Free NFL Pick: New York Jets at Chicago 12-26-2010

December 23, 2010

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New York Jets at Chicago Bears

Sunday December 26th, 2010 1:00 PM EST

Line: Chicago -1

Overview:

The Chicago Bears clinched the division last week by moving to 10-4 with their victory over the Vikings on Monday Night. Now, their focus moves to getting the best seed possible and keeping the momentum they have racked up over the past seven games. The Bears are 6-1 in the last seven games, but face two tough games to close out the season. This week, they will take on the New York Jets, who are coming off a huge victory against the Steelers last week.

The Jets are 10-4 and while their game against Buffalo in Week 17 looks like a sure victory, a loss to the Bears this week may allow the Ravens to secure the number one Wild Card spot. The Jets all but guaranteed themselves a spot in the playoffs with their win over Pittsburgh last week, but if they enter a skid to close out the season, nothing is guaranteed.

Keys to the Game:

  • The Bears have been a force on defense. They are one of the best teams in the league at stopping the run, allowing just under 90 yards on the ground a game. Brian Urlacher is playing some of the best football of his career and everyone on the Bears defense is playing unselfish, aggressive football. It appears as though the Bears bought in on defense and given their personnel in their front seven, if Lance Briggs, Julius Peppers, and Urlacher can keep up their recent play, the Bears are going to be a force going into the playoffs and beyond.
  • He might be up and down, but Braylon Edwards proved last week he can have a big game against a great defense. With 100 yards receiving against the Steelers, Edwards stepped up in the place of a struggling Santonio Holmes. He has a horrible habit of dropping seemingly easy passes. Holmes was brought in to be the go to guy on the big stage, but if Edwards can tap into his potential down the stretch, he can be a difference maker.

Key Matchup:

Julius Peppers Vs. Mark Sanchez

  • Julius Peppers continues to make his presence felt for four quarters. He knocks down passes, terrorizes quarterbacks despite being double teamed on nearly every play, and has five turnovers this year. He makes life easier on everyone on the defense by commanding the complete attention of the offense on every play.
  • Mark Sanchez has to keep his cool, despite having #90 in pursuit of him the entire game. He has thrown four picks and no touchdowns in his last three games. Sanchez needs to get back on track. His team has rallied around him and came away with a win last week, in spite of him. This is the time where the second year quarterback needs to be at his best, and he simply hasn’t been. Sanchez is going to hit the turf, but it is important he doesn’t create costly turnovers.

Wrap Up:

The Jets reestablished their status as a dangerous team with their win over the Steelers last week. The Bears are one of the hottest teams in the NFL and look ready to make a run at the Super Bowl. While this may not be a preview of the Championship, it is nice to see games between such good teams late into December. The Jets should give them a run for their money, but I think the pressure is going to get to quarterback Mark Sanchez at some point.

Free NFL Pick: Chicago -1


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