Friday, November 17, 2006

There's Something Familiar About This Place

The Bears go on the road this week to the Meadowlands, where they will take on the New York Jets. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say they stay on the road at the Meadowlands, as this will be the Bears' second consecutive game there. Week one went quite well against the Giants. Week two should as well. (I could point out here that the Redskins completed the Meadowlands sweep back in the 90's, but since I've read that 543 times this week, I'm guessing all of you know it already, as well).

The Jets are 5-4 this year, and are coming off a huge win over the New England Patriots. In fact, the Jets trail the Pats in their division by a single game. This is shocking for a team that nothing was expected from before the year started. But the truth is that the Jets haven't played that well. Prior to the New England game, the Jets had played terribly for a team with a .500 record. In fact, they've played more like the team they were expected to be, than a 5-4 playoff contender. Yes, in other words, THE JETS ARE WHO WE THOUGHT THEY WERE! (That's never going to get old). They're just wearing a disguise as a winning team.

The Jets offense has been average this year, and it should be mentioned, just slightly better than the Bears. They're balanced, in that they're pretty much league average in both the running and passing games. Chad Pennington has bounced back fairly well from his injuries. He's completed 63% of his passes for 1628 yards and 10 touchdowns. He's also turned the ball over 10 times. His favorite target is Laverneous Coles, who he has targeted 87 times, but his best receiver has been Jericho Cotchery. Cotchery has caught 67% of the 61 passes thrown his way for 531 yards and 4 touchdowns. The running game has been led by youngster Leon Washington, who has 432 yards on 95 runs, as well as two touchdowns. He is both efficient and consistent, but hasn't been used enough this year. In fact, Kevan Barlow has gotten more carries this season, though he is neither as consistent nor as efficient as Washington.

It's on defense where the Jets aren't nearly the team their record indicates. According to Football Outsiders' DVOA ranking, the Jets are the second worst defensive team in football, better only than the San Francisco 49ers. They're bad against the pass, and the worst team in football against the run by a pretty big margin. The way to attack the Jets through the air is by attacking their secondary with multiple wide receivers. The Jets struggle against wide outs 1,2, 3, or 4. So, it's nice that the Bears should have their full complement of receivers for the first time this year. Also, the Jets defensive line gives up a full .3 yards more per carry in Adjusted Line Yards than the next worst line in football. Thomas Jones brought his hard hat and lunch pail (hooray cheesy cliches!) to the Meadowlands last week, and he'll need it again this time around.

The bottom line is that the Bears' defense always limits opposing offenses, and the Jets defense shouldn't pose too much of a barrier for Chicago. If the Bears' coaches don't outsmart themselves, then they should be able to move the ball without putting too much pressure on Rex Grossman in a road game, and the Bears should cruise to a fairly easy win. Of course, the way the last few weeks have gone, that means the Bears will be run off the field. But I really don't see that happening this time around. Let's say Bears 23, Jets 14.

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Blogger Jeeves said...

hey...when/how'd you make the jump to beta?

9:32 PM  

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