Monday Night Football Predictions: Chicago Bears at New York Jets Odds & Picks
by Alan Matthews - 9/19/2014
When seeing the Bears would play the Jets in the 2014 season, you just knew it was going to be a prime-time game with the NFL's two biggest media markets facing off (since L.A. still doesn't have a team). I am fascinated to see how these teams react in Monday night's game. Chicago is coming off an incredible high in last week's big upset in San Francisco, while the Jets are probably still kicking themselves for blowing a great upset chance in Green Bay. I'm sure the Bears would have liked to have seen that.
One big story line out of New York is the return of Bears receiver Santonio Holmes. He was traded to the Jets from Pittsburgh in 2010 and was supposed to be a big star for New York after a monster final season with the Steelers. It didn't happen, whether because the Jets never had great quarterback play or Holmes was hurt. He was also considered a "cancer" -- in the 2011 finale against Miami for example, a huge game, Holmes was benched after getting into a heated argument with tackle Wayne Hunter in the huddle. Last year he said: "I can't throw it to myself," subtly ripping Geno Smith.
The Jets couldn't wait to be rid of him. Perhaps because of that reputation he was sitting home when camps started. Chicago signed him in mid-August after projected No. 3 receiver Marquess Wilson was lost to a broken collarbone. Holmes is still only 30. He has caught four passes for 41 yards thus far and is probably option No. 5 for Jay Cutler behind Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Martellus Bennett and Matt Forte. Still, you know Holmes wants to do something big here.
Bears at Jets Betting Story Lines
Remember the 2006 Monday night game between the Bears and Cardinals in Arizona? Unless you follow one of these teams, you probably are asking: "Why should I?" Well, the Bears trailed 20-0 at halftime and 23-10 entering the fourth. They won 24-23, leading to the infamous post-game tirade by Cardinals coach Dennis Green highlighted by: "They are who we thought they were!" Classic.
I bring that up because the Bears had their biggest come-from-behind win since that night last Sunday in San Francisco. I would call that victory more unlikely. The 49ers, by all accounts one of the best teams in the NFL, were up 17-0 before Cutler hit Marshall on a 17-yard pass with 13 seconds left before halftime. Chicago managed just 93 yards in the half and looked overmatched. It was 20-7 entering the fourth quarter when suddenly Cutler went berserk. He threw three TD passes in the quarter, two to Marshall (who wasn't even cleared to play until warmups due to injury). The last was a three-yarder with 6:55 left that gave Chicago a stunning 28-20 win. Most projected the Bears would be 1-1 after two games, but not like this.
So was Chicago lucky or good? A bit of both. The Niners committed a whopping 16 penalties for 118 yards. They also turned the ball over four times, with Colin Kaepernick throwing three picks. Bears first-round pick Kyle Fuller threw his hat in the early Defensive Rookie of the Year conversation with two picks. If I'm the Bears, I still have concerns. The 49ers had little trouble on the ground against the terrible Chicago run defense. And the Bears managed only 2.7 yards per carry. That formula won't work most weeks. In addition, top cornerback Charles Tillman was lost to a season-ending triceps injury, so that thrusts Fuller into a full-time role.
The Jets looked like a Super Bowl team for their first three drives last week in Green Bay in taking a 21-3 second-quarter lead. Then Smith remembered who he was. New York had three points and 132 total yards the rest of the way in losing 31-24. The Jets lead the NFL in rushing and did well in that category with 146 yards on the ground. They also are tops in rush defense, and that was solid as well with Green Bay totaling 80 yards on the ground. The New York front seven is very good. The secondary is a major problem. The Packers had 390 yards passing, and Jordy Nelson caught nine balls for 209 yards and the game-winning 80-yard TD.
Chicago Bears at New York Jets NFL Monday Night Football Week 3 Betting Odds and Trends
At BetOnline , the Jets are 2.5-point favorites with a total of 45.5. While the total has been pretty steady, the line has been moving toward Gang Green. New York is -155 on the moneyline with the Bears at +135. The Bears are 1-1 against the spread thus far, covering their one road game. The Jets are 1-1 ATS, failing to cover their lone home game. Both clubs are also 1-1 "over/under." Chicago is 1-5 ATS in its past six after a win and 1-7 in its past eight following an ATS victory. New York is 4-1 ATS in its past five after allowing more than 250 yards passing in its previous game. The over is 13-3 in Chicago's past 16 on the road. The under is 4-1 in the Jets' past five following a loss.
Chicago Bears at New York Jets Monday Night Football Picks and Betting Predictions
Which team will impose its will here? Can the Jets pound the ball and eat clock while forcing Chicago to become a one-dimensional passing team? Can the Bears slow the Jets' running game, make Smith beat them and exploit that secondary (five TD passes allowed already) with Marshall and Jeffery (maybe Holmes too) even though both are dinged up? Chicago has converted five takeaways this year into 21 points. Smith tends to turn the ball over but is usually steadier at home. So many questions. I lean the Jets if this line stays put. It is 3 at some books, and if it got to 3.5, then I'd go the other way. Take the over.
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Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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