Monday Night Football: Bears at Jets

Monday Night Football: Bears at Jets

Week 3 of the 2014 NFL season comes to a close in MetLife Stadium as the Chicago Bears pay a visit to New York/New Jersey to face the Jets. The Bears are riding high after scoring three touchdowns in the fourth quarter to shock the Niners. Meanwhile, the Jets are wiping egg from their faces after “timeoutgate” in Green Bay. The winner climbs into a tie for first in their respective division, loser falls into a tie for last place. The Jets are stout against the run, Bears can’t stop the run. Jets secondary is a mess, Bears strength is their pass catchers. Neither team has fared well under the Monday lights: Chicago is 24-36, Jets are 19-27, although both won their 2013 matchups. Here’s a preview and prediction.

CHICAGO AT NY JETS -2.5

The Bears enter the fray beat up on both sides of the ball. Charles Tillman was lost for the year with a triceps injury, five players are listed as OUT on the injury report, and Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery are considered questionable even though both are expected to start as they did a week ago. Matt forte was MIA against San Fran and will likely be so again if the Jets top-ranked run defense stands tall. Jay Cutler has been sharp with his throws to start the season and more importantly has been sacked only three times. However, the O-line will be without starters Roberto Garza and Matt Slauson, so an aggressive Jets front seven could be for a big night.

Geno Smith was good in Week 1. Not so much in Week 2. He’s accounted for three turnovers, but has been sacked only three times. He could be without Eric Decker, who is nursing a strained hamstring. With no one else of note catching passes, the offense will lean on the backfield duo of Chris Johnson and Chris Ivory, who spearhead the league’s best rushing attack. The Bears rank 30th against the run and won’t have linebacker Shea McClellin and tackle Jeremiah Ratliff. The game plan should be simple: remove the ball from Geno’s hands by pounding the rock, which in turn keeps Cutler and Co. on the sideline. Chicago still has an opportunistic defense — just as Colin Kaepernick.

Because both of these teams often resort to ugly, sloppy football to get wins, this will probably come down to which one makes the fewest mistakes. Of course, you can say that about every game. Nevertheless, Cutler must take advantage of a porous Jets secondary that was shredded by Aaron Rodgers. Marshall and Jeffery aren’t 100%, but even at 75% they will make plays down the field. The onus is on the ferocious Jets front seven to harass Cutler and force him into costly blunders. Chicago is 7-18-1 ATS in their last 26 overall. Jets are 4-2 ATS in their last six home games. Bears are more talented, but this feels like a Rex Ryan special.

Bet the Jets -2.5