The Bears have a brilliant opportunity to enter the bye at 4-1 and set the stage for a big season. They can’t lose Sunday and they won’t.
WHY DO I LIKE THE CHICAGO BEARS THIS WEEK?
- I always like the Chicago Bears.
THE OPPONENT: STATISTICS OF NOTE
- Jacksonville has the league’s worst offense in terms of yardage gained and the second-worst offense in terms of points scored.
- They have the 26th ranked defense in terms of yardage allowed and the 21st in terms of points allowed.
- Even on an offense that bad, the great Maurice Jones-Drew is averaging 4.9 yards a carry.
- Jeremy Mincey (above), a defensive end the Bears tried to acquire this off-season, has been held without a sack through four games.
- This is an opponent tailor made for the Bears. They have registered only two quarterback sacks on the year while surrendering twelve. If Mel Tucker has to be creative (blitzes) to try and hit Cutler, he’ll end up leaving the middle of the field wide open.
- I see one flaw in the Bears defense: guarding the slot receiver on the go (9) routes. Chris Conte seems a bit slow to the ball and both Gibson (Rams) and Bryant (Cowboys) exploited the Bears secondary from that position.
- After giving MJD only 13 carries against the Bengals last week, head coach Mike Mularkey expressed regret. I expect 25-30 for the back.
- If you read this site regularly you know how big a fan I am of Justin Blackmon. I think he can be one of the best receivers in the sport and his physicality will be a challenge for Jennings, Tillman or whomever is lined up across from him.
- Blaine Gabbert is a dump off machine, especially to MJD, Greg Jones and tight end Marcedes Lewis. Mularkey’s offenses want to dink and dunk you to death and I don’t see that approach working against this ferocious Bears defense.
- I expect their performance in Dallas will give the Bears offensive line a tremendous confidence boost. That especially goes for J’Marcus Webb, who looked technically sound Monday night. I expect protection to be solid this week.
- And when protection is solid I think the Bears can throw the ball on anybody in the league. I think the Bears will do just enough in the run game to keep the Jaguars safeties honest and attack them successfully on the outside. I think this passing game is going to look its best Sunday.
- Survive: Brian Urlacher. I wrote about it Wednesday. You can read that piece by CLICKING HERE.
- Thrive: Brandon Marshall. I choose to believe Marshall’s Monday night outing was a coming out party and he’ll salivate at the site of AJ Green shredding the Jaguars secondary. I expect Marshall to dominate.
BOLD STATISTICAL PREDICTIONS
- Maurice Jones-Drew will be held to 77 yards rushing.
- Adam Podlesh will average over 46 yards per punt against his former franchise.
- The average starting field position for the Jaguars will be their own 17 yard line.
If the Bears had a tough game next week I would subscribe to the trap game theory. But knowing they have a week off will allow the Jaguars to hold their focus. I just can’t see the Jags scoring very much on what is currently the best defense in the league.
Chicago Bears 30, Jacksonville Jaguars 10