CHICAGO (2-5) at LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (2-4)
Sunday, 8:20 p.m. EDT, NBC
BETTING LINE: Chargers by 8 1/2, according to FanDuel SportsBook.
AGAINST THE SPREAD: Bears 2-4-1; Chargers 2-4.
SERIES RECORD: Bears lead 7-6.
LAST MEETING: Chargers beat Bears 17-16 on Oct. 27, 2019, in Chicago.
LAST WEEK: Bears beat Raiders 30-12; Chargers lost to Chiefs 31-17.
BEARS OFFENSE: OVERALL (18), RUSH (5), PASS (27), SCORING (13).
BEARS DEFENSE: OVERALL (18), RUSH (5), PASS (29), SCORING (28).
CHARGERS OFFENSE: OVERALL (8), RUSH (16), PASS (8), SCORING (T-11).
CHARGERS DEFENSE: OVERALL (31), RUSH (11), PASS (32), SCORING (25).
TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Bears minus-3; Chargers plus-5.
BEARS PLAYER TO WATCH: QB Tyson Bagent. The undrafted rookie from Division II Shepherd in his home state of West Virginia is set to make his second straight start after Justin Fields dislocated his right thumb in a Week 6 loss to Minnesota. And this time, he’ll be in prime time. Bagent was steady last week in his first start, going 21 of 29 for 162 yards and a touchdown. None of his completions was for more than 17 yards. Bagent joked after the game has a “cannon” for an arm, and he might get a chance to show it off. That’s because the Bears expect Los Angeles to try to challenge them on short passes.
CHARGERS PLAYER TO WATCH: S Derwin James Jr. It was a rough outing for the entire Los Angeles secondary, allowing 424 yards passing and four touchdowns to Patrick Mahomes. James did recover a fumble in the third quarter, but was also a big reason why the Chiefs had so much success with their intermediate passing game. If Chicago wants to use that part of the field more, especially off play action, James must be more active.
KEY MATCHUP: Bears RB D’Onta Foreman vs. Chargers LB Eric Kendricks. Foreman’s steady output was a big reason why Bagent had such a successful debut. Foreman ran for 89 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries and he added 31 yards and another score on three catches. He’ll need to keep it up to prevent the Chargers from unleashing their talented pass rush. Kendricks has certainly shored up the run defense, helping Los Angeles hold opponents to 3.7 yards per carry or fewer in three games since returning from a hamstring injury.
KEY INJURIES: RT Darnell Wright missed practice Wednesday with a shoulder injury that he tried to play through last week as well as a toe issue. ... Chicago opened the 21-day window on Wednesday for LT Braxton Jones (neck) to return from injured reserve. ... RG Nate Davis (high ankle sprain) will miss his second straight game. ... Safety Eddie Jackson (foot) has missed four of the past five games, including last week’s win. ... Rookie RB Roschon Johnson (concussion) was a full participant in practice Wednesday after missing the past two games. ... S Jaquan Brisker missed practice Wednesday with an illness. Brisker got checked for a concussion during the Raiders game — and did not have one. … Chargers WR Joshua Palmer is dealing with a knee injury, which kept him out of practice on Wednesday. … TE Gerald Everett (hip) also missed practice on Wednesday, which could be another blow to the passing game.
SERIES NOTES: This is the first road game for the Bears at the Chargers since they moved to Los Angeles in 2017. … The Bears did visit SoFi Stadium during the 2020 pandemic season, losing 24-10 to the Rams, and again to open the 2021 season, falling 34-14 to the Rams in the first regular-season game with fans in attendance. … The Chargers won the first three games in the series before dropping seven of the next nine.
STATS AND STUFF: The Bears have won two of three since a 14-game losing streak. ... Chicago has not won two in a row since Weeks 16 and 17 of the 2021 season, when it beat Seattle and the New York Giants. ... The Bears defense has been stingy the past two weeks, holding Minnesota to 220 yards and then limiting Las Vegas to 235. ... CB Jaylon Johnson had two of Chicago’s three interceptions last week after getting one in his first 43 games. He returned one 39 yards for a TD. ... The Chargers have not lost three in a row in three seasons under head coach Brandon Staley. This is the sixth instance of consecutive losses in his tenure. … Los Angeles has scored a league-leading five touchdowns off its 10 takeaways. … RB Austin Ekeler is averaging 2.57 yards per carry on 28 attempts in two games since returning from an ankle injury. … QB Justin Herbert is going through an unprecedented funk, having failed to complete 60% of his passes in three straight games for the first time in his career. This stretch coincides with Herbert breaking the middle finger on his non-throwing left hand against the Raiders in Week 4. … Palmer has stepped up with 12 receptions for 270 yards in the three games since Mike Williams tore his ACL.
FANTASY TIP: The Chargers receiving options have been useful for fantasy purposes since Herbert came into the starting lineup in 2020. However, injuries, inconsistency and uncertainty leave WR Keenan Allen as the only must-start option this week. Unless Palmer is full go in practice the rest of the week, everyone else is too risky to lock in, especially with a full slate of games around the league to choose from.
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