5. Bears quarterback Justin Fields held to less than 200 total yards
Fields ripped the Lions for 147 rushing yards back in Week 10, highlighted (or lowlighted, from a Detroit perspective) by a 67-yard touchdown run. Fields has been increasingly banged up in recent weeks (shoulder, leg), and the Bears’ wide receiver corps is down Darnell Mooney for sure and possibly Chase Claypool again this week.
The Buffalo Bills, admittedly a far better defense than Detroit’s, held Fields to a season-low 11 rushing yards in Week 16. Via Justin Rogers of The Detroit News, Bills safety Jordan Poyer pointed to a key in keeping Fields’ running in check.
"You saw some of the runs he has had last week and the previous weeks,” Bills safety Jordan Poyer told reporters after the game. “Just being able to contain him and force him to run lateral because he is an electric runner when he’s able to get downhill and one step and get downhill. He’s big, he’s strong, he’s hard to get down. Our front, along with our linebackers and our secondary making big plays on him out in space. It’s plays like that. We were able to contain him."
“One step” (or cut) and getting downhill is a description most often reserved for a running back, which Fields is when he takes off–he’s the third quarterback in league history to top 1,000 rushing yards in a season.
The Lions’ earlier struggles to stop Fields on the ground were obviously not unique to them. But the Bears have little else to focus on stopping. The effort to stop the run better than they did last week starts with (and should be centered on) the quarterback this week. Even if it takes defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn doing some different things he isn’t generally inclined to do (spying, stacking the box, moving away from a base nickel at times).
If Fields doesn’t get to 200 total yards, that naturally means he won’t get much done with his legs. It would also set the Lions up to blow the Bears out.