The Chicago Bears and Baltimore Ravens both look to get back on track in week 11. Soldier Field will host this tie that features a duel between Lamar Jackson and Justin Fields.
Lamar Jackson is obviously the most proven of the two signal-callers, and will look to get back to winning ways after a tough loss in Miami over a week ago. While it’s not exactly embarrassing to lose to the 3-7 Dolphins, the Ravens should have won to bolster their lead in the AFC North. Instead, an impressive Miami defense held Jackson to under 300 yards of total offense in the 22-10 loss.
Jackson will look to his receiving corps again to put up points in Chicago. Rookie WR Rashod Bateman has hit the ground running since returning from injury, and caught a career-best 6 passes against the Dolphins. Bateman already plays like a seasoned veteran, and is quickly adding a plethora of highlight catches to his reel. If you need an example, check out his catch to convert a 3rd and 6 against Miami. Skip to the 5:08 mark of this highlight video. In addition to Bateman, Mark Andrews remains one of the best tight ends in the league, and they still have the homerun hitter in Hollywood Brown. Jackson is not lacking in weapons, so look for the Ravens to throw quite a bit, even against the 12th-ranked passing defense in Chicago.
Justin Fields comes off a bye week in which he most likely stewed over the Bears’ gut-wrenching loss to the Steelers in the Monday night showdown of Week 9. He will be eager to notch a quality W in front of the home fans. Against the Steelers’ top-level defense, Fields threw for just under 300 yards, and added 45 on the ground.
While Fields and recently recovered David Montgomery will look to establish a ground attack, they may be better served attempting to move the ball more through the air. The Ravens rank 4th in run defense, but claim the second worst pass defense in the NFL. Fields played with great poise in Pittsburgh, and continued to develop chemistry with Allen Robinson and play-maker Darnell Mooney. Fields seemed to be more comfortable throwing to Cole Kmet as well, who had 6 catches for 87 yards in Pittsburgh. Kmet will be key to the Bears success this week, with Allen Robinson listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game.
Fields looked mature against Pittsburgh, and that should be exciting for Bears fans. We know he has the accuracy, toughness, and athleticism to be great. Now, he just needs to add the consistency of a savvy decision-maker.
The playoff push is on
This Week 11 showdown features the Bears coming off of a bye, and the Ravens having an extra few days from playing on Thursday night. Both teams should be rested and motivated right at kickoff tomorrow. I expect to see both teams coming out with the necessary intensity as we move into the playoff push.
Jackson’s Ravens cling to the AFC North lead by the slimmest of margins. The Steelers helped them by refusing to win against the lowly Lions, but the Ravens cannot afford to drop many more. In the NFC, the Bears hopes are already dwindling, but with 4 games remaining against NFC North opponents, Justin Fields can still make some noise if they can get a winning streak started. If they do make a run, they’ll need all the wins they can muster to gain advantage in the tiebreakers.
I think both teams play well in Chicago. Jackson and Fields will put on a show, and fantasy owners will be very happy. But I’m going to be bold and say that Justin Fields leads the Bears to victory. This will be the statement game by Fields to let the league know he has officially arrived. I predict the Bears have enough success on the ground to limit Lamar’s opportunities, and their defense will reward them with more than one takeaway.
Lamar Jackson will keep the Ravens close, but I see the Bears upsetting the Ravens 27-25. Justin Tucker will attempt a long, game-winning field goal, but Soldier Field will cast it wide right to preserve a victory for the Bears.