Bears vs. Jaguars: A Plan of Attack to Keep the Momentum Going in Jacksonville
There's no such thing as a 'gimme' in the NFL.
That said, this is about as close as you can get to one.
While Chicago began to come together offensively last week and already has a tremendous defense, the Jaguars have a disaster on both sides of the ball.
Let's see how the Bears will look to tear the Jaguars apart.
I'm going to try and go deeper than 'make sure the plane arrives on time.'
When the Bears Are on Offense
This is a great chance for the Bears to get the offense really humming now that it seems to be up and running. The win against the Cowboys was largely a defensive effort (five interceptions tends to make that happen), but the offense started to come together and the offensive line played far better than they have in the last few weeks.
The Jaguars have just two sacks in four games, and the defensive line is not great. The Bears can run the ball at will and more than likely pass at will as well, as it shouldn't be too hard for the offensive line to both open holes for Michael Bush and Matt Forte or keep Jay Cutler upright and give him the time to hit his receivers.
The offense will dictate this game's tempo and one assumes the Bears will keep it fast and moving so they can get ahead and continue getting the offense in sync.
For the Bears, it won't be about this week so much as getting everything ready and moving in precision for the games after the bye week—against Houston and San Francisco, although games against Detroit and Carolina aren't to be taken all that lightly.
Jay Cutler will look to get Alshon Jeffery, Earl Bennett, Kellen Davis and Devin Hester involved as well as Brandon Marshall, Matt Forte and Michael Bush.
This offense can start to show us the elite level of production we expected to see preseason.
When the Bears Are on Defense
There are two things the defense needs to focus on.
First, bottle up Maurice Jones-Drew. If they can do that, the game is already almost over because the rest of the offense is more dysfunctional than most families at Thanksgiving. That's not to say they can't lose—but if you shut Jones-Drew down, the offense has an even harder time than it normally does.
In part, that's because of thing No. 2—get after Gabbert. The offensive line for the Jaguars has been playing terribly, and Eben Britton could get Gabbert killed at some point.
Gabbert is better than he was last year, but nobody is good when they are on their back—something Bears fans know.
Worse for Gabbert—but awesome for the likes of Tim Jennings, Peanut Tillman and Major Wright—is that his receivers are largely awful right now. Justin Blackmon is still trying to figure out how to use his hands to catch an NFL pass, Laurent Robinson is hurt when not just being ineffective, Cecil Shorts is sporadically mediocre and until I double-checked the roster I wasn't even sure Mike Thomas was alive, much less on the team.
If you pressure Gabbert—and I think Lance Briggs, Julius Peppers and Brian Urlacher just started drooling when I typed that—he will make mistakes and the secondary will generate turnovers.
As I said at the top there is no such thing as a 'gimme' game. However, to lose to the Jacksonville Jaguars this weekend is almost impossible to conceive and would be about as big a disaster as any New York Jets game.
The Bears know that and will play accordingly.
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