Bills prepare for the Windy City
Being a team from Buffalo, the Bills are no stranger to playing in blizzard-like conditions.
When they travel to Chicago to face the Bears on Christmas Eve, they are going to have to deal with unpleasant weather conditions again. The forecasted weather includes bitter cold temperatures and high wind gust that could cause wind chills of under 0 degrees.
"This one's gonna be chilly, but after a certain degree, you don't really feel the difference," QB Josh Allen said. "I think under 10 degrees, it's just cold. I don't know how else to describe it. But, again, we know certain things to keep our bodies warm and our equipment staff does such a good job of making sure that we have the right tools and equipment to keep warm on the sidelines."
While some players add a few extra layers when the temperature drops, WR Stefon Diggs expressed that he is not one of them.
"No, I don't do none of that. I just go out there and hoop, I don't be worried about it," Diggs said. "It's gonna be cold for us and it's gonna be cold for them. You do your best to prepare for it, but I don't care what anybody says, if they say they like the cold, they're lying. And just got to deal with it. It'll be all right."
16 weeks into the season, the Bills have experienced extreme heat, rain, wind and snow. But no matter what the forecast is calling for on any given game day, the focus is still on winning the game in front of them.
"You got to get your mindset ready for it and I think that's the biggest factor is just your mindset going into it," safety Jordan Poyer said. "Understanding this is the type of game that it's going to be so when you do step out on the football field, you're not necessarily surprised, and you're ready to go."
What to expect from QB Justin Fields
Electric, athletic, fast, talented, and strong are just a few of the words the Bills have used to describe Bears QB Justin Fields this week.
"He's (Fields) done a great job of leading their offense and I'm sure leading their team," head coach Sean McDermott said. "Again, I'm not on the inside there, obviously. But he puts them in scoring positions. He's had a number of explosive plays, including third downs, where he has converted via the air or via his feet. So red-zone, two-minute, he's an issue."
In his second NFL season, Fields has 2,048 passing yards, 1,000 rushing yards, and 23 total touchdowns. Adding home field advantage to an already explosive runner is going to fuel the QB to add to his numbers.
So, to prevent the Bears from stacking up points, Poyer acknowledged that the Bills' defense is going to have to force Chicago's offense into situations they don't want to be in and that starts with containing Fields.
"I always say when you play quarterbacks like these, like Josh, like Pat, you know, Lamar, they're extremely dangerous just because they can hurt you with their legs, they can hurt you with their arm," Poyer said.
Ike Boettger excited to be back
It's been almost a full calendar year since OL Ike Boettger suffered an Achilles injury in Week 16 of last season. On Monday, the Bills officially activated Boettger off the Reserve/PUP list.
"Every week I've seen a big jump just in the confidence in the way I'm moving, and this week's the same," Boettger said. "Just really happy to be out there and happy for the opportunity."
The guard was striving to be back by Christmas of this year, and it worked out just about perfectly as he will be eligible to play this Saturday against the Chicago Bears.
"I'm taking it one day at a time and I'm trying to get myself ready if the team needs me, and that's really my mindset," Boettger added. "I'm not planning on anything. I'm just taking it one day at a time and if my number's called, I'll be ready to go."
After his intense rehab process, Boettger shared that he feels significantly stronger from all the time he spent in the weight room. And now that his return to the field is getting closer, he's primarily focused on catching back up to the speed of the game.
"That first week back out, I was like, either these people got way faster, or I slowed down," Boettger said. "But week four now, I don't feel that way at all. So, I'm happy to see that.
Since suffering his injury, it's been a challenge for Boettger to keep the drive and hunger alive throughout his recovery given how long he would be away from the field. But the support he received from his family and team helped the past year go by pretty quickly.
"It was a grind, but I learned a lot about myself," Boettger said. "And my family, my wife especially, was super supportive and she really stepped up. I said I was our third child this year, so she had three kids instead of two this year, so she did a great job."
When reflecting on the past year, Boettger said he realized how much he missed football and being with his teammates. But the determination to come back form such a serious injury and knowing he'd eventually be reunited with his team pushed him to fight through the injury.
"My wife said it last week, she's like, you're in such a better mood," Boettger said." I'm like yeah, I'm back to doing what I love to do. And just being back out there with the guys at practice has been awesome and just the energy I wake up with every morning. It's just different."
Check out the best practice photos as the Bills prepare for Saturday's game against the Chicago Bears.