Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Chicago Bears
Date and Time: Sunday, October 16, 2016, 1 p.m. ET
Location: Soldier Field, Chicago, IL
Week 6 NFL Odds at BookMaker.eu: Bears -2.5, 47
Jaguars vs. Bears TV Coverage: CBS
With Jacksonville going out and spending a boatload of money this past offseason to improve the team on both sides of the ball, many pundits expected Gus Bradley’s squad to finally be a contender within the AFC South. Through the team’s first three games, it was business as usual with the club going winless and incurring an ugly loss at San Diego.
However, the two defeats were extremely competitive with the team falling 27-23 to the Packers and 19-17 to the Ravens. Each loss was incurred at home. It took a trip to London to get the Jags in the win column after scoring the 30-27 win over the Colts as 1 point underdogs. They’ve now had ample time to prepare for Chicago, but stand 1-2 SU and 2-1 ATS out of the bye under the current regime.
The Bears outgained the Colts 522-396 last week in Indianapolis, but still found itself on the short end of a tough to stomach 29-23 defeat. Brian Hoyer threw for 397 yards and two touchdowns, and has done a solid job taking over for the injured Jay Cutler since Week 3. In his three starts, he’s logged QB ratings of 93.7, 120.1 and 120 but will be facing his toughest challenge since taking over versus a Jacksonville defense allowing just 198.8 passing yards per game (No. 7).
While Chicago has moved the ball between the 20s with ease evidenced by it racking up 372.4 yards per game (No. 9), it’s had issues putting points on the board (No. 30 with 17.0 PPG) and has only punched it into the end zone on 53.3 percent of its red zone chances (No. 22). Jacksonville is only allowing 304.5 yards per game (No. 7), so the Bears will have to do a much better job of finishing off drives with touchdowns if it expects to live up to linemakers expectations as the favorite in this matchup.
Player to Watch
Jordan Howard – All of a sudden, Chicago has a playmaker in its backfield in the form of the rookie running back out of Indiana University. Since being tabbed the RB1 due to an injury to Jeremy Langford, all the former Hoosier has done is surpass 100 yards rushing in both games and add another target for Brian Hoyer out of the backfield with him reeling in 12 receptions for 122 yards and a touchdown.
Jacksonville has been beatable on the ground with it giving up 105.8 yards per game (No. 17) at 4.0 yards per carry (No. 14). John Fox loves to run the ball and rely on his defense to keep the team in the game. No reason to go away from that train of thought in this matchup.
Jaguars vs. Bears Free Picks
These teams have only played six times since the Jacksonville franchise entered the league. Chicago stands 4-2 SU and ATS in those meetings all-time, but hasn’t run up against the Jags since 2012. Those records are completely meaningless with Jacksonville only just taking baby steps towards finally turning its fortunes around last season.
While Chicago has shown some improvement the last two weeks beating the Lions and giving the Colts a run for their money in their own house, I don’t agree with it being the favored side on the current NFL odds at BookMaker.eu. Jacksonville is better on both sides of the ball than the Bears, and with Chicago not adept at forcing interceptions (3), Blake Bortles likely won’t kill his team with poorly timed interceptions. Even though the Jags have won one game to date, it’s still in the running within the weak AFC South. In order to remain there, it must win a game like this on the road against a very beatable opponent.
Jaguars vs. Bears ATS Pick: Jaguars +2.5 at BookMaker.eu
Jaguars vs. Bears Score Prediction: Jaguars 23 – Bears 20