The 3-11 Chicago Bears will host the 11-3 Buffalo Bills in a Week 16 matchup (noon, CBS).
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As expected, the Bears will be without four key starters as receiver Chase Claypool (knee), receiver Equanimeous St. Brown (concussion), left guard Cody Whitehair (knee) and right guard Teven Jenkins (neck) have all been declared inactive. The Bears’ other inactive players are tight end Trevon Wesco, defensive lineman Angelo Blackson and quarterback Tim Boyle.
On Friday, the team also placed cornerbacks Jaylon Johnson (finger) and Kindle Vildor (ankle) on injured reserve.
With Whitehair and Jenkins out, Larry Borom and Michael Schofield are expected to start on the offensive line. This will be the eighth different starting offensive line combination the Bears have used in 15 games this season.
About the weather …
The Bears are 6-4 in the 10 coldest games at Soldier Field since they moved there in 1971. Saturday’s game against Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills could crack that frigid list.
The point spread — the Bills are favored by 9½ — figures to be higher than the temperature on the lakefront, which is forecast to be 8 degrees at kickoff with a windchill of minus-14. While the snow is expected to be out of the area well before game time, the extreme cold will test even die-hard fans’ bravado.
Many, such as the McGuire family of Northfield, plan to attend the game regardless of the conditions. Stephanie, her husband, Dan, and their children, Charlotte and Dylan, decided to start a new family tradition after Dylan gifted the family tickets to Saturday’s game.
“Football is a religion in the McGuire house, and what better way to celebrate the birth of baby Jesus than at Soldier Field competing against a great football team like the Buffalo Bills?” Charlotte said.
‘That was the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen’
In a 3-11 Bears season, seeing what Justin Fields is going to do next is part of an oddly positive vibe surrounding the Bears.
Yes, there are many arguments about where Fields is at in the passing game. There are questions about how he can do more to help the Bears deliver in the clutch in the midst of a seven-game losing streak.
But as Fields has ripped off 15 runs of 15 yards or more — including touchdowns of 55, 61 and 67 yards — one thing is not up for debate: He has delivered a kind of electric performance on the ground rarely seen among NFL quarterbacks.
“He’s made some incredible plays,” offensive coordinator Luke Getsy said. “And I think I’ve gone to (coach Matt Eberflus) every single time and I’m like, ‘That was the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen.’ To be able to say that multiple times is pretty cool.”
Miss anything this week? Catch up before kickoff.
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