The Chicago Bears are going to obliterate the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. I expect the destruction to be so thorough, so complete, that the Jaguars will begin moving their corporate offices to Los Angeles midway through the 3rd quarter. The Jaguars are the Atlanta Thrashers of the NFL. Here today, gone tomorrow. And no one will miss them.
Don’t even bother scouring the Week 5 schedule for other favorable matchups. The Bears are this week’s Survivor Pool pick. Let it ride on the team that just humiliated Tony Romo and his squad of Super Bowl pretenders before a national TV audience.
The Bears defense owned Romo so severely, one may have to check Carrie Underwood’s phone records from early Tuesday morning and see how many distraught “I miss you” text messages he sent her, to understand the full severity of Romo’s Bears-induced implosion. I’m setting the over-under of wistful, despondent Romo texts, including a Brett Favre-to-Jenn Sterger-like Prime Time Creeper photo, at 7.5, and I’ll take the over.
But Romo and Dez Bryant’s outright awfulness should not overshadow a Bears defense that has forced 14 turnovers through 3 games, and is coming off a 2-touchdown performance. You could run all the Madden simulations you want, the Bears are not losing this game. Lovie Smith’s Bears teams, when playing at full strength (i.e. NOT with Caleb Hanie), rarely, if ever, play down to inferior competition. Rather, they punish them. And this Jaguars team is unequivocally inferior.
This confident, capable Bears defense will look to shut down Maurice Jones-Drew, who accounts for, oh, 98.7% of the Jaguars’ flaccid offense. MJD’s asinine tweet questioning Jay Cutler’s toughness after Cutler hurt his knee in the 2010 NFC Championship game may serve as an additional motivator for a defense that is already primed to stop the run, and salivating at the opportunity to feast on Blaine Gabbert’s inexperience. I predict 81 all-purpose yards for MJD, with no scores, and a sub-250 yard, zero touchdown, 2 interception performance out of Blaine “The Mane” Gabbert.
Offensively, the Bears will look to build on the productive passing attack they unleashed in Dallas, against the Jaguars 20th ranked pass defense, yielding 254.5 yards per game through 4 weeks. Cutler and Marshall re-discovered their chemistry, hooking up for 138 yards a touchdown in Dallas. I foresee more of the same, facing a secondary that surrendered 244 yards and 2 touchdowns to Andy Dalton and his fleet of formidable receiving weapons in Week 4.
Cutler may have found two new toys in unlocking the devastating Devin Hester Double Move, and Kellen Davis, who produced a highlight reel circus catch shortly before wiping out two defenders with a pick on Brandon Marshall’s 4th quarter touchdown. Hester’s speed and Kellen Davis’ massive frame are secondary weapons that could turn a potentially explosive offense into a dominant one, if properly developed and exploited.
I believe the running game will serve as more of a complementary piece this week, as Mike Tice looks to build on the momentum Cutler and his possibly-gelling offensive line showed in Dallas. Cutler will explode for 318 yards and 3 touchdowns, to Marshall, Jeffery, and Forte, and the Bears will add a rushing score from Michael Bush.
I used to like the Jaguars (as an AFC curiosity, never interfering with my Bears devotion) back in my naïve Root for the Underdog days. I even had a Mark Brunell jersey, who became a hero to all semi-athletic lefthanders, like myself. But those naïve days are dead and buried. The Jacksonville Jaguars are a terrible franchise, and should roll over for their Super Bowl contender overlords from Chicago.
“On the Road to Victory”:
- Keep MJD out of the end zone.
- Don’t let Justin Blackmon have his big breakout game
- Develop secondary weapons in the passing game – (Jeffery, Hester, Davis)
Zeoli’s Alcohol Consumption/Enthusiasm Scale: 1 Ruby Tuesday’s Mud Slide and the bottom 1/8th of a Steel Reserve 40z.
Prediction: Monsters of the Midway - 34, Blaine Gabbert’s Perm – 9