Indianapolis Colts cornerback Xavier Rhodes (27) intercept a pass intended for New York Jets receiver Lawrence Cager (86) in the first half of an NFL football game in Indianapolis, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich talks with quarterback Philip Rivers (17) in the first half of an NFL football game against the New York Jets in Indianapolis, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy watches play against the Atlanta Falcons during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Chicago Bears quarterback Nick Foles (9) works against the Atlanta Falcons during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
CHICAGO (AP) The Chicago Bears traded for Nick Foles in the offseason to push Mitchell Trubisky for their starting quarterback job.
The Super Bowl 52 MVP knocked him out of the No. 1 spot. Now, he has another chance to show he's more than just a reliable backup.
After coming in to lead a big comeback last week, Foles will make his first start for the unbeaten Bears when they host the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.
''We have a great locker room here,'' he said. ''We've had a crazy start to the season, but I've been around several locker rooms and this is a really special locker room.''
Acquired from Jacksonville in the offseason, Foles took over in the third quarter at Atlanta last week and threw three touchdowns in the fourth as Chicago wiped out a 16-point deficit to win 30-26.
He and the Bears (3-0) will be challenged by the NFL's No. 1 defense. The Colts (2-1) have won back-to-back games after beating Minnesota and the New York Jets.
Here are some things to know about the matchup:
The Bears matched their best start since 2013. They have a chance to go 4-0 for the first time since the 2006 Super Bowl team won its first seven.
As good as that sounds, they had to rally from 17 down in the fourth quarter to win the opener at Detroit. And they looked as if they were on their way to a loss at Atlanta before launching a big comeback. In between, they nearly blew a 17-point lead at home against the New York Giants.
On the plus side for the Bears, they are the first team with two wins in the same season after trailing by 16 or more in the fourth quarter, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Then again, their opponents are a combined 1-8.
The Colts entered Week 4 with the league's top overall defense and ranked among the top five against the run, against the pass, in sacks and in interceptions.
And Indy isn't just making plays - it's cashing in.
Cornerback Xavier Rhodes was the AFC's defensive player of the week after picking off two passes, returning one for a touchdown in last week's win over the New York Jets.
Cornerback T.J. Carrie also scored on an interception return against the Jets, marking the first time in nearly 50 years the Colts had two pick-6s in the same game.
Not enough? Indy also had a safety in each of its past two games, the first time that's happened since late in the 1960 season. The Colts have never had a safety in three successive games.
''The quarterback gets sped up with the pressure from the front four and when you're able to do that with the front four and then able to drop seven in the coverage, you can do a lot of different things with your coverages,'' defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus said.
''If you're able to do that, then you're able to - with the coverages, you're able to have the quarterback hold the ball a little bit, for an extra tick. That's really when you have good rushers on the edge and inside, that's what you're searching for.''
Coach Frank Reich goes into this week with a thin receiving group.
Parris Campbell, who was expected to play a key role in his second NFL season, had surgery on his injured left knee Wednesday and isn't expected to play. Rookie Michael Pittman Jr., Indy's top draft pick, had surgery to relieve pressure from an injury in his right calf and probably won't be available, either.
Without Campbell or Pittman, expect four-time Pro Bowler T.Y. Hilton, Zach Pascal and Daurice Fountain to catch more passes. Rookie Dezmon Patmon, a sixth-round draft pick, could make his NFL debut after being inactive the past three weeks and the Colts have three receivers - DeMichael Harris, Krishawn Hogan and Marcus Johnson on the practice squad.
Indy did get Pro Bowl tight end Jack Doyle back last week, though Philip Rivers didn't throw any passes to Doyle, and tight end Trey Burton returned to practice this week after spending the first three weeks on injured reserve.
Though the two teams haven't met since October 2016, when the Colts beat the Bears in Indianapolis, they know each other well.
Colts general manager Chris Ballard worked in the Bears' scouting department from 2001-12. ... Bears defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano was Indy's head coach from 2012-17.
Nagy was an assistant coach in Kansas City when Ballard was in the Chiefs' front office, and he said their oldest sons became best friends. Nagy added his wife also taught at the high school Reich attended, and Nagy coached there.
Reich was the Eagles' offensive coordinator when Foles helped them win the Super Bowl. And Burton spent the past two seasons in Chicago.
The Bears got little from their tight ends last season. That's changing with Jimmy Graham.
The five-time Pro Bowl pick already has three touchdown catches equaling his total for all of last season with Green Bay. He caught two scores last week, the first time he had more than one in a game since 2017 with Seattle.
Five Sleepers: Week 7
The Las Vegas Raiders defense has been statistically one of the worst defenses in the league this season. They are averaging under two fantasy points per game and face an ascending Buccaneers offense this week. Tom Brady is currently fourth in the league in passing touchdowns, and this Tampa Bay offense is ascending after hanging 31 offensive points on Green Bay in Week 6. The Raiders rank 27th in scoring defense and 24th in yards allowed. There is nothing to suggest they will have a good performance this week and should be kept on the bench or dropped entirely.
Las Vegas Raiders tight end Darren Waller has a tough test against the Buccaneers this week, but he should be able to produce a solid fantasy performance. Waller has been great at home this season, with 21 catches, 193 yards, and a touchdown in two games. The Buccaneers have one of the league's best defenses, but the Patriots are the only team to hold Waller under five catches so far this season. He currently ranks third in fantasy points per game among tight ends, and he leads the Raiders in targets. The Buccaneers rank sixth in the league against tight ends, but fantasy owners should feel comfortable starting him based on his performances so far this season.
Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III will have a tough matchup against a good Buccaneers secondary in Week 7. Ruggs had a breakout performance in his last game against the Chiefs, but his value rests with the deep ball at this time. That is not great news considering the Buccaneers are one of the best defenses against the deep ball, ranking third in the league in allowing receptions of over 20 yards. He was able to get loose in the Chiefs secondary with a 72-yard reception in the first half but caught just one other pass the rest of the game. Ruggs' big-play potential makes him a fringe flex option in deeper leagues, but don't expect a lot of targets for the rookie this week.
Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs will face one of the league's best run defenses this week in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Buccaneers are allowing just three yards per carry and rank second in the league in total rushing yards allowed. Jacobs is having a productive year and is certainly a must-start option, but he is averaging just 3.6 yards per carry on the season. Jacobs has just one game this season where he has rushed for over four yards per carry. With that being said, he is still seventh in points per game among running backs. It will not be an easy day for Jacobs, but fantasy owners should feel encouraged that he can put up a solid fantasy performance despite a difficult matchup.
Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr will have one of his most difficult tests of the year against a great Buccaneers Defense. The Buccaneers defense has allowed just seven passing touchdowns and have grabbed eight interceptions in their six games this season. Opposing quarterbacks have a passer rating of 82 against this Todd Bowles defense. They confused Aaron Rodgers and made him uncomfortable, so this will not be an easy day for Carr. With that being said, Carr has thrown for almost 600 passing yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions in two home games this season. The Raiders are coming off a bye, and Carr is having a career year. However, he is likely a bench option this week due to the matchup.
The New Orleans Saints Defense faces a middle-of-the-pack matchup against the Carolina Panthers in Week 7. It's a date with former Saint Teddy Bridgewater, who started five games for the team in 2019. New Orleans' defense is finally starting to get healthy after a rash of injuries, as they will get Janoris Jenkins (shoulder) back and essentially be at full strength. This unit may start to put together some good performances, starting with this week. They can be used as a starting option.
New Orleans Saints kicker Wil Lutz faces a favorable matchup in Week 7 against the Carolina Panthers. Lutz is perfect on the season, having made all nine field-goals and all 18 extra-points. Carolina ranks 22nd in fantasy points allowed to kickers, making this a juicy matchup for Lutz. Expect strong fantasy numbers from the 26-year-old.
New Orleans Saints tight end Jared Cook could see more opportunities in Week 7 against the Panthers. Cook had one of his better games against the Chargers, catching two passes for 52 yards and a score. New Orleans is down two of it's best pass-catchers- Michael Thomas (ankle, hamstring) and Emmanuel Sanders (COVID-19)- heading into the contest against the Panthers. The veteran tight end should see more targets, making him a good start as a TE1 in Week 7.
Seattle Seahawks RB Carlos Hyde (shoulder, toe) fully participated in practice Friday, Oct. 23, and is not on the injury report for Week 7.
Fantasy Spin: Hyde will serve as the backup for Chris Carson but should see a handful of touches during the game. Fantasy players should be able to find better options and can keep Hyde on the bench.
San Francisco 49ers RB Raheem Mostert (ankle) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 23, and has been ruled out for Week 7.
Fantasy Spin: Mostert is expected to miss multiple weeks because of the injury, so fantasy players should look for other options to use. Jerick McKinnon and JaMycal Hasty likely will share playing time while Mostert is sidelined. McKinnon probably has more fantasy value and can be a flex option in leagues. Hasty should be rostered in leagues and has a chance to be a flex option depending on the opponent.
Los Angeles Chargers WR Keenan Allen (back) fully participated in practice Friday, Oct. 23, and is not on the injury report for Week 7.
Fantasy Spin: Allen has been targeted at least eight times in four of the five games this season and seems to have a good connection with Justin Herbert. Allen can be considered a No. 1 or No. 2 receiver in fantasy leagues.
Arizona Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins (ankle) was limited during practice Friday, Oct. 23, and is listed as questionable for Week 7.
Fantasy Spin: Hopkins likely will be able to play despite the injury, but fantasy players will need to check the inactive list for his status. He is a must-start option in all leagues if he is active for the game.
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Tre'Quan Smith faces a tricky matchup in Week 7 against the Panthers. However, matchup concerns are alleviated by the fact that New Orleans will be without Michael Thomas (ankle, hamstring) and Emmanuel Sanders (COVID-19). Smith will be busy against a Panthers Defense that has surrendered the fourth-fewest fantasy points per game to wideouts. With a good chance of finding the end zone, Smith is looking like a high-end WR3 in Week 7, despite the matchup.
Kansas City Chiefs WR Sammy Watkins (hamstring) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 23, and has been ruled out for Week 7.
Fantasy Spin: Demarcus Robinson served as the No. 2 receiver for the Chiefs last week and probably will have a similar role this week. He can be a flex option or bye week replacement in fantasy leagues.
New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara gets an excellent matchup against the Panthers Defense. Kamara has offered fantasy managers the safest floor of any running back, particularly in PPR formats, as he's had at least 19 fantasy points in every game this season. He'll go up against a Panthers defense allowing the fourth-most fantasy points per game to opposing halfbacks. The Saints will probably go with a more run-heavy approach, seeing as their top-two wideouts- Michael Thomas (ankle, hamstring) and Emmanuel Sanders (COVID-19)- are out for the contest. Kamara is a must-start in redraft leagues and is well worth the price in DFS formats.
New Orleans Saints running back Latavius Murray has a favorable matchup in front of him against the Panthers in Week 7. Murray has had at least 13 touches in three of five contests this season, with two of those games coming against teams that struggle to stop the run. New Orleans will be without Michael Thomas (ankle, hamstring) and Emmanuel Sanders (COVID-19) against the Panthers' 24th-ranked run defense. Murray is a good bet for 12-15 touches in Week 7, putting him squarely in the flex discussion.
Los Angeles Rams WR Robert Woods (groin) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 23.
Fantasy Spin: Fantasy players will need to keep an eye on the situation to see if Woods will be able to play in Week 7. He can be a No. 2 or No. 3 receiver in fantasy leagues if he is cleared to play.
Los Angeles Rams TE Tyler Higbee (hand) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 23.
Fantasy Spin: Higbee probably will need to practice Saturday, Oct. 24, if he wants a chance to play in the Week 7 game. He is coming off his best game of the season and would see a few targets if he plays this week. He could be a low-end No. 1 tight end in some leagues.
Los Angeles Rams OT Andrew Whitworth (non-injury) and DT Aaron Donald (non-injury) fully participated in practice Friday, Oct. 23.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees faces the Panthers in Week 7. Brees will face a sneakily-good Carolina defense without his top two receivers, Michael Thomas (ankle, hamstring) and Emmanuel Sanders (COVID-19). Despite not having Thomas, Brees has thrown for at least 250 yards or two touchdowns in each game this season, giving fantasy managers a solid floor. The Panthers allow the fourth-fewest fantasy points per game to quarterbacks, limiting Brees' upside. However, he should be able to finish as a solid QB2 in Week 7.