JETS vs. BEARS: Week 8 Preview - October 28, 2018

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JETS vs. BEARS: Week 8 Preview – October 28, 2018

Chicago Bears

Even though the Bears and Jets aren’t at the top of the standings in their respective divisions, you can’t tell me this isn’t a marquee matchup. Beyond the obvious clash between major market teams, Bears-Jets features a quarterback showdown, spotlighting a pair of the most highly regarded college prospects to come out of the last two drafts.

Sam Darnold seemed to be a virtual lock for the No. 1 overall pick at this time last year. And while that didn’t play out, he was still the second quarterback taken in the 2018 NFL Draft. Darnold checks plenty of boxes (size, arm strength, intangibles) and even drew an Andrew Luck comparison in his draft profile. He still has a lot to learn, but he has a high floor with potential to be great.

The same can be said about Mitch Trubisky, the Bears quarterback who was the first player to be taken at the position in the 2017 NFL Draft. Like Darnold, Trubisky has a good build, plus arm strength, and intangibles his teammates have raved about for two years now. And like Darnold, Trubisky still has work to do in order to refine his skills.

Somewhere in New York, the head honchos at CBS are hoping these two quarterbacks play to their potential so they can book another Trubisky-Darnold showdown when the teams face off again in the future.

Never Tell Me The Odds:”

The Bears are 8-point favorites at the Westgate Superbook in Las Vegas, with an over/under of 44. Chicago opened as 6-point favorites, so this movement in the line suggests Vegas investors have faith in the Bears winning at home.

Series History:

The Bears are 8-3 all-time against the Jets, but haven’t played New York’s AFC team since 2014, and the two teams haven’t squared off at Soldier Field since 2010. Hey! Jim Nantz (and former partner Phil Simms) called that game for CBS, a 38-34 barn-burner in a year that happened to produce the Bears’ last playoff team. Here’s hoping a Bears win on Sunday sparks history repeating itself.

Game Time, Broadcast Info, Officiating Crew:

Location: Soldier Field

Broadcast Info: Sunday, October 28 at noon on CBS (Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson), WBBM-AM 780, WCFS-FM 105.9

Yep, that’s right. CBS’ No. 1 broadcast team will be in Chicago to give us the play-by-play!

Referee: Clete Blakeman

Expected Starters and Lineups:

Bears Offense Expected Starters:

  • QB Mitch Trubisky
  • RB Jordan Howard
  • RB Tarik Cohen
  • WR Allen Robinson II
  • WR Taylor Gabriel
  • TE Trey Burton
  • LT Charles Leno Jr.
  • LG Eric Kush
  • C Cody Whitehair
  • RG Kyle Long
  • RT Bobby Massie

Bears Defense Expected Starters:

  • DT Akiem Hicks
  • NT Eddie Goldman
  • DE Jonathan Bullard
  • OLB Khalil Mack
  • ILB Danny Trevathan
  • ILB Roquan Smith
  • OLB Leonard Floyd
  • CB Kyle Fuller
  • CB Prince Amukamara
  • FS Eddie Jackson
  • SS Adrian Amos

Bears Specialists: 

  • Cody Parkey (kicker), Pat O’Donnell (punter, holder), Patrick Scales (long snapper), Benny Cunningham, Tarik Cohen (kick returners), Tarik Cohen (punt returner)

Jets Offense Expected Starters:

  • QB Sam Darnold
  • RB Isaiah Crowell
  • WR Jermaine Kearse
  • WR Robby Anderson
  • WR Deontay Burnett
  • TE Eric Tomlinson
  • LT Kelvin Beachum
  • LG James Carpenter
  • C Spencer Long
  • RG Brian Winters
  • RT Brandon Shell

Jets Defense Expected Starters:

  • DL Leonard Williams
  • DL Steve McLendon
  • DL Nathan Shepherd
  • OLB Brandon Copeland
  • ILB Darron Lee
  • ILB Avery Williamson
  • OLB Jordan Jenkins
  • CB Trumaine Johnson
  • CB Morris Claiborne
  • FS Marcus Maye
  • SS Jamal Adams

Jets Specialists:

  • Jason Myers (kicker), Lachlan Edwards (punter, holder), Thomas Hennessy (long snapper), Andrew Roberts, Trenton Cannon (kick return), Andre Roberts (punt return)

Hot or Not and Whom to Watch

Chicago Bears – Offense

Anthony Miller was close to reeling in a couple of big plays against the Patriots and could have ample opportunities to do so against the Jets this week. New York has allowed five 100-yard receivers in its last five games, including two against the Jaguars in Week 4. With Allen Robinson possibly being limited, Taylor Gabriel drawing extra attention by way of safety help over the top, and Trey Burton getting a priority spot on the Jets scouting report, someone is going to get some one-on-one looks. And since Miller is the best route-runner of the remaining options, this could turn into a breakout game for him so long as Mitch Trubisky doesn’t miss the mark.

Chicago Bears – Defense

Roquan Smith was a do-it-all linebacker at Georgia. Pro Football Focus graded him as the second-best coverage linebacker among players in his draft class and fifth in tackling efficiency. It’s time for Smith’s potential to show up on the pro level. Smith was a non-factor against the Patriots, playing his fewest number of snaps since Week 1 against the Packers. If the Jets decide to focus on the run game, Smith will need to have a big game in order to help neutralize what might be New York’s most potent offensive weapon.

New York Jets – Offense

Isaiah Crowell should get a bulk of the defensive attention out of the backfield. Not only is lead back Bilal Powell out, New York’s receivers corps is dinged up, too. And with rookie quarterback Sam Darnold under center, the Jets might be wise to ground-and-pound a reeling Bears defense. Chicago hasn’t allowed a rushing touchdown all year, but James White was able to rack up 97 scrimmage yards and two receiving scores out of the backfield last week. So maybe we should keep our eyes on Crowell.

New York Jets – Defense

Trumaine Johnson is one of the league’s top cover corners and winning that one-on-one matchup could seriously tilt the odds in the Bears’ favor. On top of being a steady man-to-man cover guy, Johnson is a reliable tackler in the open field. According to Pro Football Focus, Johnson has a 41.7 percent stop rate after catches, which is the second best number in the league. Taylor Gabriel could need to be extra elusive to escape Johnson’s grasp.

Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.