The Jets enter their Monday night game with the Chicago Bears with a huge health edge.
The Bears are one of the most banged-up teams in the league.
Two starting offensive linemen–center Roberto Garza and guard Matt Slauson–will miss this game with ankle injuries.
Also, the Bears starting wide receivers, Brandon Marshall (ankle) and Alshon Jeffrey (hamstring), are both questionable, and were limited in practice. They both could play, but neither is 100 percent.
On defense, the Bears have a myriad of problems on the injury front.
Starting outside linebacker Shea McClellin hurt his hand in practice on Thursday, and is out. Jeremiah Ratliff, perhaps the Bears’ best defensive tackle, is out with a concussion.
The Bears lost starting cornerback Charles “Peanut” Tillman for the season last week due to an arm injury, and key reserve cornerback Sherrick McManus, won’t play this week due to a quad problem.
The Jets are pretty healthy, with only two injuries of note. Cornerback Dee Milliner won’t play due to ankle and quad injuries. Wide receiver Eric Decker will be a game-time decision due to a hamstring injury.
The breakdown of this game is pretty simple.
The Jets #1-ranked rushing offense should be able to run the ball against a porous Bears rushing defense, with two key front seven players out–Ratliff and McClellin.
The Jets are going to look to control the clock and keep Jay Cutler and his two stud receivers–Marshall and Jeffrey–off the field as much as possible. Cutler has six touchdown passes in his first two games, with four going to Marshall.
To us an old sports cliché, “You can’t stop Marshall and Jeffrey, you can only hope to contain them.”
And the Jets have two big physical corners in Antonio Allen (6-1, 210) and Darrin Walls (6-0, 190). They will battle the Bears’ two star receivers, who both have great size.
The strength of the Jets is their front seven, and the Bears have those two aforementioned starting offensive linemen out, so it’s essential that Jets get after Cutler and make him uncomfortable–get him off his spot, if you will.
With Garza out, the Bears will start Brian De La Puente at center. De La Puente started for the Saints last year. The Jets interior defensive linemen dominated him in their upset win over New Orleans last year.
So when you combine all these Chicago injuries, with the fact the Jets are healthy, and playing at home, Gang Green has no excuses–they need to go out and win this football game.