No. 2: Jaire Alexander vs. D.J. Moore
Trading for D.J. Moore was a complete game-changer for a Chicago offense that had been lacking a true top receiver. Moore takes the pressure off the rest of the offense. Fields finally has a top receiver he can trust to win routes against man coverage, other receivers get less attention from defenses, leading to more favorable matchups, and a receiving core that can get open quickly means the offense line won’t have to hold blocks for as long.
With that said, Moore doesn’t exactly have an easy matchup this week. On the other side is Pro Bowl corner Jaire Alexander. Though a predominantly zone coverage corner, Alexander is sticky in man coverage and can hold his own with almost any receiver one-on-one.
How pivotal this matchup is comes down to what the Packers decide to do defensively. Joe Barry may have a penchant for zone coverage, but the Bears offense was much worse against man coverage a year ago. Even if the addition of Moore was meant to make the team better equipped to deal with Cover 1 looks, making Fields throw into tight windows could be beneficial.
If the Packers keep a heavy zone look for most of the game, the Bears can have Moore run routes away from Alexander, making the matchup less significant. But no matter what the Packers do schematically, they are going to do everything they can to limit Moore, and that starts with their star corner.
The Bears are expecting big things from Moore, and Week 1 proves to be the ultimate test. If he can have success against Alexander and the Packers' secondary, he can do it against anyone. A subpar performance, on the other hand, would put extra pressure on his quarterback.