Chicago (+3) at NY Jets (O/U 45.5) – The last time the Jets and Bears played was the day after Christmas in 2010 in Chicago. The Bears jumped to a 10-0 lead before trailing 24-17 at half. Jay Cutler would throw three third quarter touchdowns to lead Chicago to the win. While Cutler is still around in the windy city, the Jets’ quarterback that day was Mark Sanchez and we know how that worked out.
Now the Jets play host to the Bears in a week three match-up that’s of vital importance to both teams. Heading into the weekend, the entire NFC North was 1-1 but now the Bears will need a victory to keep pace with the Lions who defeated Green Bay yesterday. Minnesota lost in New Orleans.
For the Jets, they sit at 1-1 and now are behind the Pats and Bills who both 2-1.
The Bears enter with both of their top wideouts still banged up despite playing last week in San Francisco. They’ve also lost cornerback Charles Tillman for the season and will be without center Roberto Garza and guard Matt Slauson. Linebacker Shea McClellin and defensive lineman Jay Ratliff are also out.
New York doesn’t have nearly the issues the Bears do. Cornerback Dee Milliner is doubtful with an ankle and wide receiver Eric Decker is questionable with a hamstring.
Offensively the Jets rank 13th overall and first in rushing while the Bears rank 26th overall and ninth in passing. The glaring stat for each is the New York ranks 30th in passing while Chicago ranks 30th in rushing. In other words, this will be a battle of who can keep doing what they do best and who can do just a little better at what they do worst.
On defense, the Jets rank second in the league overall while the Bears are 21st. Both teams are obviously struggling in the secondary but the edge up front clearly goes to Gang Green. Can the Bears get enough out of Matt Forte to slow the pass rush of the Jets? Even if so, can they protect Cutler?
The Jets will look to establish the ground game early and often in effort to get the play-action game with Geno Smith going. If the Bears can make the Jets one-dimensional then that will go a long way towards their chances of winning .
Both teams will need to put last week deep in the past. The Bears made a fantastic comeback last week in defeating San Francisco on the road. As great as that win was, they have to move forward and focus on the task at hand. New York went into Green Bay and saw the Packers come back from a double-digit deficit on them only to seemingly tie the game but a timeout called by an assistant coach nixed that.
Like the Bears, they have to put the game behind them and focus on the present.
Trends: The Bears are 6-16-1 against the spread in their last 23 games… New York is 1-4-1 ATS in their last six games against the Bears… The total has gone OVER in nine of Chicago’s last 11 games on the road… The total has gone UNDER in seven of the last eight games in which they’ve played the Bears.
The Pick: Everything in my head points to a Jets’ victory considering the injuries to the Bears but I have a feeling that win last week will propel Chicago forward. Take them getting the points and take the OVER as well.