Chicago Bears QB Justin Fields faces key measuring stick within 2022 scheduleRyan Heckmanon May 16, 2022 at 2:00 pm

When the Chicago Bears announced their official schedule for the 2022 NFL season last week, we had already known their opponents. However, now we know the order and which games are home versus away.

Now, we can start to predict where the Bears will end their season if we so choose — but we all know how much good it does to try and predict these things in May.

What’s most intriguing, right now, is looking at key games under the microscope.

For second-year quarterback Justin Fields, there are a handful of matchups on the schedule which will be an opportunity to prove himself more than others.

Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields will face off against four other fellow quarterbacks from the 2021 draft class.

Last year’s quarterback class was far greater than that of the 2022 draft, and this year, we could end up seeing Fields take on four of the top six from a year ago.

Just for context, as a rookie Fields threw for 1,870 yards, seven touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 10 starts. He also ran for 420 yards and two scores.

Starting out in Week 1, the Bears take on the San Francisco 49ers at home. The continued storyline for the 49ers, this offseason, has been in regards to quarterbacks Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance. Many still believe it will be Lance who supplants Garoppolo as the starter.

If that’s the case, Fields will have a chance to take on a quarterback drafted eight picks ahead of him in 2021. Last season, Lance did not play much. He ended the year with 603 passing yards, five passing touchdowns and two picks. He also ran for 168 yards and a touchdown.

JUSTIN FIELDS ARE YOU SERIOUS?! #DaBears

?: #SFvsCHI on FOX
?: NFL app pic.twitter.com/i8nVWJPukV

— NFL (@NFL) October 31, 2021

If the Bears can come out and win this tough game against a good defense, it would help Fields’ confidence going forward. Even if the Bears don’t win, to see Fields play well against the 49ers defense will be a big accomplishment.

In Week 3, the Bears host the Houston Texans and second-year quarterback Davis Mills, who performed admirably as a rookie last year. In 11 starts, Mills threw for 2,668 yards with 16 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

Week 7 will be one to watch, as the Bears travel to take on the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football. Obviously, that means Fields vs. Mac Jones — the quarterback taken after Fields was drafted.

Last year, Jones was by far and away the most accomplished rookie quarterback, starting all 17 games for New England. Jones threw for 3,801 yards, 22 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. That prime time matchup will be extremely difficult, as Bill Belichick is historically good against rookie and second-year quarterbacks.

Finally, in Week 12 the Bears travel to New York to take on last year’s number two overall pick in Zach Wilson and his much-improved Jets. A few weeks ago, you could have argued that the Bears and Jets have similar weaponry. Following this year’s draft, though, the Jets now have some serious firepower for Wilson to work with in rookies Garrett Wilson and Breece Hall.

Wins and losses, here, are essentially meaningless. We know the Bears aren’t going to be a very good team — unless they surprise us, which would be a pleasant happenstance.

If Fields can step up and play well against his peers from last year’s draft, then the Bears know they have found their guy. These four games are going to be pivotal in terms of how we grade Fields going forward.

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