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Buffalo Bills vs. Chicago Bears Week 16 preview

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© Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports

 

Buffalo Bills fans can relax a bit for a week, as the Phish are no longer a threat to win the AFC East, and the next team on the Rumbling Herd’s schedule has one of the worst rosters in football. 

 

The Chicago Bears knew what they were getting into at the start of the year, choosing to ignore some of their biggest team needs, ensuring they didn’t provide the 11th overall pick from 2021 with a roster capable of being a winning team, for whatever reason. 

 

Justin Fields is starting to take strides with his development, both as a passer and as a runner, but the Bears still don’t have a receiving corps that’s responded well, and they also have one of the worst defenses in football. 

 

Meanwhile, Bills Fans are witnessing a team that’s gotten their groove back. Suddenly the Bills have won five in a row after that ridiculous overtime loss to the Vikings. Yet, this could also be viewed as a ‘trap game’ as the Bills take on Joe Burrow and the Bengals in Week 17 in what could be a potential playoff preview. 

 

That’s part of the beauty of football. We never know which team will show up on Sunday, and Da Bears have sneakily been playing a lot better as of late, despite seven consecutive losses coming into the matchup. Not to mention, Chicago defeated San Francisco at the start of the season, a team that boasts the NFL’s best defense, and lost to Philadelphia by just five points a week ago. This isn’t a team that can be overlooked. 

Buffalo Bills vs. Bears game details, where to watch

  • Saturday, December 24, 2022
  • Start time: 1 PM ET
  • TV channel - CBS
  • Location - Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois

 

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© JAMIE GERMANO / USA TODAY NETWORK

Keys to the game

  • Can Josh Allen get back into the MVP conversation?

 

Josh Allen is one of the best football players on the planet, but a three-game stretch from Week 8-10 caused his MVP odds to crater. This is because the Pro Bowl QB threw just three touchdowns while turning the ball over seven times, coming away with two losses. 

 

Now that Jalen Hurts has suffered a shoulder strain, depending on the severity of the injury, it could open up the field to someone other than Patrick Mahomes being his main competitor. For Hurts, if he can keep playing and playing well, he has a chance to win the first MVP trophy of his career, but why can’t Allen get back in the conversation too?

 

He’s fifth in the NFL in passing yards, third in touchdown tosses, and is leading a team with one of the best records in football, which also happens to be a high-scoring attack. If Mahomes hits a rough spell, or if Hurts misses time, Allen would naturally become the next candidate, along with Joe Burrow, who’s been on fire as of late. 

 

  • Containing Justin Fields

 

The Bears run the ball more than any other team in the NFL. When seeing Fields scramble across the yard, it’s not hard to see why. For anyone who’s seen Michael Vick or Lamar Jackson at their best, Fields is just as good with the ball in his hands. 

 

Just last week, he became the third-ever quarterback to top 1,000 yards as a rusher, and he currently leads the NFL in yards per carry (7.0). Josh Allen is third, but he doesn’t have the same speed or elusiveness as Fields. 

 

Fields has six games with 82 or more rushing yards this season, and he’s by far Chicago’s best option, who also boasts the top ground attack in the NFL. The Bears haven’t had another rusher top 80 yards since Week 8. Khalil Herbert comes back this week, and he was on track for a 1,000-yard season as well prior to his Week 10 injury. Yet he likely also won’t be back to 100% both in health and conditioning for a full football scrum being that it’s his first game in six weeks. 

 

The biggest key to the game will be all about limiting Fields, not letting him gain chunk yardage on the ground. He still hasn’t topped 254 passing yards this season, and that won’t change in the Windy City. 

 

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© David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo Bills vs. Bears game prediction

  • This season’s record: Buffalo Bills - 11-3, 1st in AFC East
  • Chicago Bears: 3-11, 4th in NFC North

 

Unless Fields or the entire Bears rushing attack has a magnificent performance, it’s hard to envision Chicago getting the best of Buffalo on Sunday. If there’s anything we learned from around the NFL this past weekend, it’s that the game’s never over until it’s over. Unless you’re the Bears, who could very well find themselves down by 33 points too, but they don’t stand a chance at scoring points in a flash with this passing offense. 

 

Buffalo is once again favored by over a touchdown, as Vegas has Chicago as 8.5-point underdogs despite being at home. It’s a bit tough to see how it could go differently, but if the Chiefs can nearly lose to the Texans, anything can happen in this wild sport. 

 

Game prediction: Bills 36, Bears 24 - Bills victory

 

Go Bills!!

 

Related:

Buffalo Bills vs. Miami Dolphins Week 15 preview

Buffalo Bills vs. New York Jets Week 14 preview

Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots Week 13 preview

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