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Bears begin to prep to face Buccaneers

Three days after their lopsided loss to the Vikings, the Bears return to the practice field Wednesday to begin preparing for Sunday's road game against the Buccaneers.

A three-game skid since their Thanksgiving night win over the Packers has dropped the Bears to 5-9, assuring them of back-to-back losing seasons for the first time since 2003-04.

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Quarterback Jay Cutler has passed for 583 yards with three touchdowns in three career starts against Tampa Bay.

The Buccaneers (6-8) have lost two straight and three of four. Tampa Bay is led by former Bears coach Lovie Smith and several of his assistants who were on his staff in Chicago.

Nine of the Bears' last 11 games have been decided by six points or less with four wins coming by a total of 10 points and five losses coming by a combined 17 points.

In three career starts against the Buccaneers, quarterback Jay Cutler has completed 57 of 93 passes for 583 yards with three touchdowns, two interceptions and an 81.1 passer rating. In three contests, Kyle Long has rushed for 323 yards and three touchdowns on 75 carries and caught 14 passes for 127 yards and one TD.

The Bears lead the all-time series 37-18 and have won four of five since 2005. The Bears won the last meeting 21-13 on Nov. 23, 2014 at Soldier Field, outscoring the Buccaneers 21-0 in the third quarter to erase a 10-0 halftime deficit. The defense generated takeaways on three straight possessions, the first two coming at the Tampa Bay 13 and 15.

The Bears rank 18th in offense (14th in rushing and 21st passing) and rank 12th in defense (26th against the run and 3rd versus the pass). The Buccaneers rank 7th in offense (4th rushing and 22nd passing) and 11th in defense (9th against the run and 19th versus the pass).

ChicagoBears.com will provide all the latest news throughout the week from Halas Hall. Coach John Fox will address the media Wednesday and Thursday. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and special-teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers will be available Wednesday, while Cutler and offensive coordinator Adam Gase will speak Thursday.

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