By Chris Halper
#1 Ranked NFC Chicago Bears return back to the Meadowlands for the 2nd time in as many weeks to take on the Jets who are coming off a "gift win against the Patriots.
The Patriots failed to change much of the game plan from last year, which Mike Mangini knows all to well. The Jets moved within 1 game with the win over the Patriots and are hoping to capitalize on the Bears roller-coaster offence. This coming week the Patriots play the Packers in "Lame-bow" and the Jets play the Bears at the Meadowlands in the "reverse rival" week. Oddly enough, the Patriots are pulling for the Bears and the Jets are pulling for the Packers. That will once again reverse next week and in 3 weeks again when the Bears play the Patriots and the Packers host the Jets.
This all sounds confusing im sure, but the east coast visit is in full swing and the Bears are looking to hold the NFL's respect as the best in the NFC. The Jets are "middle man" on the ladder of NFL ranks, and are playing as expected. With the exception of the Browns, Miami and the Patriots, the Jets are beating the bad teams and losing to the good teams. Interesting enough, the Jets beat the Dolphins which is the only team the Bears have lost to. Im fairly certain you cant put much stock into that fact, since the Jets nearly blew the game in the 4th quarter.
Its obvious that the Jets are just a bad team
and have been injury prone for a few years now. Chad Pennington will start just his 13th game in the last 2 years. He has started all the games this year and only 3 last year. The biggest problem for the QB is that his is a "sack magnet". He has been slapped to the floor 20 times in 9 games. Not the leagues most by a long shot. The Raiders' Andrew Walter has that honor with 40 sacks. Compare that to the leagues least sacked QB's (Grossman-11, Farve-11, and P.Manning-10) and thats seems to be a big issue for the Jets O-line with the Bears coming to town. The Bears are tied for 7th in the NFL with 23 team sacks and the Jets have 17 which is among the leagues lowest. The Bears should have no trouble keeping Rex Grossman safe from the sacks, but the Jets secondary is were Grossman will need to be cautious. The Jets have 11 interceptions and the Bears are only a few ahead with 13 (tied for 2nd in the NFL).
The Bears have given up 100+ rushing yards 4 times this year against Green Bay-111-yards, and in every game since the bye week. 49ers-111-yards, Miami-157-yards, Giants-141-yards. This is a bad trend and one that the Jets will try capitalize on to improve their lack luster running game. The Bears still are better at stoping the run then the Jets so expect allot of rushing yards from both teams.
It is also worth mentioning that the Jets are among the least penalized teams in the NFL, but that's the end of the statistics which seem to be close between these 2 clubs. The Bears dominate the rest of the statistics on both sides of the ball, and on special teams the Bears are "warp years" ahead.