The Bears enter Week 12 banged up against the Jets
The Chicago Bears (3-8) come into the game with the New YorkJets (6-4) trying to end their season-long four game losing streak while the Jets are trying to stay in the playoff race in the AFC after their loss to the Patriots on Sunday. Here is a position by position breakdown of the Jets.
Quarterback: This game is the first matchup of Justin Fields versus Zach Wilson. Both of these quarterbacks were taken in the 2021 NFL Draft. Wilson was the 2nd overall pick in that draft and has a career record of 8-12 as a starter. While Fields, has a career record of 5-16.
Since Week 5, Wilson has only passed for more than 200 yards once and only has 4 touchdown passes in seven starts this season. The passing offense ranks 20th in passing yards and 22nd in yards per attempt. Last week versus the Patriots, the offense only had two yards of offense in the second half and Wilson went 9 for 22 for 77 yards for the entire game. When facing pressure, Wilson is last in passer rating, completion percentage and yards per attempt.
Wilson is one of the biggest weaknesses of this Jets team that is trying to make the playoffs for the first time since 2010. After his lackluster performance versus the Patriots, head coach Robert Saleh has decided to bench Wilson and start Mike White versus the Bears on Sunday. White will make his fourth start in the NFL and has a career record of 1-2 with five touchdowns and eight interceptions.
Running Back: Coming into the season, the Jets had planned to have a running back platoon of Michael Carter and rookie Breece Hall. Carter got the first shot and the majority of the snaps in their first five games however he was removed for being ineffective and was replaced by Hall. The rookie emerged in week 5 and accumulated 463 rushing yards and averaged 4.2 yards per carry before his sustained an injury to his ACL that ended his season.
After the injury to Hall, the Jets traded for running back James Robinson from the Jaguars but he has only managed 75 yards in three games for the Jets. Carter has done okay in place of Hall but the running game has been as good as it was with Hall. The running game ranks 18th in the league and has run for less than 100 yards in six of their nine games this season.
Offensive Line: According to ESPN, the Jets rank 11th in pass rush win rate and 9th in run rush rate this season. The Jets rank in the middle of the league in sacks allowed and pressure rate but just gave up a four sacks to the Patriots on Sunday.
The offensive line has dealt with injuries throughout the season and trying to replace those injured players has been difficult. Tackle Mehki Becton who started 13 games for the Jets last season fractured his knee cap in the pre season and is lost for the season. Tackle Duane Brown who the team signed in the offseason has also spent some time on injured reserve this season with a shoulder injury. Highly-regarded guard Alijah Vera-Tucker is out for the season with a torn triceps.
The most consistent offensive lineman this season has been guard Nate Herbig. Herbig ranks eighth in run block win rate this season according to ESPN and not allowed any sacks this season. The Bears should be able to overwhelm this injured offensive line and disrupt the Jets offense.
Wide Receiver: This group has not done well at all as the Jets have the 23rd ranked passing offense in the league and this group has only got four receiving touchdowns this season. Some of that is due to the inconsistency of Zach Wilson and the ability of Breece Hall (before his injury) and Michael Carter’s ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. Those two factors have even caused one of the Jets receivers to request a trade from the team.
Rookie wide receiver Garrett Wilson leads the team in targets, receptions and receiving yards. Wilson is apart of this rookie wide receiver class that has been very impressive and making a difference on the teams that they were drafted to. Wilson only trails the Saints Chris Olave is receiving yards and yards per game this season among rookies.
The other wide receiver that has been productive for the Jets this season is Corey Davis. Davis, who grew up in the suburbs of Chicago is averaging a career-low 2.7 catches per game but is averaging 18.5 per reception which leads the team and is 2nd in the NFL. Davis is in his second year with the Jets and has been a disappointment so far for the team.
Davis has only played in 14 out of 26 games and has 53 catches, 843 yards and six touchdowns in his career with the Jets. His status for the game vs the Bears is up in the air after he missed the game on Sunday versus the Patriots.
The Bears secondary will not be tested by this pedestrian wide receiver group and a quarterback that struggles to complete passes down the field.
Tight Ends: The Jets use both Tyler Conklin and CJ Uzomah on the field for the majority of their offensive plays. Conklin has been more than productive than Uzomah and leads the team in receiving touchdowns with three but two of his touchdowns came in one game. Once again, the ineffectiveness of Zach Wilson as a passer has contributed to lack of production for the pass catchers of the Jets.
The Bears near to be aware of Conklin in the red zone where the majority of his touchdowns have come.
Defensive Line: The Jets have been game wreakers on the defensive line ranking in the top 10 in quarterback knockdowns, pressures, fewest yard per rush and rushing yards allowed. The player that has been a catalyst for this defensive line is Quinnen Williams. Williams has seven sacks which is tied for first in the league among defensive tackles and has the most quarterback hits among defensive tackles. Williams is having a career season and is a potential defensive player of the year candidate.
In addition to Williams, defensive end Carl Lawson is having a career year as well. Lawson is second on the team in sacks and quarterback hits. Last week, the Jets sacked Patriots quarterback Mac Jones six times and five of those sacks came from this tenacious defensive line.
This Jets defensive line is probably the best that the Bears have faced since facing the Cowboys in Week 8 and will be constantly trying to put pressure on Justin Fields and this Bears offensive line.
Linebackers: The Jets have been stellar versus the run and the linebackers for the Jets have been one of the reasons for their success. The leader of this group is C.J. Mosley. Mosley ranks in the top ten in tackles and has been the leader in tackles for the team in five out of their ten games. General Manager Joe Douglas restructured his contract this off-season to give the Jets some future salary cap room but he could be waived this off season by the Jets because of the shaky play he had in the beginning of his career with the Jets.
The other linebacker that has been impressive this season for the Jets is Quincy Williams. Williams who is the older brother of defensive tackle Quinnen Williams is second on the team in tackles behind Mosley. This season, he had six out of nine games he has had at least 5 tackles. Last year, the Jets allowed 138.3 rushing yards per game and so far this year they have allowed 103.7 rushing yards. The Bears may have some difficulty running versus this linebacker group.
Secondary: The Jets secondary has also taken a huge leap from the previous season as well. The star of this secondary is rookie Sauce Gardner. Gardner who was taken 4th overall in 2022 NFL Draft has been a true shutdown corner. He has been targeted 57 times and has only allowed one touchdown through ten games. He also leads the league in passes defended with 14. Gardner is one of the leading candidates to be Defensive Rookie of the Year.
The other cornerback who has stepped up is DJ Reed. Reed was signed this offseason as a free agent from the Seahawks and has not allowed a touchdown this season. He excels in zone coverage this season and has only allowed 89 yards while playing zone coverage.
With these two cornerbacks, the Jets have eleven interceptions which is already more than had during the entire 2021 season. The Bears wide receivers will have difficulty trying to get open versus this ball-hawking secondary.
Kicking/Special Teams: Kicker Greg Zuerlein has made 17 out of 20 field goals this season and has made a long of 57 yards versus the Bills. Punter Braden Mann averages 47.3 yards and is fifth in the number of punts this season. The weather is expected to be good on Sunday so that should not affect the kicking game for both teams.
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