Week 3 – vs. Chicago Bears
Key Additions: DE Jared Allen, DE Lamarr Houston, CB Kyle Fuller
Key Losses:KR Devin Hester, DE Julius Peppers, QB Josh McCown
The third week of the NFL season brings the second of the Jets’ early season back-to-back-to-back NFC North matchups, in which the Jets will host Chicago at Metlife stadium on Monday Night Football. The Bears missed out narrowly on the playoffs in 2013 after a heartbreaking home loss to Green Bay in Week 17 and will look to compete once again for a playoff spot in the NFC.
Last year marked the beginning of a new era for Chicago and the team’s identity changed awfully quickly – typically carried by a strong, playmaking defense under Lovie Smith, the Bears under Mark Trestman had one of the worst defenses in the league last season and were carried by one of the league’s most explosive offenses. The Bears in the offseason added to their pass rush with the signings of Jared Allen and Lamarr Houston and also targeted interior pass rushers in the early rounds of the draft, but the Bears were the only team in the league that gave up on average over 5 yards-per-carry on the ground and likely haven’t done enough to turn it around. The Jets will like their chances on running the ball well, but this game will be a big test for the team’s young secondary.
Dominate on the ground…
The Jets want to be a top rushing team in 2014 and have the tools to do so, and there was not a worse team defending the run last season than the Chicago Bears. Expect the Jets to run early and often, and if the running game gets going it will be difficult for the Bears to stop.
A big day for Dee Milliner…
The Jets are expecting a lot from last year’s top pick, and he’ll be tasked with limiting one of the league’s very best receiver duos. Whether it’s Brandon Marshall or Alshon Jeffrey, both receivers match a big, strong frame with physical play and gamebreaking ability that makes them difficult for any secondary to stop, much less one as inexperienced as the Jets’. Expect Milliner to be tested often, and stepping up to the challenge will be pivotal in the Jets coming away with a victory.
Make plays on defense…
Jay Cutler is the definition of a gunslinger and has a penchant for reckless play that the Jets can take advantage of if he can be pressured and frustrated. The Bears’ offensive line actually held up well last season after years of being much maligned, so the Jets will need the likes of Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson and Quinton Coples to be at their best.