The Bears are struggling at 1-4 after a tough road loss to the Colts with a fourth quarter collapse. Chicago hosts the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3) at Soldier Field at 1 PM on Sunday. The Bears are in a must win situation already to try and salvage their season. The Jaguars are coming off a bye after a win against the same Colts in London.
Bears Passing Offense
Brian Hoyer is playing well with a surprising 108.5 QB rating with 6 TDs and 0 interceptions, 71.4% completion and 7.8 YPA in 4.5 games. Hoyer’s play and the newly established run game led by Jordan Howard wasn’t enough (23 points) for Chicago in Week 5 (gave up 29 points) but will help them going forward if it continues.
Alshon Jeffrey and his 394 yards at 17.9 YPC is leading the way for the Bears as always. Eddie Royal has 284 yard and 2 TDs out of the slot and Tight End Zach Miller has chipped in 229 yards and 3 TDs. The Bears have the weapons, despite Kevin White on IR, and have protected Hoyer a decent amount in the last two weeks.
Jacksonville has been below average (19th) allowing 92.7 rating through 4 games. The Bears have a good shot to have a productive day through the air against Jacksonville despite some talent in the Jaguars secondary (Ramsey, House, Gibson).
The Jaguars pass rush is improved but not great. Rookie Yannick Ngakoue and 2nd year player Dante Fowler have 3 and 2 sacks respectively but don’t bring a consistent pass rush all the time from the DE spot. Malik Jackson (DT) has been solid but not the game changer expected by his contract this offseason. Jared Odrick has been average and Roy Miller and Senderrick Marks could do more at defensive tackle.
The Bears have some tackle issues but are strong along the interior of their offensive line. If the Bears protect Hoyer, he could continue his success. Davon House and Jalen Ramsey have talent but can be beat by Jeffrey, Royal and Miller. Chicago must avoid fumbles as backup tight end Camon Meredith had a second costly fumble in Week 5.
Bears Rushing Attack
Jordan Howard has been a great rookie 5th round pick. Howard has averaged 5.8 YPC and has revived the Bears rushing attack. The Jaguars are average allowing 4.0 YPC so the Bears have a chance for more rushing success. If the Bears run well, they will put up plenty of points on the Jaguars at Soldier Field.
Paul Posluzney, Dan Skuta and Telvin Smith are solid linebackers for the Jaguars. Jacksonville has the capability to stop Howard with their front 7. If they do that, their defense can rear back and hit Hoyer on long down and distances. If that happens, Jacksonville could steal this game in Chicago.
Jaguars Passing Attack
Blake Bortles has surprisingly struggled despite being hyped all the off-season and all his weapons. Bortles has a 79.4 rating with 7 TDs and 6 interceptions with 61.3% completion but only 6.6 YPA. Allen Robinson has 238 yard and 3 TDs and Allen Hurns notched 226 yard and 1 TD. Marquie Lee has shown improvement in the slot but Julius Thomas could do more (148 yards and 1 TD). Jacksonville clearly has the weapons and the Bears secondary is susceptible against the pass. Chicago has allowed a 92.5 QB rating while missing Kyle Fuller (IR) but the Bears safeties (Amos and Jones-Quartey) have been solid. Porter and Callahan have been average and the Bears hope Diondre Hall improves as a rookie.
Jacksonville must protect Bortles but the Bears struggle to generate consistent pass rush. Willie Young (4 sacks) and Akiem Hicks (2) are capable veteran pass rushers. Leonard Floyd hasn’t shown much for Chicago despite being a first round pick. Chicago hopes Eddie Goldman (NT) and Jonathan Bullard (DE) can get healthy to help Chicago’s defense. Trevathan is a stud ILB for Chicago in the run, blitz and coverage. Pernell McPhee is still on PUP for this game but could return soon to boost the Bears pass rush. Jerrell Freeman has been playing well and helps the Bears coverage of tight ends. Freeman and Trevathan must play well against Julius Thomas this week.
Jacksonville Rush Attack
The Jaguars have really struggled to run the ball. TJ Yeldon tallied only 3.2 YPC so far and Chris Ivory notched 2.2 YPC (after a hospital stint). Luke Joeckel was injured in Week 4 at left guard but the Jaguars need more from their remaining starters on the offensive line especially Beachum and Parnell at tackle. Chicago is average (15th) allowing 4.0 YPC. We’ll see if Yeldon and Ivory finally get going in Week 6.
Bears need this one and can take advantage of a struggling Bortles and Jaguars run game. Hoyer does just enough and Howard is a good workhorse. The Bears win 24-21.