tampa Bay secondary has seen this season. There's a misconception that the secondary should be ready to match up with big receivers because the defensive backs have worked against Evans, Jackson and Seferian-Jenkins. But that's not really the case. The first-team defense doesn't practice against the first-team offense. But at least the backups will be ready for the big receivers.