While you never want to label a game in the first half of the season a “must win,” the Chicago Bears match-up against the New York Jets is starting to feel that way. If the Bears win, they a 4-3 and heading to Buffalo to play one of the worst teams in the NFL. If the Bears lose, they are 3-4, last in the NFC North, and have 3 of their next 4 games against NFC North opponents.
If the Bears want to do more than simply take a step forward this year, they are going to need to beat the Jets. If the Bears squeak by in this game, or heaven forbid lose it, I will be very worried. That would mean that there are some bad trends on this team, especially on defense, that we didn’t expect. If the Bears follow my keys to the game however, they should be just fine.
Keys to the Game
Play your Game: The Bears cannot allow the Jets to alter what they want to do offensively. If the Bears play “their game,” they should have no issues. Regardless of whether or not Allan Robinson plays on Sunday, the Bears have more weapons than the Jets can cover. If the offensive line holds up and Mitch Trubisky can hit his targets, the Bears should easily score 30+ points.
Get Back on Track: Vic Fangio has had 2 very poor games in a row. His usage of his players has been head-scratching at best. If Fangio gets back to just letting this team and the players do what they do best, then the defense should be fine. No more playing coverage with pass rushers and putting your coverage linebackers on the bench. Don’t get cute, just play straight-up, and this defense will do its job.
The X-Factor: Special teams were a bit of a disaster last week. The Bears were previously one of the top-5 special teams units in the NFL prior to last week, and I expect a rebound. Look for the Chris Tabor to call a trick play or 2 to get this unit back to having some fun on the field. No doubt there are a few players on special teams that took that performance personally, and the best way to reverse those feelings is to have some big plays.
What are your keys to the game? If the Bears want to avoid slipping under .500 and lose their grasp on a playoff berth following the 2018 season, then they cannot lose to the Jets here.