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Week 16 Game preview: Bears-Bills

For the second straight week the Bears host one of the league’s best teams.

NFL: Buffalo Bills at Chicago Bears Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports

Fans who are clamoring for the Chicago Bears to tank should have an easy time this week as they host the 11-3 Buffalo Bills.

A top-two draft pick would certainly be a nice Christmas present, dropped in early.

It’s certainly going to be as cold as the North Pole, if not as snowy as it seemed it might be.

Either way, the Bears are going to have their hands full with a talented team coming to the lakefront.

Buffalo Bills

SB Nation site: Buffalo Rumblings

Record: 11-3, first in the AFC East

Last week: 32-29 win over the Miami Dolphins

Game day, time, TV: Sunday, noon CT, CBS

Spread: According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Bills are 8.5-point favorites over Chicago. The total is set at 40.

Bears all-time record against: 8-5

Historical meetings: Having played just 13 times in their history, there isn’t a lot here.

In week 15, 1997, the 3-10 Bears hosted the 5-8 Bills at Soldier Field.

The Bears scored 17 second quarter points with a Jeff Jaeger field goal, a Ryan Wetnight touchdown and a Ricky Proehl touchdown.

Curtis Conway caught seven passes for 115 yards. The Bears sacked Todd Collins of the Bills five times.

Chicago won 17-3.

Last meeting: Week 9 of 2018, the 4-2 Bears went to Buffalo to face the 2-6 Bills.

Nathan Peterman started for an injured Josh Allen and threw three interceptions. Leonard Floyd returned one 19 yards for a touchdown.

Eddie Jackson returned a fumble for 65 yards and a score.

Jordan Howard rushed for two touchdowns.

And that was just the second quarter.

The Bears rolled to an eventual 41-9 drubbing of the Bills.

Injury report: The Bills listed six players on their injury report Wednesday.

Did not participate

  • FS Jordan Poyer (knee/vet rest)
  • C Mitch Morse (concussion)
  • DE Boogie Basham (calf)

Limited participation

  • DE A.J. Epensa (elbow)
  • LB Matt Milano (knee)
  • NT Jordan Phillips (shoulder)

Offense: The Bills offense comes in ranked second in points and ninth in yards.

Their passing offense ranks 18th and their rushing offense ranks sixth.

Josh Allen (63.7 pct cmp./3,857 yds./30 TD/11 INT), if you don’t know him, well, you must not follow the league very closely. He’s one of the best quarterbacks in the game and he has the numbers to back it up.

His weapons include former Viking Stefon Diggs (99 rec./1,299 yds./10 TD), TE Dawson Knox (43/466/4), Gabriel Davis (42/752/6) and Isaiah McKenzie (40/404/4).

On the ground Allen is also a weapon (109 att./705 yds./6 TD), leading Buffalo in rushing. But Devin Singletary (158/684/4) and James Cook (69/363/1) are effective there, as well as in the pass game. Singletary (35/258/1) and Cook (18/165/1) both are good at catching the ball.

Defense: The Bills defense comes in ranked second in points allowed and ninth in yards.

Their passing defense ranks 18th and their rushing defense ranks sixth.

The defense is led by players like leading tacklers Matt Milano (85 tkls/8 PD/2 INT/1.5 sk), S Damar Hamlin (85tkls/1.5 sk/1 FF/3 QB hits) and Tremaine Edmunds (86 tkls/4 FF/1 sk/4 TFL).

They recently got back Tre’Davious White, he’s played four games and hasn’t accumulated a lot of stats (11 tkls/4 PD).

Even without Von Miller, the pass rush has stayed consistent with Gregory Rousseau (7 sk/4 PD/1 FF/31 tkls/8 TFL/12 QB hits), A.J. Epenesa (5.5 sk/2 FF/5 PD/8 QB hits/6 TFL), Shaq Lawson (3.5 sk/1 FF/9 QB hits) and Ed Oliver (1.5 sk/13 QB hits/7 TFL/1 FF).

Key matchups: The defense is really going to have their hands full again with Josh Allen’s dual-threat ability, much like Jalen Hurts last week.

Jaylon Johnson is going to have another big matchup facing Diggs on the outside. And just like last week, the final stats won’t necessarily tell the complete story. Diggs will get his, it’s just about limiting the damage.

Kyler Gordon will draw Gabriel Davis, who has dangerous speed. Ideally, there will be a lot of help over the top from DeAndre Houston-Carson and Jaquon Brisker.

On offense, the numbers favor the passing game, but we know what the Bears are working with, so it’s another week of asking Justin Fields to be superman and make plays any way he can.

The Bills are one of the better defenses against tight ends, but have allowed the seventh-most yards to opposing receivers.

Buffalo has limited the damage of opposing RBs and QBs, too. Overall, it’s just going to be a tough matchup for the offense.

Key stats

  • Buffalo has yet to allow a TE to score a touchdown or an opposing QB to have a rushing touchdown
  • The Bills have the 11th most sacks in the league and 11th best pressure percentage.
  • They blitz only 20 percent of the time, one of the lower amounts in the league (22nd)
  • Stefon Diggs has the third-most receiving yards and is tied for second-most TD receptions in the league
  • Josh Allen ranks fourth among QBs in rushing yards behind Fields, Lamar Jackson, and Hurts. He ranks third in touchdowns.
  • The Bills rank third in yards per play and sixth in NY/A.
  • For all the good they do, the Bills offense is fourth in turnovers and has lost 10 fumbles to go with Allen’s 11 interceptions.

What will it take for the Bears to get an upset win this weekend? Can they do it, or is another week of cheering for a moral victory.