The NFL’s best takes on the NFL’s worst this Sunday, at least if you’re still paying attention to last year’s results. The Chicago Bears (0-2), who had the worst record in 2022, travel west to take on reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes and the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs this Sunday.
For the Bears, it’s a chance to right the ship and, in a weird way, get back to a sense of normalcy. Chicago has had one of the strangest weeks any NFL team has had in recent memory, with comments made by Justin Fields that shined a negative light on the coaching staff, the sudden resignation of defensive coordinator Alan Williams, and equipment getting stolen from Soldier Field. Suiting up to play a football game might be just what they need.
The Chiefs, meanwhile, have had a slow start to the season but still have plenty of talent across the board to remain a powerhouse in the AFC. This matchup against the Bears could be just the push they need to break out of their funk. Or could the Bears defy all odds and shock the world with a victory at Arrowhead Stadium?
Whatever happens, we’re in for a ride, one way or another. Here are our bold predictions for Sunday’s game.
1. Justin Fields rushes for at least 80 yards
It’s now or never for Fields, and given his comments this week about wanting to play more freely, he’s finally going to get back to his old playmaking ways. Fields admitted this week that he’s been playing too robotic in his attempt to be a better pocket passer. But that’s just not who he is as a player, and the message will be received by the coaching staff. Expect to see more rollouts and designed runs called by Getsy, and for Fields to decide to take off at will.
This has already happened before, dating back to the middle of last season, so the good news is it isn’t new for Getsy. It’s just time to face the fact that Fields shouldn’t be boxed in as a quarterback. Let him play his game, and good things should follow. Fields will eclipse 80 yards rushing on Sunday as he looks to simplify his game.
2. Roschon Johnson gets his first career 100-yard game
A year ago, after the Bears’ Week 2 loss, fans and analysts were clamoring for Getsy to abandon the run and pass more frequently. This year, it’s the complete opposite, as the Bears had a pass-to-run ratio of 2:1 last week in their loss to the Buccaneers. For an offense that had historic rushing totals last year, that shouldn’t happen, and Getsy will make sure it doesn’t again.
The Bears may not produce a ground attack like that again, but it can still be a strength of this team, and it should be led by Roschon Johnson. The rookie has impressed with every touch he’s gotten and is averaging 5.8 yards per carry. The only problem is he has just nine carries. But to help keep Mahomes off the field, Johnson should get the ball plenty of times, seeing what he’s capable of producing. The result will be the first 100-yard game of his career. Johnson will have a coming-out party and burst onto the scene, much like Khalil Herbert did against the Buccaneers in 2021.
3. Darnell Mooney leads the Bears in receiving yards
After an injury scare last week that forced Darnell Mooney out of the game, it looks like the veteran receiver will be all systems go to face the Chiefs and his former head coach. Mooney was sorely missed when he exited last week’s game, but he should play a significant role this week as the team’s WR2. A role that has been a thorn for Kansas City.
In each of the Chiefs’ two games, the opposing team’s WR2 has gotten the bulk of the production away from L’Jarius Sneed. Josh Reynolds led the Lions in Week 1 with four catches for 80 yards, and Christian Kirk exploded for the Jaguars in Week 2 with 11 receptions for 110 yards. D.J. Moore is sure to get plenty of targets, but it will be Mooney who has the best production in the passing game.
4. The Chiefs break out of their shell
Admittedly, this probably isn’t a bold enough prediction, but considering the Chiefs haven’t played to their potential yet this season, it’s possible that continues through Week 3. But not against these Bears. Chicago is the perfect medicine to fix whatever ails Kansas City, and with the defense in flux following the resignation of defensive coordinator Alan Williams, it’s going to get ugly in a hurry.
Mahomes and tight end Travis Kelce will rediscover their spark, wide receiver Kardarius Toney will be an effective weapon, and the running game is set to flourish against a suspect front four. Everything sets up in the Chiefs favor this week, and they’re going to get it right and then some.
5. Matt Nagy gets cute with the Bears
One thing we’ve yet to mention with this matchup? Former Bears head coach and current Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy. The much-maligned former Bears coach has been with the Chiefs ever since he was fired and now runs the offense. Maybe that’s why things have gotten off to such a slow start.
Though it’s been a year and a half since Nagy last coached the Bears, it’s difficult to forget how he was treated on his way out. His son was booed at a high school football game, chants demanding his firing rang throughout Soldier Field and other Chicago sports stadiums, and he became a pariah during his final weeks as coach. You don’t think he has a few plays up his sleeve to get back at them?
Nagy can say he’s moved on and that this is a different team than the one he coached. It is true that there are only a handful of players left from his coaching days. But this man had a house that was decked out in bear colors. He was proud to be the head coach, and he’s going to throw some wrinkles in the playbook that he hopes will lead to big gains or scores. Seeing as it’s Nagy, however, there’s a good chance those plays don’t go as planned.