The Baltimore Ravens and Chicago Bears may have to shake off a little rust when they face each other this Sunday in the Windy City. Chicago is coming off of a bye week, while the Ravens have not played since their loss in Miami last Thursday night.
Despite the loss, the 6-3 Ravens are still in first place in the AFC North division standings. The Bears are merely trying to stop the bleeding after losing their last four games after a 3-2 start. Sunday's game will mark the first game between former first-round picks Justin Fields and Lamar Jackson. This is also just the seventh matchup between the two franchises, with the Bears holding a 4-2 series lead.
We'll preview the game along with giving our prediction for Sunday's outcome. Here's how you can follow the action in real time.
How to watch
When the Ravens have the ball
The onus of Baltimore's offense lands on Jackson, who along with his 14 touchdown passes is on pace to rush for over 1,200 yards this season. Jackson will likely have success against a Bears' defense that is just 22nd against the run. The key is whether or not Jackson will get enough support from Devonta Freeman, who has stepped into a starting role.
A key matchup to watch will be Jackson against Bears middle linebacker Roquan Smith. Khalil Mack's injury -- he's out for the rest of the season -- has only increased Smith's already significant role in Chicago's defense. It will be largely on Smith to contain Jackson and the Ravens' rushing attack. The Bears would also benefit from a big game from Robert Quinn, who leads the unit with 6.5 sacks.
When the Bears have the ball
Sunday's game will pit the league's last-ranked passing offense against the NFL's lowest-ranked pass defense. This matchup should favor Fields and Chicago's offense, as the Bears' rookie quarterback is coming off of his best game of the season. Fields has specifically started to find a rhythm with receiver Allen Robinson and tight end Cole Kmet, who caught a combined to catch 10 passes for 155 yards in Chicago's two-point loss to the Steelers. Fields also gained a rapport with Darnell Mooney, who caught a touchdown pass in Chicago's most recent game.
Forcing third-and-long situations will be critical for the Ravens, who boast the NFL's fourth-ranked run defense. That will require the Ravens to contain running back David Montgomery, who tallied 80 total yards on 17 touchdowns against the Steelers in his return from an injury. Baltimore's defense, led by Calais Campbell, Patrick Queen and rookie Odafe Oweh, certainly have the players to make this happen.
If Fields plays as well Sunday as he did last Monday night in Pittsburgh, the Bears are certainly capable of pulling off the upset. Chicago's defense will also have to take advantage of Baltimore's 29th ranked third down offense. I think both things will happen on Sunday, as the Bears get a much-needed win while handing the Ravens their second consecutive loss.
Score: Bears 24, Ravens 20