In the AFC South division other than the Texans at 4-0, every other team has a losing record, so the Jacksonville Jaguars at 1-3, don't promise much competition for the Chicago Bears at 3-1 as 4 1/2-point favorites. This should be an easy spread to beat because the Bears with one of the better offensive and defensive teams has shut down the run and forced several turnovers will face the league's worst offense.
Last week, the Bears who beat the Dallas Cowboys 34-18 on the road Monday night, will take their 27.0 point avg . of 307.5 yards, (26th n the NFL) with only 206.5 yds. in the air (25th), and 101 yds. rushing (16th). Tied with Minnesota for the lead in the NFC North, Chicago and the Green Bay Packers at 2-2, have been the real surprises. Marshall has been a great addition to DE Julius Peppers, WR Devin Hester (who Cutler just remembered was on his team last week) and QB Jay Cutler but the team has had inconsistencies, injuries, and the decision making (especially by Cutler) as their weaknesses. The real test for the Bears is making it through the season and overcoming their weaknesses to get to the play-offs.
Jacksonville has a ton of weaknesses, although the Jag's defense is better than their offense. The offensive line has been in a state of turmoil, and their only true playmaker, 38 day hold out RB Maurice Jones-Drew who was snubbed in his deal has helped them not bring up the rear in the NFL in one stat with 108 rushing yards average. QB Blaine Gabbert was sacked six times in their last game, and contributed to the average total of 15.5 points and 254.2 total yards to put the team at 31st in passing for the young season. Rookie WR Justin Blackmon has been one of the least efficient receivers in football. The only shining point this season was when Gabbert connected with WR Cecil Shorts on a 80 -yard TD pass to beat the Indianapolis Colts 22-17 with 45 seconds left.
Not since the Jaguars season opener at Minnesota, has the defense had a sack, and it was only two then. Even in their 27-10 loss to Cincinnati, with their blitzes on Cincinnati's QB Andy Dalton who threw two TD's and ran for another, they still didn't get a sack. On the other end of the spectrum are the league leading Bears that have forced 14 turnovers in the first four games.
Jaguars' first year Head Coach Mike Mularkey will be hard pressed to mount a solid game. The Bears who have had their own troubles protecting Cutler (7 sacks in one game along with 4 interceptions) and Cutler being questionable in his health and throwing, it could be interesting. However, if Head Coach Lovie Smith's Bears hope to do well in the play-offs ala 2006, Jacksonville will be a good indicator of whether they can play consistently well and come away with an impressive win.