“Who’s got next?” is a question that is often asked in a league where depth and perseverance is as important (and in some cases, more important) as raw talent itself. Sunday’s game between the Chicago Bears and New York Jets could very well be decided by whose depth rises to the occasion.
With Khalil Mack out, the Bears’ pass-rush will need to dig deep for answers. That means Leonard Floyd and Aaron Lynch need to bring heat off the edges to fluster and rattle rookie quarterback Sam Darnold before he can get comfortable and in a rhythm. Defensive lineman Eddie Goldman and Akiem Hicks need to get back on the right path, too. But let’s not overlook depth guys like Bilal Nichols and Roy Robertson-Harris, who could make a place for an increased work load if they can make a splash play in the Jets backfield.
Wide receiver Allen Robinson II is also on the Bears’ list of inactives, which opens up possibilities for other players on the depth chart. It sounds like Kevin White is ready to embrace the up-hill battle and the challenges that come with increased exposure and playing time. With every week that passes, rookie Anthony Miller is that much healthier as he continues to work past a shoulder injury that sidelined him in Week 4. Even Josh Bellamy could find his way to some more snaps.
But in the end, it all comes down to Mitch Trubisky. The Bears will go only as far as QB1 takes them and this game is no different. Trubisky has put up some good-looking numbers of late, throwing 11 touchdowns, averaging 334 passing yards and 60.3 rushing yards in his last three games. And while that 115.9 passer rating is awfully good, Trubisky has thrown three interceptions in his last two games and there probably should have been more.
That Trubisky is making progress in Head Coach Matt Nagy’s offense is undeniable. Trubisky looks better now than he did at any point last year and is making throws and decisions he didn’t look like he was willing or capable of making earlier in the year. Trubisky talked about good not being good enough after losing to the Patriots, and those comments have permeated through the fan base. Because if Trubisky’s last two games count as “bad” then that means he has raised the bar for others, as well as himself. When expectations are high, that means good things are expected.
Soon, it will be time for Trubisky (and the rest of the Bears) to clear the bar and get back to their winning ways.
Chicago Bears (3-3, 4th NFC North) vs. New York Jets (3-4, 3rd AFC East) – noon CT, CBS (Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson), WBBM-AM 780, WCFS-FM 105.9
Odds: Bears (-8.5), Over/Under 42, via the Westgate Superbook in Las Vegas.
Note: The Bears opened the week as 6-point favorites on Monday.
Game Thread and Week 8 Preview
Your game thread is down in the comments, so let’s have some good, clean (safe-for-work) fun. And hopefully, we can avoid watching the Bears suffer a three-game losing streak.
Matt Nagy (3-3) vs. Todd Bowles (25-33 overall, 23-32 with Jets)
Bears: Mitch Trubisky: 1,594 yards, 13 TD, 6 INT, 65.9 completion pct., 97.1 rating
Last week vs. Patriots: 26-50, 333 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT, 69.8 rating
Jets: Sam Darnold: 1,552 yards, 10 TD, 10 INT, 56.1 completion pct., 74.3 rating
Last week vs. Vikings: 17-42, 206 yards, 1 TD, 3 INT, 34.4 rating
#Bears Inactives vs. New York Jets:
— Chicago Bears (@BearsPR) October 28, 2018
Bears Expected Offensive Starters
- QB Mitch Trubisky
- RB Jordan Howard
- RB Tarik Cohen
- WR Anthony Miller
- WR Taylor Gabriel
- TE Trey Burton
- LT Charles Leno Jr.
- LG James Daniels
- C Cody Whitehair
- RG Kyle Long
- RT Bobby Massie
Bears Expected Defensive Starters
- DT Akiem Hicks
- NT Eddie Goldman
- DE Jonathan Bullard
- OLB Aaron Lynch
- ILB Danny Trevathan
- ILB Roquan Smith
- OLB Leonard Floyd
- CB Kyle Fuller
- CB Prince Amukamara
- FS Eddie Jackson
- SS Adrian Amos
- Cody Parkey (kicker), Pat O’Donnell (punter, holder), Patrick Scales (long snapper), Benny Cunningham, Tarik Cohen (kick returners), Tarik Cohen (punt returner)
— New York Jets (@nyjets) October 28, 2018
Jets Offense Expected Starters:
- QB Sam Darnold
- RB Isaiah Crowell
- WR Jermaine Kearse
- WR Charone Peake
- 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 Darryl Roberts
- CB Morris Claiborne
- FS Marcus Maye
- SS Jamal Adams
- Jason Myers (kicker), Lachlan Edwards (punter, holder), Thomas Hennessy (long snapper), Andrew Roberts, Trenton Cannon (kick return), Andre Roberts (punt return)