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Through the first couple weeks of the 2023 NFL Season, Chicago Bears third-year quarterback Justin Fields has been one of the most scrutinized players in the league for his lack of development in the passing game. In the first three games of the season, Fields completed 51-of-88 of his passes for 526 yards, three touchdowns, and four interceptions.
In the last two games, however, Fields has developed a huge surge of productivity in the passing game. Fields has completed 43-of-64 of his passes for 617 yards, eight touchdowns, and only one interception in his last two games.
This Sunday, the Bears (1-4) will host the Minnesota Vikings (1-4), who are going to be without their star wide receiver in Justin Jefferson. The Vikings' defense ranks 23rd in points allowed per game (24.4) and 22nd in passing yards allowed per game (240).
This is the chance for Fields to show he has developed into an efficient passing quarterback for good. This is a game that could make his career stay in Chicago after a terrible start to the season to where the franchise was about to give up on him.
When healthy, the offense for the Cincinnati Bengals is easily one of the top offenses in the league. The problem with the Bengals is that star quarterback Joe Burrow is hurt with a calf injury. That is an injury that lingers through most of the season if not the entire season. It has certainly affected the productivity of star receiver Ja'Marr Chase.
Chase has caught 27 receptions for 333 yards and three touchdowns in the Bengals' two wins. In the three losses, however, Chase was limited to 17 receptions for 143 yards.
The Seattle Seahawks (3-1) are feeling great about their defense despite injuries being an indicator of their early season woes. The Seahawks accounted for 11 sacks in week four's Monday Night Football 24-3 win over the New York Giants. Rookie cornerback Devin Witherspoon is coming off a tremendous breakout game. He and second-year cornerback Tariq Woolen should be one of the top man-coverage units in the league. The Seahawks could also slow down the production of the Bengals’ offense by constantly pressuring a limited Burrow. The Seahawks are also coming off a bye week.
One of the best and most surprising matchups in week six's Sunday slate is the Detroit Lions (4-1) going on the road to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-1). Many experts said that the Lions would be this good going into the season, but that was definitely not the same case for the Buccaneers.
Tampa Bay has quietly built a solid passing offense with quarterback Baker Mayfield and long-time wide receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. The Buccaneers are ranked 13th in the league in passing yards per game (214.5).
One of the key reasons for the efficiency of the Buccaneers' passing game is the stability of the offensive line, who have allowed only four sacks on Mayfield in four games this season.
The Lions have a star pass rusher in second-year defensive end Aidan Hutchinson. He has accounted for 4.5 sacks this season and is on a solid. Hutchinson is facing a much more efficient offensive line of the Buccaneers, who are going to make it their prime objective to keep Hutchinson from getting to the quarterback.
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The New York Giants (1-4), who are based out of New Jersey, travel to the actual state of New York to take on the Buffalo Bills (3-2). The Giants are in terrible shape on both sides of the ball, while the Bills are looking to redeem themselves from their week five 25-20 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in London.
In one of the mismatched Sunday Night Football matchups, yet this season, the Bills are looking to dominate the Giants with their offense. In the two home games this season, quarterback Josh Allen has completed 52-of-62 of his passes for 594 yards, seven touchdowns, and no interceptions.
The Giants' defense ranks 29th in the league in points allowed per game (30.6) and 19th in passing yards allowed per game (226.6). They would be much worse, but the rushing defense is ranked 30th in the league in rushing yards allowed per game (151.4). With the Bills being a pass-orientated offense, it could ugly fast for the Giants, but make Bills fans and potential bettors very happy.
Michael Hanich is a sports journalist/analyst with a wide variety of experience in the newspaper and digital field. He has a love for all sports. The leagues that he covers are College Football, the NFL, the NBA, the NHL, College Basketball (men’s and women’s), the MLB, Lacrosse, Volleyball, and the WNBA.More info on Michael Hanich
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