The Chicago Bears head into EverBank Field on Saturday afternoon as 5.5 point favorites, looking to continue their momentum on a short week after blowing out the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football. The Jaguars are coming off another disheartening loss to the Cincinnati Bengals where the offense once again looked woeful.
The Jaguars defense didn't look much better either, as Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green did virtually whatever he wanted against the Jaguars defense, catching Rashean Mathis in single coverage much more often than he should have. The Jaguars defense also failed to put pressure on Andy Dalton, giving him all day to throw the football and pick the Jaguars defense apart, as the only time he hit the turf was on a late hit by the Jaguars defense.
The Jaguars have an opportunity to begin getting a pass rush and have something to build on against the Bears, who's pass protection has been woeful, possibly even worse than what we've seen for the Jaguars so far on the season. Bears left tackle Ja'Marcus Webb has struggled much of the season and quarterback Jay Cutler has shown if you can hit him early and often, he'll get rattled and force passes, making mistakes.
The biggest task for the Jaguars on Sunday however, will be dealing with a stellar Chicago Bears defensive front. The Bears have 15 sacks through the first four games, with defensive tackle Henry Melton having twice as many sacks himself than the Jaguars entire defense. The Bears also sport Julius Peppers, who is still one of the best pass rushers in the entire NFL. The Jaguars line has struggled to protect quarterback Blaine Gabbert so far on the season, especially from the right side and from the interior.
Jaguars guard Eben Britton was benched at halftime against the Bengals, after Geno Atkins at his lunch on virtually every play. Britton looks to get the start again and will likely face off against Melton and possibly Peppers, who slides inside at times and rushes from the defensive tackle position. The Bears have the ability to make the Jaguars one-dimensional and stop the run, which will force their hand to throw the football, which they've struggled with all season.
Official Prediction: Bears 30, Jaguars 13
[Photo credit: Mike DiNovo-US PRESSWIRE]