The Chicago Bears continue their run against the AFC East as the New York Jets roll into town. We preview the Bears vs Jets with The Jet Press.
The 3-3 Chicago Bears find themselves in sort of a must-win game on Sunday as the 3-4 New York Jets head to Soldier Field for a Week 8 showdown. The Bears season has been a bit of a roller coaster, but this is the time of the schedule where the Bears need to be on an ascent with winnable games against the Jets and Buffalo Bills lined up. It would be great to get to 5-3 before the Bears start into the meaty part of their schedule loaded with division games and fraught with peril.
The Jets come into town really banged up, so that should help a Bears team that’s dealing with a few key injuries of their own. The Bears defense has been torched the last couple of weeks, ever since Khalil Mack injured his ankle. I thought this was a top-5 unit BEFORE they pulled off that big trade. I think the Bears need to rest Mack and get him right before the string of division games starts in three weeks. If they can’t win this game and the next one without Mack, it’s time to reconsider the Bears as playoff contenders.
On the offensive side of the ball, we’ve seen progress from Trubisky, but there are still opportunities that he’s missing. It would be nice to get Jordan Howard and the ground game going. I’d like to see if there’s any hope for Kevin White to build on his effort last week and step up while Allen Robinson is nursing a sore groin.
1. Have you been happy with how Sam Darnold has been coming along so far? What are his strengths and what are his weaknesses that the Bears might be able to exploit?
So far, Darnold has been one of the most consistent bright spots so far this season. He hasn’t been perfect but the growing pains are already happening which is good for his continued development. He’s been a pretty good quarterback for the most part as now the Jets have to start building a quality team around him come next offseason.
Darnold’s strengths are making plays on the run and quick passes for big gains. His weaknesses are sometimes trying to force plays in (hence his three-interception day last week) the heat of the moment and trying to do too much on a broken play.
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2. It’s a tough break losing Bilal Powell for the season. Who picks up the slack on Sunday? Can the Jets be the first team to score a rushing touchdown against the Bears this season?
Keep an eye on Trent Cannon, who has ridiculous speed, and Crowell who will likely pick up the slack. It’s hard to predict if the Jets can be “the team” to do that but there is a strong chance they might. The Jets are known to get into the red zone and punch it in on the ground, even if it’s Darnold himself when a few yards away from the goal line.
3. The Bears come in averaging 28.3 PPG. How do you think the Jets defense plans to attack Mitch Trubisky and the Bears offense to slow them down? Will the Bears finally be able to get their running game – and specifically Jordan Howard – going on Sunday?
The Jets lack a consistent pass rush but if they’re to beat the Bears, it will be by a strong effort by their defensive secondary. The Jets are decent at stopping the run so be prepared for the Bears running game to once again not do much damage.
4. Please give me an under the radar Jets player on each side of the ball who Bears fans might not know but will have an impact on Sunday’s result.
On offense, keep an eye on recently signed Rishard Matthews, he was just picked up so he’ll likely be used a lot due to so many injuries to the Jets receiving corps. On defense, linebacker Avery Williamson has been making some serious noise this season. He’s been calling the plays on defense and will likely be involved in a lot of plays come Sunday.
5. What’s your prediction for Sunday? Please include a brief synopsis and a final score.
Jets lose a close game by a field goal, as this will be a low-scoring defensive kind of game as both offenses will struggle in this one. The Jets will get close but lose on the road, 24-21.
A big thanks to Luis for his help fielding our questions this week. Be sure to head over to The Jet Press to get more insight from behind enemy lines for this Week 8 matchup.