5 things to watch in when the Bears play the Jets

There has been a lot of quarterback talk in New York and Chicago this week. Now it's time to see what the product actually looks like on the field.

Bears QB Justin Fields is nursing an injured left shoulder, while the Jets benched Zach Wilson in favor of Mike White.

The Bears have won five consecutive games against the Jets dating back to 2002. The Jets' last win in this series came in 2000. Most recently, the Bears beat the Jets 24-10 in 2018.

The Bears (3-8) and Jets (6-4) will kick off at noon from MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. The game will be broadcast on Fox. Here's what to watch for Sunday.

1. Justin Fields' status

The Bears are being cagey regarding the status of Fields ahead of the game. Fields fell awkwardly on his left shoulder near the end of last week's loss to the Falcons. Head coach Matt Eberflus said earlier this week that Fields' status would depend how he progresses in practice.

Fields has started all 11 games for the Bears this season. Eberflus said if Fields feels ready to play, he will, because the Bears want to win. If the Bears did elect to rest Fields this week, they would turn to backup Trevor Siemian. The 30-year-old Siemian has appeared in only one game this season, but has started 29 games during his NFL career.

2. The Jets' new starter

The Jets will start White in place of Wilson. The 27-year-old White replaces the 2021 No. 2 overall draft pick, who struggled in seven starts this season. Wilson has completed 55% of his passes with four touchdowns and five interceptions. Last week against New England, he completed only nine passes for 77 yards.

The Jets, at 6-4, have been winning in spite of the quarterback struggles. White started three games last season, including a 405-yard effort in his first career start. The Jets had been playing veteran Joe Flacco earlier in the season, but demoted Flacco to third string in early November.

Eberflus said there is a style difference in preparing for White vs. Wilson.

"(Wilson's) an athlete," Eberflus said. "He can do the keepers, a lot of things on the edge of the defense, where Mike is more really good at passing. He's more of a pocket guy."

3. The Jets' stout defense

Regardless of what shakes out at quarterback for these teams, the Jets have gotten off to a hot start thanks to their top 10 defense. They have 11 interceptions in 10 games (ranked fourth entering Week 11) and rank fifth in sack rate. Opponents are scoring just 18.6 points per game against Robert Saleh's defense.

Rookie safety Sauce Gardner, taken fourth overall in the draft, is currently the betting favorite to win defensive rookie of the year. He has two interceptions and 14 passes defended, plus 45 combined tackles. Defensive tackle Quinnen Williams, who was the third overall pick in 2019, is having the best season of his career with eight sacks and 18 QB hits already.

The Jets rank in the top 10 against both the run and the pass.

4. Can the Bears defense rebound?

The Bears have allowed 27 points or more in every game during the current four-game losing streak. They have allowed 35.5 points per game and 356 total yards per game over the four-game losing streak.

This could be a chance to rebound against a Jets offense that has struggled, and one that's making a change at QB. White might give the Jets a better chance than Wilson, but he still hasn't played at all this season.

The Bears have created only three sacks in the past four games. No defensive lineman has a sack during that stretch. Look for the defense to continue throwing third-down blitzes at opponents. That is the only consistent method that defensive coordinator Alan Williams has found to create pressure right now.

5. Big game ahead for Montgomery?

Whether Fields is playing with an injured left shoulder or Siemian is starting in his place, the Bears will likely have a bigger focus on their running backs this week. This could be a big game for running back David Montgomery. Khalil Herbert remains sidelined by an injury for at least three more weeks. With no Herbert last week, rookie Trestan Ebner became the change-of-pace back.

The Bears showed early in the year that they can lean on their power rushing attack. With Fields running wild lately, they haven't needed to lean on it as much. It wouldn't be a big surprise if they go back to it Sunday vs. the Jets. Siemian is not nearly as mobile as Fields. Even if Fields plays, the Bears might not want to expose him to as many hits as they have been.

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