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Odds Favor Foles Beating Out Trubisky as Bears’ Starting QB

Eric Thompson

by Eric Thompson in NFL Football

Updated Mar 9, 2021 · 4:47 PM PST

Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky
Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky (10) passes in the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Brett Duke)
  • Nick Foles is favored to be the Chicago Bears’ Week 1 starter in 2020
  • Can Mitch Trubisky save his starting job?
  • See the odds plus analysis on the best value bet to start Chicago’s season opener

Chicago talk radio has a new debate topic to get them through the next several sports-less weeks: which mediocre white guy should be the team’s starting quarterback next year? (Well, I guess that topic isn’t that new in Chicago.)

After trading for Nick Foles yesterday, the question of whether the Super Bowl 52 MVP will immediately usurp Mitch Trubisky has been on everybody’s mind, including oddsmakers.

Bears 2020 Starting QB Odds

Quarterback Odds
Nick Foles -150
Mitch Trubisky +110

Odds taken March 19.

Which guy will get the job?

Do the Bears Have Any Confidence Left in Trubisky?

“We’d love for you to stay,” Bears brass are telling Trubisky, as they throw all his luggage on the driveway and order him an Uber.

Actions speak louder than words and the Foles trade shows the former second-overall pick that the team doesn’t trust him heading into this season. What’s even more worrying for Trubisky is that this could be his final season in Chicago as the team has been in no hurry to pick up his fifth-year option.

Trubisky could point to his 19-10 record as a starter over the last two seasons as reason he deserves to stick around, but everyone knows the underlying numbers are not great. He’s benefitted from a defense that allowed a scant 18.1 points per game over the last two seasons.

In 2018, the Bears’ offense ranked top 10 in points thanks to that D generating 36 takeaways, giving the offense plenty of short fields. When those turnovers went away, so did the effectiveness of Trubisky’s offense.

The drop in rushing numbers really hurt: it’s clear the most effective area of Trubisky’s game is when he makes plays with his feet. If he’s no longer willing or capable of doing that, there’s nothing that separates his game from the incoming Foles.

Will Foles Magic Last a Whole Season?

Foles has had an up and down career, flourishing under Chip Kelly, crashing back to earth under Jeff Fisher, and toiling away as a backup before becoming a legend in Philadelphia. Last season with the Jaguars looked to be off to a good start before an injury ruined everything.


Put all those stops together and Foles’ career numbers don’t look much different than Trubisky’s.

48 Games Started 41
88.5 Passer Rating 85.8
205.2 Passing yards per game 208.6
61.9% Completion % 63.4 %
6.9 Adjusted yards per attempt 6.4
4.2% TD % 3.8 %
2.1% INT % 2.3%

However, part of the reason the nine-year veteran hasn’t started more games is because of durability issues. Injuries closed out his first stint in Philly and ended his Jacksonville career before it even started. Foles has started double-digit games in a season just twice in his career and never started more than 11.

While it’s no secret he’s been magical in the playoffs, with a 98.8 passer rating and a 4-2 record in six starts, Foles seems to work best as a closer coming out of the bullpen, rather than a full-season starter.

How Much Exposure Will Foles Have to New Offense?

Though COVID-19 hasn’t stopped NFL front offices from getting business done, it does mean players have to stay away from team facilities. It also means OTAs are suspended indefinitely. It’s unclear how long this will last, but based on some estimates, Foles’ first chance to really work with offensive staff might not come until camp.

That puts the newcomer at a disadvantage, having to learn an entire offense in a few weeks. And it’s clearly a complicated system: Trubisky has been running it for two years and still has no idea how it works.

Will This Even Be a Competition?

The funniest development over the last few days are the rumors that the Bears have been looking to deal Trubisky, but shockingly, nobody wants him.

With so many better or equal options still on the market, it’s hard to see any Trubisky deals getting done before camps open up.

Who Will Start Week 1?

Taking the offense out of Trubisky’s hands and turning it over to Foles is Pandora’s box for the Bears: once they do it, they can’t go back to #10. And considering the Bears could’ve brought in better options for a QB competition, it does seem like they want to give Trubisky one last chance to prove he was worth the insane capital they gave up to get him.

I think there’s good value on Trubisky getting the nod in Week 1 next season. Week 7? Not so much.

Pick: Trubisky (+110)

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