The Chicago Bears are out of the playoff race, with a 3-8 record (4-6-1 ATS). The New York Jets are very much in the thick of things at 6-4 (both SU and ATS). Yet, BetAnySports patrons may have noticed that the Jets are the team with the real QB problem.
And while the Bears may have no choice on Sunday, the Jets have made a decision. For the time being, it’s out with Zach Wilson and in with Mike White. That is the way they will proceed as they meet the Bears at 1 PM ET at MetLife Stadium.
As for Chicago, their situation, as we write this, is very much up in the air. They are not certain whether Justin Fields, the second-year man, will be able to play. It is the opinion of most that they’ll go with Trevor Siemian. The veteran backup has had starting gigs before, with Denver and (briefly) New Orleans.
You have to believe that the Bears’ brass is not unhappy with the way Fields has progressed. At the same time, he admittedly hasn’t had a lot of success reading pro defenses. The fact is, a lot of quarterbacks have a hard time adjusting to the NFL. So Fields and Wilson are not unusual cases, by any stretch. The difference here is that Fields has valuable currency to work with, in the respect that he can run. Wilson is mobile, but not a “running” quarterback.
Right now Fields has run the ball for 834 yards. And that’s a lot for someone at his position. When you throw crucial interceptions, as he has the last couple of games, it shows he has a long way to go. And then you start wondering whether Siemian becomes an improvement or not this week. That would go for White as well.
Bears vs Jets Here Odds
In the NFL betting odds that have been posted on this game at BetAnySports, the Jets are favored:
|Bears||+6 (-110)||38½ (-110)||+215|
|Jets||-6 (-110)||38½ (-110)||-265|
The mystery injury
Justin Fields took a hit last week against Atlanta that caused him to wince. It turns out that it is a shoulder injury. But no one really knows to what extent, or how it will affect him. It is said that it is a partial separation of the left (non-throwing) shoulder, with the AC joint involved. Fields actually practiced on a limited basis on Wednesday and said afterward that if the game had to be played that day, he couldn’t go.
That isn’t a good sign. Head coach Matt Eberflus did not rule out that the injury could end Fields’ season.
The other Bears QB – Siemian
For a guy who leads with his feet, you’d have to believe the Bears wouldn’t want to put Fields in harm’s way. So most people think that Eberflus is simply playing a head game. Maybe he wants the Jets to keep guessing as to who is starting on Sunday. We must admit there is a material difference if Siemian gets the start. Offensive coordinator Luke Getsy is obviously not going to call any designed runs for his quarterback in that instance.
Trevor Siemian filled in for the injured Jameis Winston last year in New Orleans. And he got that call ahead of Taysom Hill, who some had expected to get the gig. You generally know what you’re going to get with him. He’s a guy who tires to keep turnovers down but isn’t spectacular. Last year he completed 57% and had about six yards per attempt. What was impressive was the ratio of eleven TD passes to three INT’s. But he’s rushed for only 203 yards in his whole career. That’s not much more than Fields had in one game against Miami.
So the game plan will be different. Yes, the Bears will emphasize the run; they’ve done that almost 60% of the time. But while there are running backs who can carry a load, it’s all different without what Fields can do. This version of the Bears would be easier to defend.
Jets go for a “White-in”
It’s not that the Jets have given up on Zach Wilson. They just need to do something to stir up the offense. They got 77 yards passing from Wilson in last week’s 10-3 loss to New England. In the second half, he went four for 11 with 12 yards and six sacks. And he didn’t handle the whole thing well. So there’s only so much patience you can have.
When you come off a game where you had 103 yards and six first downs, you can’t sit still.
White is a guy who threw for more than 4000 yards in consecutive seasons at Western Kentucky. He got the call after Wilson got hurt last year. And in his first NFL start, he threw for over 400 yards. He became a popular choice to take over. But a couple of games later, he got intercepted four times against Buffalo, and didn’t see the field again.
Bears vs. Jets, So what’s the verdict?
Whether the starter for the Bears is Fields or Siemian, these guys still haven’t been winning games. And the Jets’ defense is the strongest unit on the field. Only three teams have allowed opponents a lower collective QB rating than they have. Last week against the Patriots they did not permit a touchdown. They sacked Mac Jones six times and limited New England to 297 yards. That’s solid work.
Chicago has not been completely horrid on defense. So they may have a surprise or two for White. But they will be milquetoast on offense. And Robert Saleh and his staff should certainly be ready for that. This leads us in the direction of an “under” here.
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