The Chicago Bears and New York Jets will go head-to-head for only the 11th time ever this Monday night at 7:30 p.m. CT. The Bears lead the all-time series 7-3.
The Bears hold an 11-3 record since 2006 on Monday Night Football. The Jets (1-1) and Bears (1-1) have only met one time ever in primetime, coming on Monday night at Soldier Field in 1991.
The last meeting between these two teams came in 2010, when the Bears won in Week 17 prior to advancing to the NFC Championship. The Bears have won 3 straight against the Jets and hold a 3-1 record vs. the Jets on the road.
Lance Briggs, Tim Jennings, Matt Forte, Cutler are the four active starters remaining from that Bears and Jets meeting in 2010.
New York features NFL’s top run offense with Chris Johnson and Chris Ivory splitting time as well as the top run defense with Muhammad Wilkerson leading the way.
Bears quarterback Jay Cutler leads all NFL quarterbacks with 57 completions and is tied with five-time MVP Peyton Manning for the most touchdown passes with six through two games.
Both teams have key injuries heading into this primetime matchup, but the Bears have some recent additions to the injury report. That doesn’t bode well for the Bears, who are looking to earn their second win of the season before hosting division rival Green Bay in Week Four.
Geno Smith has taken the next step in his second season as he’s posted an 81 QB rating and a solid 65 completion percentage. However, he has two passing touchdowns compared to two interceptions and lost one fumble.
The Jets offense still covers up some of Geno’s faults especially in their run blocking scheme. Johnson and Ivory take the pressure off Smith. Smith averages 32 rushing yards per game and has one rushing touchdown this season.
The read-option has worked for the Jets since Smith came to town last season and it should work again for Rex Ryan and Co. against the Bears, who are still figuring out their defensive identity.
New York’s rookie tight Jace Amaro has been quiet so far this season with only three receptions, but the 6-foot-6 target could be looked at often in red zone situations.
The Bears’ offensive line is beaten up and now their defensive line is as well with Jeremiah Ratliff out with a concussion. The season-ending loss of Charles Tillman to a triceps injury won’t come into play much in this one because the Jets aren’t a deep ball team, but Smith could attack Kyle Fuller more often than not.
What the Bears are thinking
The Bears have done a great job despite battling through a slew of injuries right out of the gate. The loss of Shea McClellin (hand) isn’t as bad as it seems. Jon Bostic will start next to Briggs and D.J. Williams, with Khaseem Greene likely to be active for the first time this season. McClellin was starting to progress, so it’s isn’t good from that point of view.
With Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery likely to play despite the questionable tags that could be a nightmare for Jets starting cornerbacks Antonio Allen and Darrin Walls, who have been mediocre to say the least this season.
Allen, a linebacker at South Carolina with Jeffery came into the league with the Jets as a safety, but he’s now converted to cornerback in his third season.
“He’s a ball hawk. If the ball is in the area, he’s going to get it,” Allen said about Jeffery to Newsday on Friday. “Then again, he’s lazy sometimes. He lacks footspeed. But he’s still a baller, and he still can make plays at the end of the day.”
Jeffery responded via Tribune’s Rich Campebell on Saturday by saying, “All I gotta say is we’ll see him Monday night.”
The Bears need their offense to score plenty against this Jets defense who makes a living off of wearing down opposing defenses.
A look ahead
The Bears will play on the road in three of their next four games before welcoming Miami to Soldier Field and traveling to New England prior to a Week Nine bye.
Bears – OUT: Roberto Garza (ankle), Shea McClellin (hand), Sherrick McManis (quadriceps), Jeremiah Ratliff (concussion), Matt Slauson (ankle); DOUBTFUL: Trevor Scott (foot); QUESTIONABLE: Brandon Marshall (ankle), Alshon Jeffery (hamstring); PROBABLE: Jared Allen (back), Chris Conte (shoulder), Josh Morgan (groin).
—The Bears will be without four starters, offensive linemen Slauson and Garza and defenders Ratliff and McClellin. Ratliff’s absence will hurt the Bears containment up front. Rookies Ego Ferguson and Will Sutton will be in on plenty of more snaps next to Stephen Paea.
—With Scott likely out, David Bass should be active as a rotational defensive end for the first time this season. Receivers Marshall and Jeffery practiced on a limited basis on Saturday and are both expected to start once again despite their respective injuries.
—Conte will start after recording his second interception of the season in last week’s win, while Morgan returns to the mix at receiver after sitting out last week.
Jets- DOUBTFUL: Dee Milliner (ankle/quad); QUESTIONABLE: Eric Decker (hamstring).
—Decker got in a limited session for the first time all week on Saturday and is on track to suit up on Monday night. He is questionable, but expect the Jets top target to play through pain.
—Milliner suffered a setback during the week with his quad and hasn’t practiced the last two days. He isn’t expected to play, so Allen and Walls will be the Jets starting cornerbacks on Monday night.
Bears 27, Jets 17
This is a good matchup for both teams, who failed to put in a consistent four quarter effort in Week Two. I think the Bears will outlast the Jets because Cutler and the offense is a much more talented group.
Season predictions (0-2).
Partly cloudy in the evening, then becoming clear. Lows around 50.
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