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Top 6 storylines to follow for Week 16 | Bills at Bears


The Holiday Bills has a nice ring to it, and they deserve that title this season. The Bills have already played on Thanksgiving this season and now, they've got the Christmas Eve stage. It'll be Buffalo's seventh game playing on Christmas Eve and their first since 2016.

Here are 6 things to know ahead of Saturday's game.

1. The perfect Christmas gift

I'm sure an AFC East title is on many of our Christmas lists this year. If that's you, the Bills have a chance at delivering an early gift with a win over the Bears on Saturday afternoon. A win against Chicago or a Miami loss to the Packers would give the Bills their third AFC East title in a row. It would be Buffalo's first time clinching the AFC East title for three straight years since doing it in four straight from 1988 to 1991.

In addition to winning the east, the Bills also have their eyes on securing the No. 1 seed in the AFC. They currently sit in first place with an 11-3 record. In second is the Chiefs (11-3), Bengals are third (10-4), Titans are fourth (7-7), Ravens sit at fifth (9-5), Chargers are in sixth (8-6) and the Dolphins are seventh (8-6). The easiest way to get the No. 1 seed is by winning the rest of their regular season games. After the Bears, the Bills face the Bengals on Monday night and the Patriots to close the season.

2. Josh Allen to face the Bears for the first time in his career

Quarterback Josh Allen has played against 30 teams in his NFL career. The last remaining one is Chicago, which he'll get to check off the list on Saturday. The last time these two met in Soldier Field was in 2014 when the Bills beat the Bears in the season opener 23-20.

Allen has played against NFC teams 20 times in his career and has a 15-5 record. In those 20 games, the QB has thrown 5,103 passing yards, totaled 51 passing touchdowns, posted a 96.9 passer rating and has thrown 74 completions of 20 or more yards. He has also rushed for 799 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Allen's biggest margin of victory against an NFC team came on Thanksgiving night during the 2021 season when the Bills beat the Saints 31 to 6. The QB has received AFC offensive player of the week honors vs. three NFC teams (Seattle in 2020, San Francisco in 2020 and Washington in 2021).

3. Stopping Justin Fields

Chicago's biggest strength on offense is their quarterback Justin Fields and his ability to get loose and run. Fields has 143 carries for 1,000 rushing yards, which is the most of any quarterback this season and ranks seventh in the NFL. Fields' average of 6.99 yards per attempt leads the NFL. His eight rushing touchdowns and 62 rushing first downs ranks second among quarterbacks.

Thanks to Fields, the Bears have the best rushing offense in the NFL. They're averaging 186.9 rushing yards per game and 5.39 rushing yards per attempt. On the other hand, they have the worst passing attack in the NFL sitting at 32nd averaging 137.1 passing yards per game. The Bills rank sixth against the run allowing 106.1 rushing yards per game and 18th against the pass allowing 219.3 passing yards per game.

Stopping the run will be important for the defense on Saturday. After allowing 188 rushing yards to the Dolphins last week, Sean McDermott said watching the tape and learning from it will help them grow.

"I thought our defense made the stops they had to make but we've got to go back and look at it, more so than anything our fundamentals and our techniques and making sure we're executing those and doing our 1/11th," McDermott said. "I thought at halftime Coach Frazier did a good job, and the coaches just saying, 'Hey, let's basically go back to training camp and just settle down and do your job.' So we'll have to look at the film overall and assess how we can improve that."

4. From cold to colder

The snow could be following the Bills. After coming off of a snowy fourth quarter finish against the Dolphins where temperatures were in the 20s, the team could see even worse temperatures and snow accumulations on Saturday.

NWS Chicago, released some predictions for the storm on Monday morning ahead of a busy travel weekend for the entire country. As of now, the Bills are scheduled to travel to Chicago on Friday afternoon and come back from Chicago after the game on Saturday.

The National Weather Service is reporting the winter storm could impact areas from Thursday into Saturday with the potential of blizzard conditions from Thursday night to Friday night. They are not predicting snow totals yet but know temperatures will be well below freezing with strong winds.

Saturday's temperature will be around 10 degrees, but there are supposed to be winds of 25 to 35 miles per hour, which would bring the windchill into negative degrees.

5. Keeping the December win streak alive

The Bills are now 5-0 in December with a chance to have an undefeated month with a win over the Bears. A sixth straight win would be their most in the regular season since 2020 when the Bills finished the season on a six-game win streak.

Their five-game win streak is currently tied for third most in the NFL behind San Francisco (7) and Cincinnati (6). Buffalo also has five wins on non-Sunday games this season with a chance to make it six. The five are the most by any NFL team since Denver had five in 2005. A sixth would make Buffalo the first team to do so since the 1962 Boston Patriots.

Head coach Sean McDermott explained the best way to get through an unconventional schedule is to embrace it.

"It's not changing, so you embrace it, and I think that's the best way to go about it," McDermott shared. "You rely on the staff around you to help you come up with the right schedule that is best for the players, No. 1. It's important that they get their rest, and then the coaches, as well, that they can get some rest because it's a grind."

6. A homecoming for Leslie Frazier

Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier is heading home. Saturday marks a contest against his former team.

Frazier played for the Chicago Bears from 1981-1985. The DC was a part of the 1985 Chicago Bears that won Super Bowl XX. That season, Frazier led the team with six interceptions. He got to play with names like Walter Payton, Mike Singletary, Willie Gault, William "The Refrigerator" Perry, Ron Rivera and more. Chicago fans also know Frazier as being a member of the "The Super Bowl Shuffle."

Frazier had 20 interceptions and two defensive touchdowns in his 65 NFL games played.

Check out the best photos from Saturday Night Football at Highmark Stadium.

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