Chicago Bears ( 3-1 SU, 3-1 ATS) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3 SU, 1-2-1 ATS)
NFL Week 5
Date/Time: Sunday, October 7th, 4PM EST
Where: EverBank Field, Jacksonville, FL
TV: FOX/DirecTV 711
by Vesper Abadon, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Chi -4/Jax +4
Granted, the season is only four weeks in, but who would’ve thought the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears would be tied atop the NFC North? The former are certainly a surprise, but are the Bears’ 3-1 record really that shocking? After all, they did add a top-notch receiver in Brandon Marshall, who reunited with Jay Cutler, the quarterback from his Denver days.
The Bears have won by double-digit points in each of their three wins, while their sole loss came on the road in Green Bay, but are they legitimate contenders? Even with Marshall, who has 23 receptions for 352 yards and two touchdowns, the Bears rank 24th in passing with an average of 206.5 yards/game. Meanwhile, Cutler has went 67 for 117 with 917 yards and five touchdowns; he has also thrown six interceptions and has been sacked 13 times, giving him a quarterback rating of 75.3.
Those aren’t overly impressive numbers, but they look a heck of a lot better when compared to the Jacksonville Jaguars’ passing game, which ranks 31st in the NFL with a 146.2 yards/game average. That’s due in large part to a young and inexperience quarterback, Blaine Gabbert; however, he does has a better QB rating of 83.7 after going 63 of 113 for 654 yards and five touchdowns. He has been sacked 12 time and thrown one interception, and while it’s hard to believe, Gabbert is technically outperforming Cutler.
Unfortunately the Jaguars don’t have nearly as good a receiving corps as the Bears; in fact, the Jaguars’ leading receiver is also their leading rusher-Maurice Jones-Drew. MJD is a beast, but he can’t win games by himself. Unless the Jags can balance things out with a passing attack, and they’ve given no indication that they’re capable of that, then the Bears’ stout defense, which has allowed an average of just 67.2 yards/game on the ground, should be able to contain MJD with ease and put unrelenting pressure on Gabbert.
Speaking of run games, the Bears rank 16th in the league with 101 rush yards/game. The Jaguars give up an average of 150.2 yards/game, so there’s a strong likelihood that both Matt Forte and Michael Bush will have a big day, especially with the former continuing to heal from an early injury.
Vesper Abadon’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: There’s not a lot to get excited about when it comes to the Jaguars. They rank last in the NFL in points per game (15.5) and total yards (254.2), and while they have a premiere player in MJD, they’ve surrounded him with a less than stellar supporting cast. Try as he might, the running back won’t be able to win this game without tremendous help. I just don’t see that happening. The Bears defense will stifle the Jaguars and their offense will open up the field with Marshall to utilize Forte/Bush to control the time of possession. It’s not often I’m confident in the Bears, but I think this week is a steal to get them at -4.
Additional NFL Football Betting Previews