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Good morning, frents!
And welcome back to Chicago Bears football! Did you miss the stress and heartache last Sunday afternoon during the bye week? No?
Well, it's back whether we like it or not. Let's dive into a look at the first game of the rest of the Bears season.
Ravens (6-3) at Bears (3-6)
⏰ : Noon 📺 :CBS
🎙️ : Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson
💰 : Bears +5.5, O/U 44.5
Last week: The Bears enjoyed a bye while the Ravens went down to Miami and got fell to the Dolphins, 22-10.
All-time record: The Bears lead 4-2
Last meeting: The Bears won a 27-24 OT win on Oct 15. 2017 with a 40-yard field goal by Connor Barth. The Bears have won two straight in the series, both overtime wins.
Three things to know about Ravens-Bears
The Ravens have been one of the upper echelon teams in the league for much of the year, but were bottled up last week against the Miami Dolphins on Thursday Night Football. Like the Bears, they're coming into this week with extended rest and looking to get back on track.
Here are three things to know about today's game:
1. Matt Nagy has been blown out after bye weeks
By now, you've probably heard the Bears haven't won after a bye week since 2013. The streak spans three different coaches and Nagy is winless in those games.
What you might not know, however, is the Bears have allowed a ton of points in those games under Nagy. The three teams they've faced have averaged 36 points and 453 yards in three games, including last year's 41-25 drubbing by the Green Bay Packers.
When you consider the Bears are going to be missing Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks against a Ravens offense that is second in the league in total offense, this trend could very well continue.
2. Lamar Jackson may not be able to play
Those excited to see Justin Fields square off against the former MVP may be in for a disappointment. Jackson has been dealing with a non-COVID illness all week and missed two practices. Things appeared to normalize as he was a full participant on Friday, but he was listed as questionable on the injury list Saturday afternoon, which is usually not a great sign.
As NFL Network's Stacey Dales details, Jackson wasn't feeling well at the team's walkthrough and was listed on the injury report. He must be listed just in case he can't go, per NFL rules. His status will be clear by 10:30 a.m. CT but if he can't go, Tyler Huntley would start in his place.
The dirt on Huntley: He's a second-year QB who was undrafted out of Utah and he's attempted three passes his entire career in mop-up duty. The expectation is that Jackson will play, but traveling by plane when you're already sick isn't the best recipe for success.
3. The Bears get a more forgiving officiating crew for this game
It's sad I have to dedicate so much time to talking about officials, but that's been a key storyline this season for the Bears. In multiple games, they have received the short end of the stick when it comes to fair calls by NFL referees, most recently in their last game against the Steelers.
But this week's crew might offer a reprieve.
Shawn Smith and his crew will be the officiating crew and they call the fifth-fewest penalties per game with 11.78 penalties on average, per NFLpenalties.com. He's also called the second-fewest amount of penalty yards on the season. Most importantly, he rarely calls taunting penalties. After a multitude of issues, I'm hopeful we have an uneventful performance from the officials, just as it should be.
Nab an officially-licensed Justin Fields shirt from Breaking T
Kevin Kaduk — Midway Minute (6-3)
Bears 21, Ravens 20
"Both teams are more than banged up. I think the home team with the healthier QB sneaks out a win. Yes, even despite Nagy's record after a bye.
Scott Koral — Midway Minute (7-2)
Ravens 30, Bears 16
"Matt Nagy is prepared to have Cairo Santos kick a 71-yard field goal at the end of the game, down 14."
Brendan Sugrue — Midway Minute (8-1)
Ravens 30, Bears 28
"I can't see Lamar Jackson being ill enough to sit out this game, meaning we're in for a good ole fashioned shootout! Both quarterbacks put on a show, but Jackson leads another comeback drive to win late in the game."
David Brown — Midway Minute (5-4)
Bears 34, Ravens 30
"The Bears have reached a point in the season where it’s not whether they win or lose but how Justin Fields plays the game. As long as the offensive line keeps him healthy, that’s the minimum kind of success we should be hoping for. The Ravens were supposed to have a good defense like they usually do, but it stinks, so maybe Fields will have an opportunity to put up some good stats too."
Maggie Hendricks — Bally Sports (5-3)
Ravens 31, Bears 14
"If Lamar misses the game, maybe? But with Jackson healthy and Khalil Mack on the IR, I have no hope. None. Not one iota."
Alyssa Barbieri — Bears Wire (8-1)
Ravens 30, Bears 27
"While I think the Bears offense will have their best showing of the season, it won’t be enough against Jackson and the Ravens, who reach the 30-point mark and send Chicago to five straight losses."
Chris Maltby — Beared Down (6-3)
Ravens 31, Bears 20
"If Lamar is in, he does what he does best against a depleted Bears defense. If he's out? Bears 24, Ravens 20."
Usayd Koshul — Fireside Bears (6-3)
Bears 21, Ravens 27
"Justin Fields does all he can to keep the Bears in this one but with no Khalil Mack, the Bears losing streak continues."
Greg Braggs Jr. — Braggs in the Stands (7-2)
Ravens 35, Bears 27
"If Lamar misses the game, everyone is picking the Bears."