The celebration of the NFC North championship is over and it’s time to get back to business. The New York Jets are coming to town with their playoff lives at stake while the Bears still have plenty to play for too. They’re still trying to get a first round playoff bye, so it will be imperative not to take their foot off the gas. Here are my Keys to the Game following the jump.
The Bears are not built for mounting big comebacks. The Jets and their defense get a hell of a lot more scary when they’re playing with a lead and can dial up the pass rush. The Bears have started sluggishly the last couple of weeks, splitting their games with New England and Minnesota. I’ve got news for you – the Jets are a lot better than the Vikings. The Bears can’t afford to spot them a quarter of the game, so come out ready to go.
Don’t Get Shipwrecked on Revis Island
The Jets boast an elite cornerback in Darrelle Revis. Jay Cutler has a tendency to throw the ball to the wrong team from time to time. Sunday is not the time. Usually Revis matches up against the opponents’ #1 wide receiver. The good news for the Bears is that we really don’t have one, so I’ll be interested to see who he matches up with. Maybe Knox? How about Bennett? Hester? Regardless of who Revis ends up covering, don’t let him beat you.
It looks like Mark Sanchez and his bum shoulder are going to give it a go on Sunday. Sanchez needs to leave Soldier Field with a dirty uniform. Create havoc up front and force him to make mistakes. He can’t wing it like Cutler, so crowd the line and don’t allow all the underneath junk that Tom Brady and Wes Welker flourished with a couple of weeks ago.
Return to Glory
Jets coach Rex Ryan assured the media that the Jets won’t be punting the ball to Devin Hester. No problem – PUT HIM ON KICKOFFS TOO. Hester is “in the zone” and needs to be on every return, offense be damned. He’s the best there’s ever been, so give him as many chances as possible.
It looks like it could be another cold, snowy day at Soldier Field. The Jets come in with a lot to play for, but their offense plays right into the Bears’ hands. Bears shut down the Jets’ ground game and Sanchez will give a couple away. Jay Cutler has been steadily improving and if he doesn’t give up costly turnovers, the Bears win another sloppy game. Bears 19, Jets 13