Gridiron Gab Week Sixteen Preview – New York Jets at Chicago

Within the last couple of days, news broke that Rex Ryan’s wife starred in an internet foot fetish video with a gentlemen who’s voice sounded strikingly familiar to that of the New York Jets head coach.

Seems appropriate since this week’s evenly matched, defensive battle could come down to the toe of a kicker.

Here’s a breakdown of which team holds the advantage in all the unit matchups.

Sanchez vs. CHI Defense

Mark Sanchez will be playing with a partial tear in his shoulder. That doesn’t bode well for a 2nd-year QB facing one of the league’s top 5 defenses. Sanchez’s numbers are modest: 54% completion, 16 TDs and 12 INTs.

At this point in his career, he’s still more of a game-manager than a playmaker. However, if he can keep his mistakes to a minimum, the Jets will keep this one close.

  • Advantage: CHI

NY O-Line vs. CHI D-Line

The Bill Callahan-coached Jets O-line features two young, perennial Pro Bowlers in C Nick Mangold and T D’Brickashaw Ferguson. Next to the Patriots, this is probably the best line the Bears have faced all year. But with veteran T Damien Woody likely out with an injury, you have to like Julius Peppers and Izzy Idonije’s chances against a backup.

  • Advantage: CHI

NY Running Game vs. CHI Defense

The Jets duo of LT and Shonn Greene has combined for nearly 1,600 rushing yards and over 4 yards per carry. Offensive Coordinator Brian Schottenheimer will stay patient with the ground game and I expect them to have moderate success throughout the day.

But look for the Bears D to tighten up when they need to and force Sanchez to convert some big, late 3rd and longs.

  • Advantage: NY

NY WRs vs. CHI DBs

Santonio Holmes is banged up. Braylon Edwards is erratic. The Bears won’t give up the deep ball, so the Jets will have to be patient and take what the defense gives them. On a bad surface in wintery conditions, I normally like the WRs…but not this week.

  • Advantage: CHI

Cutler vs. NY Defense

Jay Cutler has said publicly the Bears won’t shy away from visiting Revis Island – the side of the field All-World CB Darrelle Revis usually shuts down. As evidence, consider the numbers he’s allowed to some of the league’s best pass-catchers: Andre Johnson: 4 catches for 32 yards; Calvin Johnson: 1 catch for 13 yards; Terrell Owens: 3 catches for 17 yards. Antonio Cromartie is no slouch on the opposite side of the field.

On one play, Ryan could blitz with 7, then on the next drop 9 into coverage. Cutler will have his hands full trying to read the various blitzes and coverages.

  • Advantage: NY

CHI O-Line vs. NYJ D-Line/OLB

Rex Ryan employs an aggressive 3-4 defense and he likes to bring heat from anywhere and everywhere. Olin Kreutz will be responsible for making the line calls. The Bears offensive line is improved, but keeping Cutler clean with the likes of Jason Taylor, Calvin Pace, David Harris and Bart Scott will be a tall order.

  • Advantage: NY

CHI Running Game vs. NY Defense

Martz’s re-commitment to the ground game during the middle of the season is the #1 reason the Bears have already clinched their division. While the numbers won’t be gaudy against a top-5 rush defense, if the Bears can must 30+ rushes from Forte and Taylor, they’ll walk away with a W.

  • Advantage: CHI

CHI WRs vs. NY DBs

About the only thing the Bears have going for them against Revis, Cromartie and Co. is the element of surprise – on any given play, any one of Chicago’s receivers (including TE Greg Olsen) could be the go-to guy. The Jets won’t be able to key on one main target.

As stated above, Revis has shut down some of the game’s best, and whoever he covers (I’m guessing Knox, mostly) will be a non-factor.

  • Advantage: NY

CHI Special Teams vs. NY Special Teams

The Bears have allowed some big returns in recent weeks vs. the Lions and another against the Vikings. Jets KR Brad Smith has 2 returns for TDs, including last week’s opening kickoff vs. the Steelers. Rex Ryan said he doesn’t plan on kicking to Hester.

Nick Folk has missed 9 field goals this year while Robbie Gould doesn’t miss at home. The punters are even.

  • Advantage: CHI


As you can see, the defenses hold all the cards in this one. In what has the makings of an offensively-challenged, TV-ratings-killing battle, I think the Bears home crowd and kicking advantage will be the difference.

Guess you could say I like the Bears by a couple of feet…

Bears: 16, Jets 10

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