Monday, September 22, 2014

Week 3 Preview: Bears at Jets

Photo courtesy of Getty Images
Bears: C Robert Garza (ankle), LB Shea McClellin (hand), CB Sherrick McManis (quadricep), NT Jeremiah Ratliff (concussion), G Matt Slauson (ankle)

Jets: None

Bears: DE Trevor Scott (foot)

Jets: CB Dee Milliner (ankle)

Bears: WR Alshon Jeffery (hamstring), WR Brandon Marshall (ankle)

Jets: WR Eric Decker (hamstring)

Bears: DE Jared Allen (back), S Chris Conte (shoulder), WR Josh Morgan (groin)

Jets: LB Nick Bellore (hip), DB Josh Bush (quadricep), G Willie Colon (calf), LB Quinton Coples (elbow), LB A.J. Edds (hamstring), RB Chris Johnson (ankle), C Nick Mangold (shoulder)

After last week's performance, I don't know if I can bring myself to watch the Jets play tonight. Their loss to the Packers was an amazing microcosm of the Jets as a franchise. First, we got some false hope, with the early 21-3 lead. Then, everyone in the world could sense that the game was beginning to slip away for Gang Green, but all fans still forced themselves to believe that they'd slow down Aaron Rodgers and the Packers enough to pull out a close victory.

But then the Packers took the lead. Oh no...

Whatever, there was still 5:45 left in the third quarter. There was a lot of time remaining for the Jets to revert back to their first half form and snatch the game back from the jaws of defeat.

The false hope was heightened with 5 minutes left in the fourth quarter when Geno Smith hit Jeremy Kerley on a 37 yard touchdown bomb on fourth down. Naturally, as the Jets always do, they shot themselves in the foot by calling a timeout just before the play.

Same Old Jets.

This week, they look to bounce back against yet another NFC North foe, the Chicago Bears. The Bears are one of the teams in the NFL that are best set up to exploit the Jets' biggest weakness: the secondary. Watching Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall win deep jump balls against Antonio Allen and Darrin Walls like those cornerbacks are the size of Earl Boykins is going to be rather difficult.

But, I still see the Jets making up for that disadvantage in other areas. As we know already, Muhammad Wilkerson (when he isn't punching Josh Sitton in the helmet), Sheldon Richardson, and Damon Harrison terrorize running backs weekly, so Matt Forte won't get much going on the ground. That should make them pretty one dimensional offensively. In response, Rex Ryan will call quite a few blitzes to put pressure on Jay Cutler early and often. Without both their center, Roberto Garza, and former Jet guard Matt Slauson, it will be very difficult to stop the 5+ man rushes.

The Jets offense has looked good so far this season, and it should look even better this week. I liked the Bears' pass defense in the preseason, but now that Charles Tillman has been ruled out for the year, and Chicago will be without another top corner, Sherrick McManis, I don't have too much faith in them to stop the Jets through the air, especially if Eric Decker is able to start. Geno Smith has looked good thus far, and the short passing game early should open up opportunities to attack Chicago downfield later on.

In what should be a very competitive game, I think the Jets will sneak out a close victory.

Bold and Unnecessary Predictions That I'm Making Anyway

  • Chris Johnson will rush for 78 yards and 1 TD. He'll break at least one huge play against the Bears' poor run defense. 
  • Jay Cutler will be sacked 4 times. He's missing two offensive lineman. Uh-oh. 
Bears (+2.5) over JETS. 

Jets 21, Bears 20. 

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