The Chicago Bears and New York Jets will close out Week 3 of the 2014 NFL season with a matchup on “Monday Night Football.” The two teams are looking to get above .500, as they both enter the contest with a 1-1 record.
Chicago and New York were involved in the two largest comebacks of last week, though only one ended up on the winning side. The Bears outscored the 49ers 21-0 in the fourth quarter to steal a win in San Francisco, while the Jets blew a 21-3 lead to the Packers in Green Bay.
The two teams are very similar, entering the game at .500, following an 8-8 record last year. In 2014, though, Chicago and New York have played very different styles.
New York has relied on the running game, leading the NFL with 358 yards on the ground. Chris Ivory and Chris Johnson have split a bulk of the carries, but quarterback Geno Smith has added 17 rushes, as well. Smith has been accurate, completing 65 percent of his passes, but he leads a passing offense that ranks just 29th in the league.
The Bears have one of the NFL’s top rushers in Matt Forte, but the team has relied heavily on its passing attack. Forte has totaled just 103 yards on the ground, and Jay Cutler has led the way with 525 yards and six touchdown passes.
Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey lead one of the best receiving corps in football. Marshall, who’s tied for the league-lead with four touchdown receptions, has recently been involved in the domestic violence scandal surrounding the NFL. On Thursday, he discussed his history of domestic violence at a press conference, after famous attorney Gloria Allred held a news conference of her own to criticize the league for the way it handled and incident involving Marshall in 2007.
Marshall has turned his life around in the last few years and will be on the field at MetLife Stadium. He probably won’t have to worry about facing Jets cornerback Dee Milliner, who is likely to miss the contest with a high ankle sprain.
“Unless we feel great about it, he feels great and everything else, then we’re not going to put him there (for) 100% of the snaps,” New York head coach Rex Ryan told reporters. “He looked OK. But it’s a high ankle, it never looked 100%. But he looked OK.”
A hamstring injury forced Jets receiver Eric Decker to sit out part of New York’s Week 2 contest. Decker signed as a free agent with the Jets to be their top receiver, and scored his first touchdown with his new team in Green Bay. His status for Monday night is unknown.
If Decker plays, he definitely won’t have to worry about Bears cornerback Charles Tillman. The veteran went down for the season against the 49ers with a torn triceps.
The Las Vegas betting odds have the Jets favored for the second time in 2014, and the point spread has continued to move in their favor throughout the week. At the end of Week 2, they were giving the visiting Bears just one point. By Friday morning, the betting line has shifted to three points, with the over/under set at 45.5 total points.
Prediction: The Bears match up well with the Jets. New York has the best run defense in the league, but it won’t be easy for them to shut down Forte. Cutler and company should be able to take advantage of a weak Jets’ secondary, and Geno Smith still has yet to prove himself as a consistent passer. New York’s run game and defensive front will keep the game close, but the Bears have a slight advantage on the road.
Predicted Score: Chicago 24, New York 20