Both the Chicago Bears and the New York Jets are heading into their Monday Night Football clash at 1-1, but with a different kind of momentum. The Bears pulled off a great come-from-behind win in week 2 after trailing by 17 points in the fourth quarter, while the Jets managed to lose an 18 point lead with a colossal collapse at the end of the first half, carrying on later.
However, despite the Bears pulling off a great win on the road against the San Francisco 49ers, not all is great in the land. Before we get to the injuries, Marc Trestman is worried about the running game after Matt Forte was held to just 21 yards on 12 carries against the 49ers. It won’t be any easier against the Jets, who allow just 52.5 yards per game and 2.8 yards per carry on the ground, while holding a frightening rushing attack themselves.
The Bears give up over 160 yards per game to the ground game, and the Jets are focusing on that through Chris Johnson (89 yards on 25 carries) and Chris Ivory (145 yards, 23 carries, two touchdowns). They’re averaging 179 rushing yards per game, which means the Bears, who have been consistently bad against the run for almost two full seasons now, need to find an answer by changing something in the way they’ve handled offensive lines so far.
And there are the injuries. Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery are still not 100%, although it didn’t stop Marshall from catching two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter against the Niners. Roberto Garza and Matt Slauson are out in the offensive line, while Charles Tillman, Jeremiah Ratliff and Chris Conte make it a headache on the defensive end. The Bears had Kyle Fuller and Wille Young step up against San Francisco, and will need that kind of performance again.
The Jets aren’t as dangerous on offense as the Niners of course. Geno Smith has his moments, but always seems to be one mistake away from completely phasing himself out of the game. Rex Ryan is going heavy on the run for a reason. Michael Vick still isn’t getting the chance to show what he’s got at this stage of his career, but if Smith has another game like the second half he had against the Packers, he won’t be staying as the starter for long.
A big addition an help to Smith might be the return of Eric Decker, who left early in the previous game against the Packers, He is still questionable, but should be available for Smith, who isn’t exactly capable of leading an offense right now without major help from wide receivers.
A tricky game, especially because of how unpredictable Jay Cutler can be. The Jet aren’t confident even with a big lead, and if they can force Cutler into bad decisions and an interception or two, their running game and run-defense should do the rest.