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Patriots vs. Bears preview: Get to know New England’s Week 7 opponent

New England will play its first primetime game of the year on Monday, hosting the Bears at Gillette Stadium.

Winners of back-to-back games, the New England Patriots are heading into Week 7 with plenty of momentum on their side. The same cannot be said for their upcoming opponent: the Chicago Bears have lost three games in a row to drop from 2-1 to 2-4 on the year.

After home wins over San Francisco (19-10) and Houston (23-20) bookending a loss in Green Bay, the Bears lost to the New York Giants (20-12), Minnesota Vikings (29-22) and finally Washington Commanders last Thursday (12-7). Along the way, they proved themselves to be a mediocre team with particular weaknesses on the offensive side of the ball.

A look at the numbers illustrates this:

  • Record: 2-3 (3rd NFC North)
  • Offense: 15.5 points/game (31st), 293.7 yards/game (28th), -0.042 EPA/play (24th)
  • Defense: 19.7 points/game (11th), 341.7 yards/game (16th), 0.043 EPA/play (20th)
  • Scoring differential: -25 (27th)
  • Turnover differential: -2 (t-21th)

While the Bears have played some competent defense at times this year, their offense is a different story. The Bears have had success on the ground, ranking second in rushing yards (1,025) through six games, and seventh in yards per attempt (5.2). Not only is their expected points added through the ground game (-0.050) only the 18th best in football, however, their passing offense has also struggled mightily.

Led by sophomore quarterback Justin Fields, the Bears are ranked dead-last in the NFL in pass attempts (115) and passing yards (737), and 25th in EPA per play (-0.035). They will not have an easy time against one of the best pass defenses in the NFL this year.

With that all said, let’s now jump right to the Bears’ active roster to get to know each of the players currently with the Patriots’ Week 7 opponent.

(Note: The 53-man roster is up-to-date as of Thursday 7 a.m. ET)


Justin Fields, Trevor Siemian

Despite the Bears passing offense struggling this year, Justin Fields is still undisputed as the team’s starting quarterback. The 2021 first-round draft pick, who was also seen as a potential target for the Patriots but went off the board before they were on the clock, has posted some rather pedestrian numbers throwing the ball.

He has completed 63 of 115 pass attempts (54.8%) for 869 yards, four touchdowns and five interceptions. Fields has looked good as a runner, however, gaining 285 yards and scoring a touchdown on 50 non-kneel-down carries.

Backing him up is former Denver Broncos starting QB Trevor Siemian. The 30-year-old has yet to take the field this year.

Offensive backfield

David Montgomery, Khalil Herbert, Trestan Ebner, Khari Blasingame

The Bears’ ground game is led by the two-headed attack of David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert. Montgomery is the starting option and has carried the football 62 times in five games for 246 yards and a touchdown; he also has caught 10 passes for 113 yards. His combined 359 scrimmage yards are ranked second on the team behind only Herbert.

The second-year man, after all, is in the middle of an impressive season. Herbert has 63 carries for 402 yards and three scores on his résumé, as well as five additional catches for 37 yards.

Wide receivers

Darnell Mooney, Equanimeous St. Brown, Dante Pettis, N’Keal Harry, Velus Jones, Isaiah Coulter

As mentioned above, Justin Fields has only completed 63 passes so far this season. His favorite target? Darnell Mooney, who is the Bears’ best receiver and has caught 17 throws for 241 yards — clearly leading the team, let alone his position group, in both categories.

Fields’ touchdown passes, meanwhile, have gone to the other members of the depth chart: Dante Pettis has caught two, with Equanimeous St. Brown and Velus Jones both catching one each. Pettis in particular is worth mentioning; despite being Chicago’s WR3 in terms of playing time he has made some big plays this season and is averaging 27.0 yards on his five receptions.

From a Patriots perspective, of course, the most notable player on the Bears wide receiver depth chart is N’Keal Harry. A former first-round draft pick by New England, Harry was traded to Chicago earlier this year after a disappointing three-year stint as a Patriot. He has just returned off injured reserve and is set to make his season debut against his ex-club.

Tight ends

Cole Kmet, Ryan Griffin, Tevon Wesco, Jake Tonges

There is no question who Chicago’s No. 1 tight end is: Cole Kmet, who is ranked first among the team’s position group in playing time (90.8%), targets (15), receptions (10) and receiving yards (116). Ryan Griffin, Tevon Wesco and rookie Jake Tonges have only played marginal roles so far this year, combining to catch three passes for 42 yards.

Offensive tackles

Braxton Jones, Larry Borom, Riley Reiff

The Bears offensive line is a major liability, with Fields getting pressured on roughly half of his dropbacks — the highest number in the NFL. While not all of those pressures can solely be pinned on the O-line, the unit has had its issues both at tackle and along the interior.

The biggest culprit as far as pressure is concerned is rookie left tackle Braxton Jones, who has given up 20 quarterback disruptions in six games. Jones will have his hands full against the Patriots’ potent edge rush led by Matthew Judon and Deatrich Wise Jr., as will fellow starter Larry Borom.

The Bears might be in line to get some reinforcements, though. Trade acquisition Alex Leatherwood, who was a first-round pick a year ago, has been designated to return off injured reserve even though he has not yet officially returned to the 53-man roster.

Interior offensive line

Lucas Patrick, Sam Mustipher, Teven Jenkins, Michael Schofield, Ja’Tyre Carter

As noted above, the Bears’ interior offensive line has had its problems as well. From left to right, the starting group consists of Lucas Patrick, Sam Mustipher and Teven Jenkins — the latter of whom a second-round pick as an offensive tackle just a year ago. Under a new regime in Chicago, however, Jenkins was moved to the interior of the line.

Interior defensive line

Justin Jones, Angelo Blackson, Armon Watts, Mike Pennel

The Bears defensive line by two veterans, free agency acquisition Justin Jones and fellow veteran Angelo Blackson. Jones and Blackson have taken the bulk of the work so far this season, but are occasionally spelled by Armon Watts.

The group, which also features short-time Patriot Mike Pennel, has some experience and size but it has had its ups and downs in 2022 so far. Jones has been its best player so far, registering a team-high two sacks from his spot in the middle.

Defensive edge

Robert Quinn, Al-Quadin Muhammad, Travis Gipson, Dominique Robinson, Kinglsey Jonathan

Chicago made some investments along its defensive edge this season, signing Al-Quadin Muhammad in free agency and also adding rookies Dominique Robinson and Kinglsey Jonathan. The trio joined the returning cast of Robert Quinn and Travis Gipson, but the group’s impact as a whole has been limited especially versus the pass.

The Bears defense has posted the lowest pressure rate in the NFL through six weeks, and has notched just 11 sacks. Of those, only 5.5 have come via the edge defenders.

Off-the-ball linebackers

Roquan Smith, Nicholas Morrow, Joe Thomas, Jack Sanborn, Sterling Weatherford

Despite holding out this offseason and seemingly on his way out of Chicago, Roquan Smith continues to be the team’s top linebacker. The 2018 first-round draft pick has played all 396 defensive snaps so far this season and has notched an interceptions as well as 1.5 sacks.

Offseason acquisition Nicholas Morrow is the other starting off-the-ball linebacker, and he too has played 100 percent of snaps through six weeks. While not on Smith’s level as far as playmaking potential is concerned, Morrow has had a solid season as well.

Joe Thomas, Jack Sanborn and Sterling Weatherford have not made much if any impact on defense so far, but they are core special teamers.


Kindle Vildor, Jaylon Johnson, Kyler Gordon, Jaylon Jones, Lamar Jackson, Josh Blackwell

Entering Week 7, the Bears’ pass defense is ranked 20th in the league in expected points added; the group gives up an EPA of 0.089 per play this season. That is actually a solid number considering that Chicago lacks any real star power at cornerback.

The top three options are second-round rookie Kyler Gordon and third-year men Kindle Vildor and Jaylon Johnson. Vildor and Johnson are the starting outside cornerbacks with Gordon as the top nickel back and slot defender.

Jaylon Jones, Lamar Jackson and undrafted rookie Josh Blackwell offer depth behind the three starters. Out of the three, Jones has seen the most consistent action on both defense and in the kicking game.


Eddie Jackson, Jaquan Brisker, DeAndre Houston-Carson, Dane Cruikshank, Elijah Hicks

Roquan Smith is the Bears’ best defender, but Eddie Jackson is the next man down the list. Not only has he caught a team-high three interceptions so far this year while playing all but three defensive snaps, he also has the versatility to line up all over the defensive formation. He primarily plays as the deep man in Chicago’s single-high coverage shells.

The other starting safety is second-round rookie Jaquan Brisker. Like Jackson he can play all over the secondary, and has done just that; as opposed to his veteran teammate, however, he has been used more of a box option.

DeAndre Houston-Carson is the team leader in special teams snaps.


Cairo Santos, Trenton Gill, Patrick Scales

Place kicker Cairo Santos and long snapper Patrick Scales have been with the Bears since 2020 (and before that for one year in 2017), and they were joined by rookie punter and holder Trenton Gill this year. The seventh-rounder is ranked above-average in both gross (48.7) and net yards per punt (42.6).

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