Bears-Jaguars Snapshot

<B>KICKOFF:</B> Sunday, 12:00 CT <BR><B> GAMEDATE:</B> 12/12/04<BR><B> SURFACE:</B> Grass <BR><B> TV:</B> FOX, Ron Pitts, Tim Ryan; DirecTV, 707<BR><B> SERIES:</B> The Bears have won two of three previous meetings with the Jaguars since Jacksonville joined the NFL in 1995.

The brief history between Chicago and Jacksonville has featured high-scoring contests in which the two teams combined for at least 46 points while averaging 50.3 per game. The Bears have scored more than 30 points in each of their wins over the Jaguars and have outscored Jacksonville 86-64 overall.

Bears: offense 32nd (19th rush, 31st pass); defense 17th (27th rush, 11th pass).

Jaguars: offense 13th (15th rush, 15th pass); defense 13th (11th rush, 19th pass)

The Bears' defense is only getting stronger as it gets healthier, so the Jaguars must make the most of their opportunities. Jacksonville has just one touchdown in nine red-zone possessions the past two games, in large part because RB Fred Taylor has failed to produce in short-yardage situations. Chicago also intercepted three passes inside its own 20-yard line last Sunday, so Jaguars QB Byron Leftwich needs to be careful with the ball. Chicago's offense has received a boost from QB Chad Hutchinson's strong arm, which helps the Bears stretch the field and opens running lanes for RB Thomas Jones. The Jaguars stop the run well, but have forced just 14 turnovers so Hutchinson likely will be allowed to take several shots downfield.

Bears: Lead the series 2-1. ... Only three teams since 1990 have reached the playoffs after having a 5-7 record.

Jaguars: Are 6-3 in games decided by seven points or less. ... Taylor has averaged 144.8 rushing yards in his past five games against NFC teams.

Home Field Advantage?
The Jaguars' game against Pittsburgh Sunday night attracted the largest cable TV audience of the season and was watched by almost half the viewers in Jacksonville.

But it wasn't enough to Jacksonville convince fans to buy tickets to see the 6-6 Jaguars play the 5-7 Chicago Bears Sunday.

The Jaguars made it official Thursday that the will be blacked out on television in Jacksonville and the secondary markets.

With 6,000 non-premium tickets still unsold at the deadline 72 hours before the 1 p.m. kickoff Sunday, the Jaguars declined to asked for an extension and blacked the game out.

They have now blacked out 12 of their last 16 regular season home games dating back to the home finale in 2002.

Since the final home game against Houston on Dec. 26 will likely be blacked out, it'll be the second consecutive year in which six of the eight regular season home games will be blacked out.

That's why the team will cover up 10,000 to 15,000 seats starting next year to avoid blackouts.

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