The Bears (4-3) will look to win their second straight game and match their win total from last season Sunday when they visit the Bills in Buffalo. The Bears enter Week 9 in first place in the NFC North, ahead of the Vikings (4-3-1), Packers (3-3-1) and Lions (3-4). It's the NFL's only division that's separated by one game from top to bottom.
The Bills (2-6) have lost three straight to the Texans (20-13), Colts (37-5) and Patriots (25-6) and four of their last five and are in last place in the AFC East. Buffalo enters Week 9 ranked last in the NFL in points per game (10.9) and point-differential (minus-113) and has scored just two touchdowns in its last five games.
Offense remains red hot
Over their last four games, the Bears have averaged 32.7 points, scored 17 total touchdowns and compiled 1,798 yards of offense. Their 131 points in that span are their most in a four-game period since they tallied 147 points in Weeks 2-5 in 1989.
Over the last four games, quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has produced 1,455 yards of offense and has accounted for 14 TDs. The second-year pro has passed for 1,223 yards with 13 touchdowns, three interceptions and a 113.1 passer rating while also rushing for 232 yards on 23 carries with one TD. His 13 touchdown passes are the most by a Bears quarterback over a four-game span since Hall of Famer Sid Luckman also had 13 in 1947. Trubisky ranks second among NFL quarterbacks with 296 yards rushing, trailing only the Panthers' Cam Newton, who has 309.
Defense on the rebound
The Bears defense enters Sunday's game in Buffalo looking to build off its performance in last weekend's 24-10 win over the New York Jets at Soldier Field. After sub-par outings in its previous two games, the defense allowed a season-low 207 total yards and 12 first downs while forcing three-and-outs on six of the Jets' first eight possessions.
The Bears are tied for second in the NFL with 11 interceptions, rank second with 17 takeaways and are tied for third with a plus-seven turnover differential. They have not recorded a negative turnover differential in any of their first seven games for the first time since 1990 when they accomplished the feat in their first 10 contests. They are also the only NFL team that has not allowed a rushing touchdown this season.
Injuries a main topic
The Bears have been relatively healthy this season, but injuries to key players will be among the top storylines this week. Right guard Kyle Long is expected to be out an extended period of time with a right foot injury he sustained against the Jets. Meanwhile, outside linebacker Khalil Mack (ankle) and receiver Allen Robinson II (groin) remain day-to-day with injuries that forced them to miss last Sunday's game.
Bills are hurting too
While Buffalo boasts an excellent defense that held Tom Brady and the Patriots out of the end zone for the first three-and-a-half quarters Monday night, the Bills offense has struggled to score and now has suffered multiple injuries at the quarterback position.
With rookie Josh Allen already sidelined with an elbow injury, recently-signed veteran Derek Anderson suffered a concussion late in Monday night's game. That means that the Bills may start Nathan Peterman Sunday against the Bears. In seven career games the past two seasons, Peterman has completed 37 of 81 passes (45.7 percent) for 360 yards with three touchdowns, nine interceptions and a 31.4 passer rating.
The Bills reportedly signed former Bears quarterback Matt Barkley Wednesday to potentially serve as Peterman's backup Sunday.
The Bears enter Week 9 ranked 10th in offense in the NFL (3rd rushing and 21st passing) and 7th in defense (3rd against the run and 16th versus the pass. The Bills rank 31st in offense (23rd rushing and 32nd passing) and 6th in defense (15th rushing and 6th passing).
At the podium
Bears coach Matt Nagy will address the media Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Trubisky will speak Wednesday, while offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and special-teams coordinator Chris Tabor will talk Thursday.
The Bears lead the all-time series 7-5 and have won two of the last three games. The Bills won the last meeting between the teams, 23-20 in overtime in the 2014 season opener at Soldier Field. The Bears compiled 427 total yards and 29 first downs, but they committed three turnovers on two Jay Cutler interceptions and a Brandon Marshall fumble that the Bills converted into 13 points. Fred Jackson's 38-yard run set up Dan Carpenter's game-winning 27-yard field goal in overtime.
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