After the Jets’ performance in the loss to the Vikings last week was disrupted by the windy conditions, it doesn’t get any easier this week as they head to the Windy City to face the Bears. Although Chicago is only 3-3, they shouldn’t be underestimated, as their three losses have been by one, three and seven points. They’re looking to avoid a three-game losing streak though.
Let’s review how their roster shapes up:
The Bears quarterback is Mitchell Trubisky, who is in his second year as a starter having taken over the reins early on in his rookie season. Statistically, he’s off to a good start, as he has a quarterback rating of 97.1 and has also added 245 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
Chase Daniel is Trubisky’s backup. Since 2014, Daniel has thrown just three NFL passes, earning just under $20 million during that time.
The Bears pass protection has been pretty solid so far this year. Trubisky has been sacked 14 times but several of those were because he held the ball too long. Having said that they do really on him to escape the rush at times too.
The Bears are led by Charles Leno Jr., who has quietly developed into one of the league’s most reliable left tackles. Cody Whitehair at center gives them another solid young building block too.
Kyle Long is the Bears’ highest paid lineman, as the right guard is in year three of a four-year, $40 million deal. Another veteran, Bobby Massie, is the right tackle.
At left guard, former sixth round pick Eric Kush won the starting job over rookie James Daniels in camp, but has been sharing reps with Daniels over the past few games and has been ruled out on Sunday, so Daniels will make his first start.
Chicago has plenty of experience on the bench with journeymen Bradley Sowell at tackle and Bryan Witzmann at guard having 36 career starts between them. Their most interesting reserve might be converted nose tackle Rashaad Coward, but he hasn’t played yet this year.
At running back, leading rusher Jordan Howard is coming off a season where he racked up over 1,100 rushing yards and nine touchdowns. However, he’s averaging just 3.5 yards per carry this year.
Youngster Tarik Cohen is creating a big buzz though, as the change of pace back is emerging as a force. Having caught 53 passes as a rookie, he is averaging almost five yards per carry and has 29 receptions already.
Reserve Benny Cunningham and fullback Michael Burton haven’t played much yet this season.
Allen Robinson is the Bears’ highest-paid offensive player, but he’s been listed as questionable having missed a few practices earlier in the week. Robinson has 25 catches so far this year but the team’s leading receiver is actually Taylor Gabriel with 30.
Off the bench, the Bears have Kevin White, who was the player selected after Leonard Williams in the 2015 draft. He’s been a big disappointment so far, as injuries have slowed his progress. Until last week, he had no catches this season, but he caught two passes against New England, including a Hail Mary pass that saw him stopped just a yard shy of the game-tying touchdown.
Anthony Miller, a second-round rookie, has had more immediate success than White with 11 catches and a couple of touchdowns. He’s a good athlete and a threat from the slot.
Tight end Trey Burton, an offseason pickup, leads the Bears with four touchdown catches. His backup, Dion Sims, had a two-touchdown game against the Jets in 2016 while with Miami.
The Bears run a 3-4 system, anchored by veteran defensive end Akiem Hicks, who is a premier run stopper and has also chipped in with three sacks.
Eddie Goldman and Jonathan Bullard, two former day two picks, are the starters at nose tackle and the other end position respectively. However, Roy Robertson-Harris and rookie Bilal Nichols also get plenty of rotational reps.
The outlook for the Bears changed dramatically when they traded a haul of draft picks for Raiders edge defender and the former defensive player of the year, Khalil Mack, then signed him to a massive extension.
Mack had been as good as advertised with five sacks and four forced fumbles in the first four games, but he’s been slowed by an ankle injury over the past few games and the Bears have been cautious with him in practice. Mack usually lines up almost exclusively on the left, but has been playing more on the right over the past few weeks, so Kelvin Beachum - who himself has been listed as questionable - might see more of Mack than anticipated.
The other outside linebacker is Leonard Floyd, who is a good athlete but has made an underwhelming start to the season so far. Aaron Lynch is the Bears’ most experienced backup, as the former 49er has 17 career sacks.
On the inside, the Bears pair a talented rookie - Roquan Smith - with an experienced veteran, leading tackler Danny Trevathan.
Nick Kwiatkoski, a mid-round pick from two years ago, is typically the first linebacker off the bench.
The Bears have received excellent play from their cornerbacks this year with starters Kyle Fuller and Prince Amukamara putting up excellent coverage numbers along with nickelback Bryce Callahan. Fuller leads the team with three interceptions.
Veteran Marcus Cooper has missed the last month with a hamstring injury but is now apparently ready to return to provide a further boost.
Eddie Jackson, a fourth round pick last season, and Adrian Amos are the starting safeties. Deon Bush, another recent draft pick, is the third safety.
Placekicker Cody Parkey got a new contract with $9 million in guarantees - the third highest of any kicker in the NFL - but his overtime miss against the Dolphins earlier this season cost the Bears a valuable win. He’s made 10 of his other 11 field goals this year though.
Punter Pat O’Donnell is also coming off a rough game where the Patriots blocked one of his punts for a touchdown.
Cohen is deadly in the return game. He’s averaging 12.5 yards per punt return this year. However, Cunningham and Miller have been handling kickoff duties so far.
Cunningham is also a solid contributor in kick coverage, as are reserve defensive backs Sherrick McManis and DeAndre Houston-Carson.