Week 8 boom:
Eddie Jackson – HIT
Week 8 bust:
Justin Fields – MISS
After an eventful trade deadline, the Chicago Bears enter Week 9 without key defensive pieces, but with an improved core of offensive weapons. The Bears’ offense has come together in the last two weeks behind Justin Fields, who will need to carry a larger load with the defensive departures. The Miami Dolphins enter Chicago with new faces of their own, creating for an intriguing Week 9 matchup.
Boom: Chase Claypool
Former Pittsburgh Steelers’ receiver Chase Claypool joins a struggling passing offense, hoping to add a new element to the Bears’ offensive game plan. Through his first two and a half years in the NFL, Claypool has proven to provide a diverse skill set, making plays in various ways. This season, the lack of creativity in the Steelers’ offense limited Claypool’s effectiveness, but the Bears hope they can unleash his potential. In a game in which the Dolphins are yet to witness how the Bears implement Claypool, he could play a surprising impactful role. Chicago traded a second round pick for Claypool, demonstrating their desire to make him a focal point of their offense. Claypool will likely see favorable matchups this week against the Dolphins, who frequently play man coverage. If Xavien Howard primarily lines up against Darnell Mooney, Claypool will oppose Noah Igbinoghene, who has been far from satisfactory for the Dolphins. Claypool could dominate Igbinoghene downfield if given the opportunities. His success will all depend on the Bears’ game plan for him.
Bust: Eddie Jackson
Following the departures of Robert Quinn and Roquan Smith, Eddie Jackson remains as the longest established Bear on the defense. While he has improved in 2022, he will certainly be challenged by this week’s matchup with the Dolphins. Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle have torched defenses downfield, resulting in Tua Tagovailoa leading the league in yards per attempt. The intermediate and deep portions of the field have been primary areas of attack for the Dolphins’ offense, which should not change this week. The Bears’ pass rush features no established talent, which should allow Tagovailoa the time to find his top targets downfield. The cornerback room is banged up which could force unproven corners to step up into big roles this week. Jackson will have to be a critical piece to limit this explosive offense, but he has struggled in recent years against deep passes. Expect for Hill and Waddle to get behind the Bears’ third level and expose a very incomplete defense.