Is Justin Fields playing today vs. the Lions?

    Following a rib injury, is Chicago Bears QB Justin Fields set to play in Week 12 against the Lions, or will we see Andy Dalton today instead?

    Last week Chicago Bears QB Justin Fields left the Bears’ game with a rib injury, but has he recovered in time to play in Week 12 against the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving? Let’s take a look at the latest updates on the Bears’ rookie QB, whether he will be playing today, and who will take his place under center.

    Is Justin Fields playing today against the Detroit Lions following his rib injury?

    Immediately following last week’s game, the news on Fields’ health was somewhat promising. Initially, the fear was that Fields may have suffered broken ribs during the game against the Ravens. However, according to numerous sources, it was reported Monday that X-rays were negative.

    That presented some hope that Fields might be able to play on Thursday. Fields was listed as a non-participant on the Bears’ estimated practice report Monday. Later on Monday, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that Fields would not start, with Andy Dalton getting the start in his place. On Tuesday, Matt Nagy confirmed that Dalton would start, before the Bears ruled Fields out officially on Wednesday.

    On Thursday morning, Rapoport reported that Fields had cracked a few ribs in Week 11. While the X-ray and CT scans did not show the injury, an MRI showed the additional issues. The positive news is that the fractures are considered “tiny” and that Fields should return shortly.

    The Bears’ Week 13 injury report will now be interesting to see if Fields could return vs. the Arizona Cardinals. How willing are the Bears to risk Fields over the course of the remainder of the season with their playoff hopes fading?

    It has been a mixed season for Fields

    There have been a lot of highs and lows for Fields this season. His first start was a disaster, as he completed just 6 of his 20 attempts for 68 yards while being sacked 9 times. In contrast, against the Steelers, he threw for 291 yards and a touchdown.

    Fields has been under a lot of pressure behind the Bears’ offensive line. He has been sacked a league-high 31 times, losing 220 yards in the process. However, when we look at his Offensive Value Metric grade, we can see there have been encouraging signs. OVM grades a player based on factors within his control, and Fields is the second-most valuable of the rookie QBs (behind Mac Jones).

    Andy Dalton will start for the Bears in Week 12

    Once the Bears drafted Fields in the 2021 NFL Draft, Andy Dalton’s job was always going to be on the line in Chicago. While he started the season as the QB1, an injury in Week 2 simply sped up the process of handing the reigns to Fields.

    Dalton’s season has been tough to judge given how little he has played. In Week 1, he had a passer rating of just 72.9 but did complete 71.05% of his pass attempts for 206 yards. The problem was that Dalton was not being all that aggressive with his throws. He averaged just 5.42 yards per attempt, and his OVM grade placed him as the fifth-least valuable QB that week.

    In Week 2, Dalton was once again producing an efficient performance prior to his injury. He had completed 9 of his 11 passes, including a touchdown, but was averaging just 5.09 yards per attempt. However, his passer rating was an impressive 118.2 in that game.

    Dalton’s performance in relief of Fields in Week 11 was quite something. He averaged 8.74 yards per attempt, threw 2 touchdowns, and had a passer rating of 107.3. However, he went just 11-of-23 and had the sixth-lowest OVM grade among eligible QBs in Week 11.

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