LAKE FOREST, Ill. – Playing a bitter rival is nothing new for Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields.
Facing the Green Bay Packers with first place on the line Sunday at Soldier Field in one of the NFL's oldest rivalries has some similarities to the annual Michigan and Ohio State matchup, so Fields feels ready in this regard.
“I mean, a rivalry game, it's big,” Fields said. “I've been in the position before. I wouldn't say it totally prepares me for this, but I have a pretty good idea of what a big rivalry game looks like.”
Fields' experience at Ohio State against Michigan comes from just one game his junior year, but it was a memorable one. He completed 14 of 25 for 302 yards and four touchdowns in a 56-27 Buckeyes' win. The pandemic wiped out his chance to face Michigan again as a senior.
The excitement will be different this time because he's squaring off against Aaron Rodgers for the first time. The Packers have a 21-5 record against the Bears with Rodgers starting.
“I know it's gonna be a good matchup between him and our defense,” Field said. “Our defense has been playing well. I'm excited to see him play.”
The Bears no doubt would like to see Fields' passing game emulate some of Rodgers' success.
Although they have gained some momentum with two straight wins, their rookie quarterback has been helped along by a revived defense that is ranked eighth in the NFL, and a running game prospering even without injured running back David Montgomery.
Fields has struggled with consistency, like most rookie passers. He has completed 51.4% (37 of 72) for 458 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. He has a 64.5 passer rating.
“I think we have a good feel of who he is and how he's growing each week,” head coach Matt Nagy said. “I think we feel good about that and how we can continue to help grow him.”
When: 1 p.m. Sunday
Where: Soldier Field, Chicago