Oct 2, 2021

Bears vs. Lions: Three things to know about the NFC North matchup

Bears vs. Lions: Three things to know about  the NFC North matchup
(USA Today Sports)

Wasn't this week a nice distraction from the usual doom and gloom football talk about the Chicago Bears? Sure, we were treated to some questionable press conferences from head coach Matt Nagy, who is currently sitting on a hot stove top, but the news coming out about the Arlington Heights agreement had fans feeling hopeful once again. The conversation turned to excitement with how the team might finally get a state-of-the-art stadium in the suburbs.

It was a nice break from the circus that is taking place inside of the current stadium, but now we're back at it again for week four against the Detroit Lions.

It feels weird to say, but this feels like a breaking point for the Bears already. You don't see the McCaskey family make changes during the season, but if the offense looks anything like the one we saw last week in Cleveland against an inferior, albeit competitive division rival, I'm convinced Nagy doesn't make the trip to Las Vegas next week.

The future of the Bears could be decided in this game against the Lions. Here are three things to know for the matchup ahead.

1. I'm betting Bill Lazor is the new playcaller

Nothing is ever easy when it comes to Nagy, even trying to get the most basic information. Earlier this week, the head coach declined to say whether he or offensive coordinator Bill Lazor would be calling plays this week. "Everything is on the table." He said during a press conference this week. Personally, I think he would have just come out and said he's the play-caller moving forward if that were actually the case. But his secrecy leads me to believe it's the "Lazor show" from here on out, and why not? They had success with him late last year and it's clear Nagy can't handle the responsibility while being the head coach. Lazor's offense won't miraculously put up 35 points, but you can be sure it will have more rhythm and unique designs, especially given the following news ...

2. Justin Fields is getting his second straight start

I've been a Bears fan for about 20 years and I can't remember a time when it was so unclear as to who was starting at quarterback heading into the weekend. Normally, the starting quarterback speaks to the media on Wednesday. Nobody did and both Fields and Andy Dalton stepped up to the podium to take questions on Friday afternoon. Dalton was listed officially questionable due to the bone bruise in his knee, while Fields wasn't on the injury report.

Nagy said multiple times that Dalton would start if healthy. But that apparently isn't the case as Bears PR dropped the above tweet in the middle of college football on Saturday. Whether Nagy likes it or not, Fields will get his second straight start.

Fields obviously didn't have a great game against Cleveland, but he should have a better chance against a Lions team that ranks in the bottom of the league in pass defense (338.3 yards per game). A great game against a favorable opponent at home would go a long way in the rookie's development.

3. Jared Goff may struggle in the elements

Jared Goff has played the Bears in each of the last three seasons, but he hasn't been to Soldier Field since 2018. You might remember that game where he threw four interceptions in the frigid Chicago air on a cold December night?

He was a member of the Rams then, but he now returns to Chicago and the weather once again may not be on his side. The forecast calls for a good chance of rain on Sunday afternoon and Goff has already struggled with the precipitation once this year. Goff was on a heater in Week 2 against Green Bay before the rain starting pouring down. He had problems gripping the balll and wound up turning the ball over a couple of times late in the game as the Packers pulled away.

In addition to possibly playing in wet conditions, Goff is going up against a Bears defense that has been all over the quarterback as of late. The Bears have sacked the quarterback five times each in the last two games and are set to get nose tackle Eddie Goldman back in the lineup as well, returning from injury.

Both the weather and the pressure could be the perfect conditions for a few Goff turnovers. The Bears will need them to have a shot of winning this game.

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