Behind Enemy Lines: Part III

Our Scout.com experts, John Crist of Bear Report and Charlie Bernstein of JagNation.com, go Behind Enemy Lines to take a closer look at Sunday's Week 14 matchup between the Bears and Jaguars at Soldier Field. Let's finish this three-part series with some matchups to watch and final predictions.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH: BEARS OFFENSE VS. JAGUARS DEFENSE
C Olin Kreutz vs. DT John Henderson:
Henderson hasn't been the unstoppable force that he was earlier in his career, and if he doesn't win the interior battles at the line of scrimmage, Matt Forte and the Bears running game will have a huge day.

OT John St. Clair vs. DEs Reggie Hayward and Derrick Harvey: St. Clair was little more than a backup and emergency starter last season, but he was forced into the starting lineup after first-round draft pick Chris Williams went down in training camp with a bad back. The veteran St. Clair has played pretty well for the most part this year, although he was exposed by Pro Bowler Jared Allen last week in Minnesota and got beat for three sacks. While neither Hayward nor Harvey is near the pass rusher Allen is, another poor performance by St. Clair could mean even more pressure from outside sources wanting Williams, who has returned after surgery, to finally take over at the all-important left tackle spot.

Kyle Orton still isn't all the way back from the sprained ankle he suffered in Week 9 against Detroit, hence the need for better protection from his blockers.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH: JAGUARS OFFENSE VS. BEARS DEFENSE
WR Jerry Porter vs. CB Charles Tillman:
The Jaguars' expensive free agent wide receiver has yielded virtually no return for their investment, but he's been getting healthier and he's been more effective with each game. Porter must beat Tillman with consistency if the Jags are going to have any hope at moving the football through the air.


OT Khalif Barnes
Brian Bahr/Getty Images

OT Khalif Barnes vs. DEs Alex Brown and Mark Anderson: Barnes had a rough outing in Houston on Monday Night Football, getting whistled for a handful of penalties in addition to being totally manhandled by Mario Williams off the edge. The Bears, on the other hand, don't have a pass rusher nearly as good as Williams, although Brown has gotten credit for one sack in each of the last two games. Jacksonville quarterback David Garrard has been holding on to the ball too long this season because his receivers can't consistently get open, which is all the more dangerous for the Jaguars since their offensive line is seriously depleted at this point.

The stars are aligned for Brown to have a good day on defense, and it would be an extra bonus if Anderson, a runner-up for Defensive Rookie of the Year not too long ago, can finally get his first sack of 2008.

THE JAGUARS WILL WIN THIS GAME IF ...
... Garrard can turn into the Garrard of 2007, who was accurate and didn't hold the ball and make stupid mistakes. They will also need to get Maurice Jones-Drew the ball 20-plus times, as he is the Jaguars' only real playmaker. Jacksonville must limit big plays by the Chicago offense and not only win special teams, but dominate them. Jacksonville is every bit as talented as Chicago, but they've seemed to have quit on the season. If the Jaguars can muster up some self-pride, they can make this a game.


LB Lance Briggs
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

THE JAGUARS WILL LOSE THIS GAME IF ...
... they can't run the football effectively and if they give up big plays on defense or big returns on special teams. If Garrard holds the ball too long like he's been doing this season, the Chicago pass rush will eat him up. They will likely load up the box and force Garrard to throw. He must show that he's worth the $60 million contract he was given.

THE BEARS WILL WIN THIS GAME IF ...
... they can take away Jones-Drew as a consistent weapon both as a rusher and a receiver. Fred Taylor is technically still the starter at tailback in Jacksonville, but Jones-Drew is the lone difference maker for this offense and can roll through the second level like a bowling ball if he breaks containment. Matt Jones is the only pass catcher that deserves to be paid any attention, although he's more of a possession target and doesn't post much of a threat downfield unless it's a jump ball in the end zone – stop MJD, stop the Jags.

THE BEARS WILL LOSE THIS GAME IF ...
... they lose both the turnover battle and time of possession advantage. There have been whispers around the River City – and even a few shouts – that the Jaguars quit on head coach Jack Del Rio in the second half of their 30-17 loss to the Texans this past Monday night, which is understandable since Steve Slaton scored on two long touchdown runs in the fourth quarter without a finger ever being laid on him. The Bears have everything to play for and the Jaguars are already looking toward 2009, so don't do anything stupid that gives a wounded opponent some extra incentive to lay it all on the line.

FINAL PREDICTIONS
Charlie Bernstein:
The Bears offense doesn't really scare anyone, but as mediocre as they have been, they are miles ahead of the Jaguars offense. With Rashean Mathis out for the game, Chicago should be able to pick on cornerback Drayton Florence successfully just like every other team has this year prior to his benching. The Jacksonville offense will struggle to run the football against Chicago, and the game will be on the right arm of Garrard. Enough said ... BEARS 27, JAGUARS 16.

John Crist: The Bears are kicking off a three-game homestand that could get them back in the NFC North picture, especially since division-leading Minnesota just lost Pro Bowl defensive tackles Kevin Williams and Pat Williams to a suspension. While I don't expect Lovie Smith and Co. to sweep these next three contests, if there's one game they should win going away, it's this one. The Jaguars have nothing to play for, and it showed in the Lone Star State ... BEARS 26, JAGUARS 17.

To go back and read Part I, where Charlie answers five questions from John, Click Here. For Part II, where John answers five questions from Charlie, Click Here.

John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report. Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of JagNation.com.


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