The New York Jets are entering a must-win situation on the road in a Week 8 matchup against the Chicago Bears. Here are the top three ways the Jets can beat the Bears.
Heading into Chicago, the New York Jets are facing a hungry Bears team who have lost two in a row against the AFC East in consecutive weeks. The Jets are six-point underdogs but will need to play a perfect game to cover the spread. The Bears are desperate for a win, and these young Jets have not shown the ability to play a solid 60 minutes since their Week 1 win over the Lions.
The Jets started out with a competitive first half at home against the Vikings, but fell flat in the second half, getting outscored 27-10. Sam Darnold was clearly frustrated as the game went on. There were some brutal drops, as well as poor offensive line play, that led to their pitiful second half performance.
The Bears have given up over 450 yards a game the last three weeks, after giving up an average of less than 300 in their first three games. However, their offense has picked up the slack, putting up an average of 35 points a game in those contests. It will be a tough task for a shorthanded Jets defense this week on the road.
Coming up are the top keys to a Jets victory on the road this week.
3. Get off to a fast start
What the Jets cannot do is get out to an early deficit. Outside of last week, the Jets have typically been a second-half team this year. On the road against a desperate Chicago team, New York needs to come out fast and furious to take the crowd out of it.
The way to do this is to start off with some solid runs to get the Bears pass rush off balance. Led by Khalil Mack, the Bears are tied for 8th in the league with 19 sacks on the year. The best way to stop a solid pass rush is to keep them guessing. A good ground game, followed up by the play action pass will help to ease the pressure off Darnold and the Jets offensive line.
It will be critical for the Jets offense to get it going early and often on the road. The Bears defense has the most interceptions of any team in the league, so a comeback will be difficult. This will be especially true with a Jets offense featuring very few playmakers. We will focus on the defense in our next key.
Next: 2. Stuff the run
2. Stuff the run
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The Bears have had some explosive games through the air, but overall they are in the bottom echelon when it comes to their passing offense. They have relied on their rushing attack to set up some easy throws for the young Mitchell Trubisky.
Jordan Howard, Mitchell Trubisky, and Tarik Cohen have led the Bears to over 750 yards on the ground through six games this year. With a diverse attack, the Jets will have no easy point of emphasis. They will need to bring their stud safety Jamal Adams in the box on early downs to help ease the pressure off their talented, yet undersized linebacking core.
If the Jets are to have any success in this one, they cannot afford to allow the Bears to get this potent run game going. Without a consistent pass rusher, they need to get the Bears into some obvious passing situations on 3rd and long, so they can dial up the blitz from the outside. That way, Trubisky will be forced to make some tough decisions on the fly. It will be critical for them to turn some of those situations into game-changing turnovers.
Next: 1. Avoid typical Jets mistakes
1. Avoid typical Jets mistakes
When I say typical Jets mistakes, true Jets fans know the meaning. Not just the Butt Fumble, I am talking about flags after long plays, dropped passes, and suspect play calling. Every Jets fan is conditioned into looking at the bottom of the screen for the yellow flag signal after a big play, and that’s not the sign of a good football team.
Just last week the Jets had two heartbreaking drops by Isaiah Crowell and Eric Tomlinson on the same drive. Every fan was saying the same thing, “I could have caught that pass!” Those are the plays Jet fans have grown accustomed to; the type of play that sucks the life out of a team.
Spencer Long was brought in this offseason to bring some stability to the center position but has done nothing but cause chaos. Multiple times this year he has snapped the ball over Darnold’s head, or into the dirt. Many of these snaps have led to turnovers. These errors are hard to recover from, especially on the road against a good team.
If the Jets can avoid these dumb mistakes, they will be able to keep this one close. Even if they hold true to all these keys, it will be a close game down to the wire.
It will be on Darnold to be the difference in this one, in order to come away with a win on the road. Ideally, we will see Sam have his signature moment; a game-winning drive in the closing seconds to get the Jets rolling into the second half of the season.