Bears vs. Packers — What to Watch 4

Bears quarterback Justin Fields is expected to return after missing last week’s game against the Jets — and could have opportunities against a Packers defense that allowed Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts to rush for 157 yards last week.

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Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) has rushed for 640 yards and six touchdowns in his last six games.

Nam Y. Huh, AP Photos

KEY MATCHUP

Bears quarterback Justin Fields is expected to play after missing last week’s game against the Jets with a separated shoulder. Fields was on an unprecedented tear as a runner prior to his injury, rushing for 640 yards and six touchdowns on 80 carries (8.0 average) in his last six games.

It remains to be seen how much Fields will run with the injury, but the opportunity figures to be there against a Packers defense that had no answer for Jalen Hurts as a runner in a 40-33 loss last week. Hurts, who came in averaging 44 rushing yards per game, had 17 carries for 157 yards.

That puts pressure on a Packers defense that has struggled most of the season but is reeling sine losing edge rusher Rashan Gary and linebacker De’Vondre Campbell to injuries. From defensive tackle Kenny Clark to linebacker Quay Walker to safety Adrian Amos, all three levels will be tested.

“He’s playing with confidence,” Amos said of Fields. “He’s doing what he does well. He’s probably one of the most dynamic people with the ball in his hands. You have to have the whole defense in sync to tackle him and bring him down. And he does have the arm talent to do [damage] when things hold up. He’s getting better and better as you give him more tools around him.”

TRENDING

In their five-game losing streak, the Bears have allowed 378.0 yards per game — 28th in the NFL in that span. But the Packers have been worse, allowing an average of 390.4 yards in their last five games (1-4) — 30th in the NFL in that span.

PLAYER TO WATCH

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is 24-4 with a 108.2 passer rating in games he has started and finished against the Bears in his career — 21-2 since the 2011 season.

He’s never been better against them recently — 5-0 with a 141.0 rating (76% completions, 16 touchdowns, no interceptions) in his last five games. Rodgers hasn’t thrown an interception against the Bears in his last seven games (208 passes) — since Eddie Jackson’s end zone pick in a 24-17 Bears victory at Soldier Field in 2018.

Rodgers, though, is banged up coming into this one — playing through a broken thumb he suffered against the Giants in London in Week 5, and now with a rib injury that forced him out agains the Eagles last week.

Rodgers proficiency has been hampered. His 92.9 passer rating is his worst since 2010. He’s thrown nine interceptions in 12 games — more than he’s thrown in an entire season since 2010 (11).

X-FACTOR

The Bears have lost five straight, eight out of nine and they’ve allowed 34.6 points per game in their last five games. And they lost two more leaders in wide receiver Darnell Mooney and Jackson. Coach Matt Eberflus’ “culture” that has kept this team together will face a supreme test in this one.

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