As the Green Bay Packers (4-1) head into Solider Field tomorrow to square off against the Chicago Bears (3-2), one of the primary headlines is Bears rookie QB Justin Fields making his first ever start in the teams’ longstanding rivalry.
The Packers lead the all-time series 101-95-6. Since 2011, the Packers are 19-3 against the Bears, including a 9-1 record in Chicago. However, Sunday’s game will come with extra juice for Bear fans, as optimism for their 1st round QB is high in the biggest game to date of his young career.
On Sunday, Aaron Rodgers will make his 195th career regular season start, while Fields makes his 4th. As the talented Bears defense looks to contain #12, the Packers D has its own set of unique challenges against the former SEC and Big 10 Quarterback.
While Fields is no Lamar Jackson on the ground, he still managed to accumulate 260 rushing attempts for 1,133 yards (4.4 YPC) and 19 touchdowns during his collegiate career with Georgia and Ohio State. The 6’3, 225 pound QB ran a 4.44 40 yard dash on his pro day. Packers RB Aaron Jones ran a 4.56 40 yard dash coming out of college, to put it in perspective.
So far, the 22 year-old has kept his scrambling to a minimum. While he racked up 32 yards on 10 carries in spot-duty relief in Week 2 against the Bengals, Fields has recorded only 3 rush attempts per game over his first three NFL starts.
|Game||Rushing Attempts||Rushing Yards|
|Week 2 vs Bengals||10||32|
|Week 3 at Browns||3||12|
|Week 4 vs Lions||3||9|
|Week 5 at Raiders||3||4|
The Bears have kept the designed-run plays for Fields to a minimum. However, I believe they will make a concentrated effort to get him going on the ground tomorrow against a Packers defense that is largely untested against mobile QB’s in 2021. Through 5 games, the Packers have played Jameis Winston, Jared Goff, Jimmy Garoppolo, Ben Roethlisberger and Joe Burrow – not exactly world beaters running the ball. (Normally, I’d give Burrow his props but he’s still fresh off an ACL injury in 2020).
As the Bears will look to chew clock, keep the game low-scoring and prevent Aaron Rodgers from any extra possessions, this week has a good chance of Fields aiming to move the ball with his legs early and often.
2) Lack of Tape
As is the case with any young NFL player, there isn’t a lot of film available to scout on the pro level. For the most part, it isn’t a big concern. However, it does present the Packers defense a unique challenge, as they have a high probability to see several plays ran by the Bears offense that have yet to be seen.
3) Big Game on the Road
Let’s be honest – this game means more to the Bears than it does to the Packers. While both teams want to win immensely, it’s the Bears that have a larger chip on their shoulder with the recent series history. It’s the Bears that are currently 2nd in the NFC North Standings and it’s the Bears that has the young, new and exciting quarterback starting in front of the Chicago faithful on Sunday.
The Packers defense will again be challenged to play another strong game on the road, after last week’s solid performance against the Bengals. With no Za’Darius Smith, Jaire Alexander and Kevin King, it makes the task tougher. The crowd will be loud and if the Bears make a few positive plays on offense, Green Bay’s defense will be responsible for halting the momentum.
All in all, while Justin Fields won’t be the best quarterback the Packers defense plays this season, he still presents a unique challenge for the Green Bay defense on Sunday.——————
Alex grew up in a family of Chicago Bears fans in the suburbs of Chicago but was always a diehard Packers fan. Alex\\\'s AIM name when he was in elementary/middle school was PackerAlex. He now lives in Nashville, Tennessee and you can follow him on twitter at @Alex_Mayer93.