Chicago Bears at New York Jets 9/22/14 NFL Pick, Odds, Prediction
Chicago Bears (1-1) at New York Jets (1-1)
NFL Football: Monday, September 22, 2014 at 8:30 pm (MetLife Stadium)
The Line: New York Jets -2.5 -- Over/Under: 45 See the Latest Odds
The New York Jets host the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football on ESPN in week three.
The Chicago Bears pulled off arguably the most stunning win of week two to improve to 1-1 on the year as they defeated the 49ers on the road 28-20, scoring three touchdowns in the fourth quarter and leveraging a surprisingly effective effort from an injury-plagued defense. Quarterback Jay Cutler made numerous big plays despite WR’s Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey playing at less than 100%, completing 23/34 passes for 176 yards and four touchdowns. Tight end Martellus Bennett led the team in receptions with seven for 37 yards and if not for a couple fluky calls going against him it would have been an even better day on the stat sheet. Matt Forte couldn’t duplicate his big opening week performance against the Bills but that was somewhat expected against the Niners defense.
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Forte could have trouble finding room to run once again as the Jets boast the league’s top rushing defense. The Jets are more vulnerable through the air but with Bears receivers Marshall and Jeffrey not actively participating in practices this week there’s not much room for optimism on the offensive end. Making matters worse for the Bears is the fact Chris Tillman is out at corner and Chris Conte likely won’t play at safety in addition some injuries in the front four.
The New York Jets also enter this contest at 1-1 after handling the Raiders in week one and nearly pulling off the upset of the Packers in Green Bay in week two but folding late while becoming stagnant on offense. The Jets seem to be back to their roots of ground and pound under head coach Rex Ryan with the top rushing attack and top run-stopping unit which suits the personnel the Jets have on their roster. Quarterback Geno Smith is a work in progress with plenty of potential but last week wasn’t nearly as sharp as week one as Smith completed just 50% of his passes with one TD and one interception. Eric Decker is the team’s top receiver but his status for this game is in doubt due to a hamstring injury which puts pressure on some less-than-household names to produce.
The Jets figure to feed running backs Chris Ivory and Chris Johnson with plenty of carries in this contest with the Jets coaching staff seemingly giving Smith a limited downfield playbook at this stage of the season. That gameplan could change with the injuries in the Bears secondary, but a conservative brand of football seems to be working for the most part in New York so I really don’t see it changing just yet.
Neither team is at full strength here so my lean is to the visitors given that the Jets aren’t to be trusted just yet as a favorite and the Bears have the better QB leading their team even though I’m not a big Cutler fan especially playing against a strong defense.