The Jacksonville Jaguars will be looking for its first home win of the season when it faces the 3-1 Chicago Bears at EverBank Field. The Bears, coming off a 34-18 win over the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night, will surely be a tough opponent. Currently tied in first place with the Minnesota Vikings, they will be looking to improve to 4-1 heading into their week six bye.
Head coach Mike Mularkey and the rest of his staff will have to bring their best game plan for this game. The Bears are seemingly clicking on all phases of the game. With each passing week, Quarterback Jay Cutler and Wide Receiver Brandon Marshall have quickly rebuilt the rapport they had together while with the Denver Broncos. The defense remains as formidable as ever, and Devin Hester is still a threat whenever on special teams.
Maurice Jones-Drew will face a tough unit in the Bears’ third-ranked rush defense. Their defense allows 67.2 yards per game, but they’ve yet to face a running back of his caliber. The Jaguars should look to get MJD involved early in the game and see how well he does in the opening quarters. That being said, MJD should not be relied upon too heavily. The offense will need to be effective both in the running and passing games. The Bears sit at 19th, allowing 249.5 passing yards per game, however they do lead the league with 11 interceptions.
The Jaguars’ defense will be facing the league’s twenty-first-ranked offense. Should the Jaguars be able to get to the quarterback, they’ll have a good chance at being successful in winning this game. In their lone loss against the Packers, Jay Cutler was sacked seven times while also being intercepted four times. The defense needs to put pressure on the Bears’ weak offensive line and get into Cutler’s head. Cutler has shown the propensity to act a fool when he isn’t comfortable. He gets easily irritated and has not proven to play well when under pressure.
For the Jaguars to have a fighting chance in this game, they will have to play a near-perfect game on offense. That means zero turnovers. The Bears’ opportunistic defense has the capability to capitalize on any errors made by the offense. Quarterback Blaine Gabbert will have to play his best game as a pro to date to ensure that the Jaguars come out with a victory. The defense will also have to create turnovers of their own. With only two interceptions and two sacks so far, this unit has under-performed in the season’s first quarter. The Jaguars need to play a solid game and build some confidence heading into their bye week.
Prediction: Bears 20-Jaguars 16.