5 things to keep an eye on in the Chicago Bears’ home final, including Andy Dalton’s start and Robert Quinn’s attempt to break a franchise record – plus our predictions in week 17

The Chicago Bears will host the New York Giants on Sunday afternoon and close the books on their home field for the 2021 season. The Bears were favored for just the fourth time in 16 games and hope to build on last weekend’s dramatic comeback victory over the Seattle Seahawks. With the kickoff against the Giants approaching, here’s our snapshot of the game.

Chicago Bears (5-10) vs. New York Giants (4-11)

  • Kickoff: Sunday dinner at Soldaterpladsen.
  • TV and radio: CBS-2, WBBM-AM 780, WCFS-FM 105.9, WRTO-AM 1200 (Spanish).
  • The line: Bears with 5½. Over under: 37½.
  • sign up now get Brad Biggs’ 10 thoughts first

1. Plays in the spotlight

For the fifth time this season, the Bears will be forced to start a different quarterback than they spent the week before.

Andy Dalton is back in the saddle on Sunday, ready to get his fifth start in a mostly meaningless January battle against an opponent in last place. In many ways, it’s right back to the starting point for the Bears.

Without a doubt, this is registered as a missed opportunity for rookie Justin Fields, who has been hit out of the plans for this week with a long-term ankle injury. Fields were limited in all three training sessions this week, and despite being listed as questionable on the injury report, they are not considered for backup tasks on Sunday. (They will belong to Nick Foles.)

Coach Matt Nagy said Friday that Fields is still experiencing remarkable pain during certain football moves.

“We want him to do everything,” Nagy said. And he wants that too. So whether it’s about climbing outside the pocket, extending play with his legs, whatever it is, we want him to be as close to 100% as we can get him, with the package he comes with. And he’s just not there right now. ”

Dalton’s return comes after a challenging 27-day period in which he broke his non-throwing hand in a loss to the Arizona Cardinals, incurred a hip flexion strain during his efforts to return and spent six days on the reserve / COVID-19 list after infected with the virus for the second season in a row.

“It’s been a crazy month for me,” Dalton said. “Two-on-two about COVID. Unfortunately. In back to back years.”

Dalton also acknowledged the lack of continuity the offense has experienced this season due to all the power at the quarterback.

“This has certainly been a very unique year,” he said. “Very different from every other year I’ve been in the league.… The ideal situation is to have one guy (starting as a quarterback) all year where he builds up that chemistry with everyone over the course of the season. But that’s not the case. ”

In terms of Fields, Sunday will be his fourth game to be missed due to an injury and it will take him a chance to gain further experience on the pitch at the end of his first season. Nagy downplayed that part Friday afternoon, emphasizing that Fields showed enough glimpses during the games he played to show the organization that he is capable of success at the NFL level.

There is also no promise that Fields will see work in the season finale next weekend in Minneapolis. While Nagy said the rookie quarterback is approaching physically, he also stressed the need for Fields to be fully mentally prepared if he is to take another turn on things in Week 18.

2. Keep an eye on…

External linebacker Robert Quinn has humbly brushed off much of the talk about his personal accomplishments during his Pro Bowl season. But he recognized the importance of shutting in on a 37-year-old Bears record.

After coming off an important firing in the fourth quarter of last week’s victory over the Seahawks, Quinn is a sack from breaking Hall of Famer Richard Dent’s single-season franchise record of 17½, set in 1984.

“Richard Dent is a household name around here,” Quinn said after the Seahawks game. “It’s an honor to be in the same conversation at all. I know it’s a bit repetitive, but I’m just trying to do my job. It’s definitely an honor, a blessing – for where I came from last year to now “From the guys just still believing in me and giving me another chance to prove myself. Luckily, I had the backing of the guys in the locker room, so that made this year a little easier.”

Giants quarterbacks Mike Glennon and Jake Fromm were fired a total of eight times in the team’s four December losses after Daniel Jones suffered a neck injury.

Along with the Bears record, Quinn is also approaching his personal high of 19 sacks, set in 2013 when he was 23. Outside linebackers coach Bill Shuey said he has seen Quinn’s approach remain consistent as he approaches the milestones.

“He plays and he lives in the now,” Shuey said. “And that’s right. He does not take the day after for granted.… He believes in it. So I think in this situation where he is on the verge of potentially breaking a record, he is really looking at how can I get a little bit better?

“And that’s one of the things we focus on in space week after week. It will be another focus this week: how do we get 6 inches better at each game? Getting closer to making a game that can change a game and help us win. I think that’s Robert’s approach. ”

Urgent questions

How can the Bears build last weekend’s game-winning drive to beat the Seahawks?

No one at Halas Hall has mistaken last weekend’s 25-24 win as the season-defining one. After all, it improved the Bears’ record to 5-10. But that doesn’t mean the rise from 10 points down the fourth quarter to win was negligible.

“That’s what it is. Our record looks like what it looks like,” said running back David Montgomery. able to perform at a high level and do it with the guys next to you. That’s the moral. That’s what we live on. ”

Damiere Byrd’s two-point conversion catch to put the Bears ahead with 1:01 left was special, exclamation point for an energizing comeback. But so much went well for the Bears on the six-play, 80-yard touchdown march that set Byrd’s winning moment.

Darnell Mooney, for example, started the drive with a 30-yard reception, ran a crisp route and broke a series of tackles while taking the ball within Seahawks territory.

Receiver’s coach Mike Furrey praised Mooney for the way he set up his route, pushing the Seahawks’ slot cornerback vertically and then making a quick and crisp break to catch the ball. From there?

“Once he got the ball in his hands, his efforts after that were rare,” Furrey said. “You want to talk about the incredible. It’s just a young man whose desire to win shows.”

Montgomery added a 14-yard catch on the march. Right tackle Germain Ifedi showed great busyness in regaining a Foles fumble with less than two minutes left. And Jimmy Graham’s 15-yard touchdown catch two games later was a thing of beauty, with the Bears getting the 6-foot-7-inch, 259-pound Graham matched up against cornerback John Reid (5-10, 187).

“Advantage Bears,” said tight-ends coach Clancy Barone. “That was actually the first thing I verbalized to the guys standing next to me.”

Graham’s end zone post-up was textbook. Foles’ passport was right where it was supposed to be.

Said coordinator Bill Lazor: “Nick has a really good sense of ‘How do I throw the ball at this game?’ “In terms of the amount of air and the amount of touch. Nick is a really good touch passer. So it all worked out really, really well.”

4. Odds and ends

Montgomery accepted the scepter to win the Week 16 “Good Morning Football” Angry Runs honor this week.

Montgomery’s 11-yard run in the snow in the first quarter, driving Seahawks cornerback Sidney Jones IV by truck, earned him the title.

“I’m like that every week,” Montgomery said. “Ever since I’ve been in the league, it’s been who I am. It’s just the way I run. I run with physics. You could turn on the movie and see that every chance I get, I just strive to be that. best, I can be at every opportunity I get, so it was not just a week’s thing. It was just me who was me. ”

Montgomery did not have an easy task in the Seattle blizzard and he finished with 21 carries for 45 yards and a touchdown. But he also caught seven passes on 61 yards, including back-to-back catches on 10 and 14 yards on the Bears’ winning drive.

“He went out there with a purpose that he does every single day and every week,” said running backs coach Michael Pitre. “And the weather obviously forced him to make a decision really early on that he just wanted to put his foot in the ground and get some ugly runs, but they were good runs, forcing those guys to tackle him.”

Montgomery gets more winter weather on Sunday, though forecasts call for colder conditions and maybe not as much snow for playing time. He will be up against a Giants defense that allows 125.3 rushing yards per. match, ranked 26th in the NFL, and may be needed to play an increased role if significant gusts of wind affect the Bears’ ability to throw regularly.

5. Damage updates

Defensive Akiem Hicks was activated from the reserve / COVID-19 list and was able to participate on a limited basis on Friday. Hicks was the seventh Bears player to be taken off the list this week, leaving only Jesper Horsted and Joel Iyiegbuniwe from Friday night.

Recipient Allen Robinson returned from his fight with COVID-19 this week after losing 10 pounds and battling fatigue and overload. It will be interesting to see where the endurance of both starters is on Sunday.

In other injury news, tight-end JP Holtz is questionable due to personal reasons. In addition to Hicks and Fields, Eddie Goldman (finger), Duke Shelley (heel) and Jason Peters (ankle) are also questionable.

Predictions

Brad Biggs (12-3)

Defensive coordinator Sean Desai has done a good job this season, especially considering the number of key players who have missed big chunks of the season and some of the depth issues in the secondary. The Bears went up against Kyler Murray, Aaron Rodgers, Kirk Cousins ​​and Russell Wilson, and as the Giants reportedly prepare to play Mike Glennon and Jake Fromm, it’s a big step down in class. The Bears should be able to force a bunch of punts with the ability to swing the game if they play well on special teams. Andy Dalton will start as a quarterback for the Bears, and if he can split the ball, as Nick Foles did last week in Seattle, the Bears should win games in a row for the second time this season.

Bears 20, fights 10

Colleen Kane (13-2)

The Giants have lost four in a row without quarterback Daniel Jones, adding up to nine, 21, six and 10 points in that period. The Bears offense should be able to top it, especially against a Giants defense that is nothing special. The bears are getting healthier after their COVID-19 outbreak. And they say the right things about continuing to play hard despite the pointless games at the end of the season. It looks like the Bears are in line for a win in this season’s Soldier Field rejection.

Bears 24, fighter 17

Dan Wiederer (14-1)

If you were a Giants fan, would you rather have your favorite team lose to improve its draft status or win to get a better draft slot from the selection collected through the Bears in exchange for Justin Fields? These are the big questions worth considering when two bottom feeding teams collide under potentially unpleasant conditions in early January. The Bears remain the better team and they have enough left on their tank to note their first home win since October 3rd.

Bears 23, fighter 12

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