Chicago Bears

Fields Back For Bears Against Pack

Douglas P. DeFelice | Credit: Getty Images
 Douglas P. DeFelice | Credit: Getty Images

The last time rookie QB Justin Fields played a full game this season was on Monday night in Pittsburgh. He led the Bears to a late lead, only to be on the losing end after a Chris Boswell field goal gave the Steelers the lead for good.

The Prime Time Spotlight

Fields comes back from a rib injury in time to face Aaron Rodgers and the Packers on Sunday Night Football. If his last prime-time performance is any indication, we can expect to see some excitement back in the Bears’ offense.

Against the Steelers on November 9th, Fields threw for 291 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. He also added 45 yards on the ground, and most importantly, looked the part of a starting NFL quarterback. I don’t think anyone would put money on a Bears’ win on Sunday night at Lambeau, but I think we can all be excited to see what Fields can do.

What To Expect From Justin Fields

Fields has missed the past two games for the Bears with cracked ribs, and head coach Matt Nagy has said the team is “never going to put (Fields) at risk medically.” (Cody Benjamin, CBSSports) However, Fields has now been medically cleared and is expected to start.

I expect to see the continued maturation of a young quarterback. He will still take his lumps, especially against a good Packers’ defense on the road, but I think he will be a spark that can ignite this offense. Against the Cardinals last week, the Bears were effective on the ground behind David Montgomery’s 90 rushing yards. Their passing game, though, was just bad. Andy Dalton threw four interceptions, and the Cardinals controlled the entire game.

I think Fields can hit some big plays downfield, and even keep the Bears somewhat close in this one. Fields is a running threat, and he can use this to keep the Packers off-balance. I do, however, see him attempting fewer runs so as not to reinjure those ribs, but if he can do strategically, he can be more effective in the passing game. Assuming Montgomery looks good again as well, the Bears will still be able to establish the run either way.

Fields Must Protect The Ball

Green Bay has a +9 turnover differential on the season, and Fields’ ability to maintain possession will be essential if the Bears are to keep it close. On the season, Fields has twice as many INTs (8) as TDs (4) and needs to fix this ratio as soon as possible.

This statistic is a bit misleading, however, as 3 of those picks came against the Bucs in Week 7. His QB rating in that game was an atrocious 44.3. In the next two weeks against the 49ers and the Steelers, his ratings were 84.6 and 89.9, respectively. His decision-making had been improving, and he was making a lot of plays with his feet before his injury against Baltimore.

Regardless, Bears’ fans should be happy to have more of a playmaker under center. The Dalton-led Bears are not much of a threat while playing from behind, and Fields helps them with their big-play potential if and when they need to score quickly.

Bears vs. Packers: The Recent Rivalry?

The Bears and Packers have faced off a ridiculous 203 times, making this rivalry one of the richest in football history. The Packers lead the overall series 102-95-6, and that includes a 24-14 victory earlier this season. That victory was the Packers’ fifth straight over the Bears dating back to 2018. And, they have won 10 of the last 11. Suffice it to say, the Bears are desperate to even up the recent scores.

Justin Fields gets his second crack at the Packers this week, and now has a better idea of what it will take to win. The running game will be vital again. The Bears kept the first meeting respectable behind 97 yards on the ground for Khalil Herbert, and they should be more successful this week with David Montgomery playing well.

Final Thoughts

The Bears should get Allen Robinson back this week, and he should be able to complement Darnell Mooney, who has been the Bears’ leading receiver. On the defensive side of the ball, the Bears will need to disrupt Aaron Rodgers. In his own words, Rodgers “still owns the Bears,” and they need to get a few sacks to send a message.

The best way, however, for the Bears to beat Rodgers is to keep him off the field. Justin Fields needs to continue to improve his poise in the pocket, and they have to lean on David Montgomery.

There is nothing better than a black-and-blue divisional showdown in prime time, and I think Fields will wreak some havoc on the Packers’ defense. The weather will be a breezy 30ish degrees, which is perfect for this midwest matchup. I cannot wait!

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