There aren’t many reasons as to why Chicago should roll out its full arsenal of impact players on Sunday. The Bears are competing with the Houston Texans in an epic Tankapalooza for the first overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
so the bears can get the first pick if the texans beat the sam ehlinger colts this weekend— Kay Adams (@heykayadams) January 2, 2023
(and if they lose to the vikings)
With a win negatively affecting the team’s draft position, it doesn’t make sense to go all out, having been eliminated from postseason contention in Week 13. With Justin Fields gutting out injuries on the back end of the season, many fans would prefer to see him sidelined to prevent any further injury or reaggravation.
That being said, history will be on the line for Fields. After adding 132 rushing yards in a loss to the Detroit Lions in Week 17, Fields is within striking distance of Lamar Jackson’s single-season rushing record by a quarterback.
Fields (1,143) needs just 64 yards to surpass Jackson (1,206) for the NFL record. This gives head coach Matt Eberflus an incentive to give Fields the start if his health is up to par.
Justin Fields is 64 yards away from the new single-season QB rushing record (1,207 yards). Matt Eberflus on the importance of that: "Yeah, that’s important. It’s an important factor, but it’s not end-all, be-all. Certainly the health of our team is the most important thing."— Courtney Cronin (@CourtneyRCronin) January 2, 2023
“I would just say (there are) ongoing conversations about everybody,” Eberflus told reporters on Monday. “About everybody, what we need to do, what’s the best interest for our football team going forward. That conversation, we’re going to have that all the way through Wednesday, all the way through Friday and we’ll decide as we go.”
It’s important to note that, following last week’s loss to the Lions, Eberflus stated that Fields will play is he’s healthy. The Bears’ head coach spoke on how the single-season rushing mark could impact his decision with Fields.
“That’s important. It’s an important factor, but it’s not an end-all, be-all. Certainly the health of our team is the most important thing.”
Postgame in Detroit, Matt Eberflus said if Justin Fields is healthy for Week 18, that he would play. Eberflus seemed to hedge on that a bit today, noting that conversations with GM Ryan Poles would take place this week around everyone – QB included – to see who'll play vs. MIN.— Courtney Cronin (@CourtneyRCronin) January 2, 2023
Like Eberflus said, the record is absolutely important. There is no guarantee that Fields will ever be back in this position. That being said, he’s taken quite a beating this season.
The Bears should start Fields, allow him to break Jackson’s record, and then pull him from the game immediately after.
Fields’ development is not at stake in the final game of the season. He will make plenty of strides over the offseason. However, fans would appreciate this silver lining in what has been an extremely frustrating 2022 campaign.
Featured image via Robert Deutsch – USA TODAY Sports