The New York Jets and Chicago Bears have yet to face any of their division rivals in the 2014 NFL season, but their matchup on “Monday Night Football” will make a big difference in the early standings. With both teams entering the contest at 1-1, the winning team will end Week 3 tied for first place, while the loser will have a share of last place in its division.
Geno Smith led the Jets to a win in the opener and almost helped his team upset the Green Bay Packers on the road in Week 2. However, he struggled in the second half, and New York fell short by a touchdown.
Through two games in 2014, Smith has shown improvement in his second year. His completion percentage has risen from 55.8 percent to 65 percent, and his quarterback rating has increased significantly. After committing 25 turnovers in 2013, Smith still needs to get better in that area, throwing two interceptions and losing one fumble.
"I think you never dismiss them, but sometimes those things happen," Jets coach Rex Ryan told reporters. "The thing I have been proud of is his presence in the pocket, the way he puts the ball on his front shoulder when he moves, all of those types of things and trying to make good decisions with the football. And for the most part, he has."
Smith could have trouble with a Chicago defense that's good at forcing turnovers. Even though the Bears have played one less game than every other team, they rank sixth in the NFL with five takeaways.
The quarterback could be without his top option, as wide receiver Eric Decker will be a game-time decision with a hamstring injury. New York cornerback Dee Milliner is likely out because of hamstring and quad issues.
The Chicago Bears’ top two receivers are listed as questionable on the injury report, but Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey are expected to play. They’ve combined for 21 catches and four touchdown receptions so far this year.
Four Chicago players have over 100 yards receiving through two games, including running back Matt Forte and tight end Martellus Bennett. Jay Cutler is tied for fourth in the league with six touchdown passes.
Start Time: 8:30 p.m. EST
TV Channel: ESPN
Live Online Stream Info: WatchESPN
Point Spread: Jets by 2.5 points
Over/Under: 45 points
Prediction: Chicago 24, New York 20