New York Jets vs. Chicago Bears Pick
New York Jets (3-4 SU, 3-4 ATS) vs. Chicago Bears (3-3 SU, 3-3 ATS)
NFL Week 8
Date/Time: Sunday, October 28, 2018 at 1PM EDT
Where: Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois
By Loot Levinson, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: NYJ +6.5/CHI -6.5
Over/Under Total: 46
The New York Jets come to Soldier Field for a week eight matchup with the Chicago Bears on Sunday. Both teams are on the upswing and looking to push their cause forward another step. The Jets are looking to regroup after a rough home loss to the Vikings, but two straight wins preceded that and they’ve shown to be dangerous in the right spots. The Bears came literally a yard from beating the Patriots with a final Hail Mary falling short. Nevertheless, there is a lot to like about how they’ve started the season, despite two straight defeats. They look to get back over .500 this week at home.
I like the Bears to get the cover at home on Sunday. The Jets are not a bad team. In fact, they have a pretty high ceiling when things are going their way. The Bears’ playmaking and opportunistic defense will tilt this matchup, with Jets’ QB Sam Darnold a product on the rise, but still very mistake-prone with 10 picks through seven games. The Bears have also flashed a very tough run-defense through nearly half of the season. Meanwhile on offense, they are running the ball well, an area where the once-strong Jets’ defense is merely just average now.
Who Has the Edge in the Battle of Young Quarterbacks?
There’s a lot to like about both quarterbacks. Trubisky having had last season to work out the kinks might be the more-complete product at this precise point in time. He makes fewer mistakes and knows how to throw away the ball when things get sticky. He still makes miscues, but Darnold has four more picks this season. And while Darnold is very adept with his feet, Trubisky is more productive with his feet and is a real weapon when he turns it loose.
The Bears also might have more to throw at Darnold from a defensive standpoint. One would expect Khalil Mack (questionable) to be getting better here at some point and make an impact like he was at the beginning of the season, but they have other pass-rushers to do damage, as well, with Akiem Nicks, rising rookie Roquan Smith, and others. With 11 picks already, guys like Kyle Fuller and Eddie Jackson have been getting after it on “D.” The defense can score and is just very stifling, giving Darnold something else to think about this week.
How Close is Chicago?
Well, we just saw them come a yard from sending the Patriots game to overtime. And let’s face it, that was a streaking Patriots team that has gotten things on the right track, a defending conference champion that needed two special-teams touchdowns to avert defeat at the hands of the upstart Bears. Granted, back-to-back losses, with one being to the Dolphins, has soiled a 3-1 start to some extent, but both losses before last Sunday were by a combined 4 points.
With Trubisky, Jordan Howard, and Tarik Cohen, the Bears have fostered a meaningful run-attack. Through the air, Cohen, Taylor Gabriel, and surging TE Trey Burton are all bunched up between 325-329 yards receiving, with Allen Robinson (questionable) not far behind. Against an average Jets’ run-defense and a secondary that isn’t very rigid, this could be a spot for the Chicago offense to thrive. And with Trubisky’s air of improvisational flair, he adds another X-factor to the whole mix.
Jets a Work-in-Progress with a High Ceiling
As it to be expected to some extent, the Jets’ have been all over the place results-wise in 2018. It started with a 31-point romp of a Detroit team that is now surging. But losses to Miami, Cleveland, and Jacksonville followed, before they notched two straight home-wins over the Broncos and Colts, scoring a combined 76 points in the process. So we see in games like last week’s 20-point loss at home to the Vikes how erratic they can be. At their best, they can put up a lot of points, and other times, they don’t come close to covering and look pretty ragged.
And let’s face it, if Brock Osweiler can throw for 380 yards like he did a few weeks ago against the Bears, Darnold can, as well. He works well with a nice 1-2 punch at RB in Isaiah Crowell and Bilal Powell, along with receivers Robby Anderson and Jermaine Kearse. The issue is they are without top receiver Quincy Enunwa, whose absence was palpable last week. In addition, the secondary has taken some licks, with Buster Skrine out and S Doug Middleton lost for the season on Sunday. CB Trumaine Johnson is still iffy after missing three games. And now even Bilal Powell is listed as questionable for this game. The injuries are suddenly starting to add up.
Lay the Points on the Home Favorite
There is a feast-or-famine nature to the Jets that is dangerous to bet into. Only twice in seven of their point spreads this season has the spread been within single-digits of the actual margin of victory. They’re rendering most spreads moot, both for and against. They’re a team to watch moving forward, but the combination of injuries, unfavorable matchup components, and the locale of this game will be too much to overcome. I’m going with the Bears.
Loot’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I’m betting on the Chicago Bears minus 6.5 points.