Kickoff: Noon, Saturday, Soldier Field, Chicago.
The setting: Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky returns to Soldier Field but as the quarterback of the Bills and will start in this game because Josh Allen is being held out as the Bills play it safe. Trubisky completed 1 of 2 passes for 10 yards against Detroit in Buffalo's first preseason game. Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs will also sit out due to a knee injury. The Bears won their first preseason game 20-13 over Miami behind a second-half comeback from QB Justin Fields in his debut, while Buffalo rallied in the fourth quarter to beat Detroit 16-15.
TV, Radio: NFL Network, Fox-32 in Chicago area (Adam Amin, Jim Miller, Lou Canellis). WBBM-AM 780, 105.9-FM (Jeff Joniak, Tom Thayer, Mark Grote). TUDN Deportes Radio AM 1200, FM 93.5 (Omar Ramos, Miguel Esparza).
The line: Bears by 4 1/2, over/under 38.
The Bills side: Although most starters won't play, the Bills will have tackle Dion Dawkins on the field after he was on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Rookies Gregory Rousseau and Boogie Basham have been effective as pass rushers and rookie Damar Hamlin has also been impressive at safety. The Bills have Star Lotulelei back on the defensive line after he opted out. Hamlin and Josh Thomas could play the entire game at safety and are battling for the fourth safety spot. Linebacker Tyrel Dodson is in a roster fight. The Bills have a battle going on between several players for one of the last cornerback spots, including cornerback Rashad Wildgoose of Wisconsin.
The Bears side: Fields should play after starter Andy Dalton leaves in the second quarter. Fields was 10 of 14 for 142 yards with a TD pass and TD run last week but most of his plays came while scrambling or rolling out and the Bears need to see more from him in the pocket. With tackle Teven Jenkins out after back surgery this week, a three-way battle will ensue on the left side between Larry Borom, Elijah Wilkinson and 39-year-old former Eagles tackle Jason Peters. Wilkinson will start in this one. Peters is not expected to play but could play next week against Tennessee. The left cornerback spot seems to belong to second-year player Kindle Vildor as veteran Desmond Trufant had a minor injury, returned but then left camp for personal reasons. Vildor had impressed already and was listed as No. 1 on the team's "unofficial" depth chart. The other cornerback battle in the slot hasn't really materialized between three-year veteran Duke Shelley, rookie Thomas Graham Jr. and a few veteran safeties. Shelley has the spot but his play has been inconsistent. Tight end Jesse James has been productive as a third tight end since arriving when camp opened.
Matching up: Buffalo, 13-3 last year and AFC East champs, was second on offense, third passing and 20th rushing. The Bills were 14th on defense, 13th against the pass and 17th against the run.
The Bears were 8-8 and a wild card team last year and were 26th on offense, 22nd in passing and 25th in rushing. They were 11th on defense, 12th against the pass and 15th against the run.
Scouting report: Buffalo's pass rush has looked stronger in training camp and preseason but was a weakness last year. They're also looking for better all-around play at tight end. The Bills defense is coordinated by former Bears cornerback Leslie Frazier. Bills coach Sean McDermott was on the Eagles coaching staff as linebackers coach and then defensive coordinator while Bears coach Matt Nagy was an offensive assistant with the team under Andy Reid from 2008-2010.
The Bears had trouble getting the ball downfield last year and in the first preseason game seemed to have the same problems, as Fields' stats were padded by one 30-yard TD on a busted coverage. The rushing defense is supposed to be a strength for the Bears but in this game nose tackle Eddie Goldman could miss with a back injury.
Next week: The Bills close preseason with a noon Aug. 28 game against Green Bay. The Bears are at Tennessee in a 6 p.m. game on Saturday, Aug. 28.