CHICAGO – One match-up that can be intriguing during an NFL season is when two quarterbacks from the same draft class face off for the first time.
It’s even more interesting when both are first round picks, leading to the inevitable debate about which selection was better.
Such a match-up was expected to take place at Met Life Stadium on Sunday as the Bears visit the Jets. New York’s Zach Wilson, who was picked second in the 2021 NFL Draft, and Chicago’s Justin Fields, who was selected 11th that year, were set to start for each team at Noon.
But thanks to events last weekend, that might not end up being the case.
Fields injured his left shoulder on the final drive of the Bears’ 27-24 loss to the Falcons on Sunday afternoon at Mercedes Benz Stadium. He would finish the final two plays of the drive but told reporters after the game that his shoulder was “hurting.”
Head coach Matt Eberflus on Monday classified the injury as “day-to-day” but wouldn’t rule out the possibility that it could be season-ending. Since then, there have been conflicting reports about the shoulder, with one report saying Fields separated it against the Falcons while another said he did not.
It’s safe to say that Fields, who has played the best football of his young NFL career over the last month, is at least questionable at the moment for Sunday’s game against the Jets.
Wilson is healthy ahead of the Week 12 game but his play could keep him on the sidelines against the Bears.
Jets head coach Robert Saleh wouldn’t commit to starting him on Sunday after he went 9-for-22 passing for just 77 yards in a 10-3 loss to the Patriots Sunday.
“Not right now. Not till I’m done evaluating everything,” said Saleh when asked if he was prepared to name Wilson as his starting quarterback against the Bears.
In seven games this season, the signal caller has completed 55.6 percent of his passes for 1,279 yards with four touchdowns compared to five interceptions. Wilson is 5-2 in those starts but has been aided by the defense, which is allowing just 18.6 points per game.
Mike White is currently listed as the backup quarterback for the Jets with veteran Joe Flacco third. Now in his 15th NFL season, Flacco started the first three games of the year when Wilson was dealing with a knee injury.