New York Jets
(10-4, 8-6 ATS)
(10-4, 7-6-1 ATS)
The Jets are in great shape in spite of the fact that they are just one loss or one New England Patriots win away from knowing that they need to win three road games to reach the Super Bowl. They just need a ‘W’ either this week or next week against the Buffalo Bills to ensure a playoff spot. New York has been arguably the best road team in the league this year, going 6-1, with the one loss being to the New England Patriots. Though QB Mark Sanchez has been listed as probable on the injury reports all week long, there is growing speculation that he might be more hurt than the Jets are leading on. Head Coach Rex Ryan says that his signal caller is “80%” to start. In his second year in the NFL, Sanchez has really shined, throwing for 3,009 yards and 16 scores. Those numbers might be slightly pedestrian, but when you’ve got two running backs in Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson that have combined to run the ball 380 times for 1,574 yards, you can afford to take fewer chances in the passing game.
The Bears already have their postseason ticket punched, and they know that they are going to have a home game to show for their work. The question is whether they will be the No. 2 seed and get to play at home in the divisional round of the playoffs, or whether they’ll slip back to No. 3 and have to play most likely the winner of the duel between the Green Bay Packers and New York Giants in the Wild Card round. Chicago can’t afford to relent, as even one slip opens the door for the Philadelphia Eagles to barge in and take its No. 2 seed. Without a 3,000 yard passer, a 1,000 yard rusher, or a 1,000 yard receiver, it’s a wonder how the Bears have done enough offensively to have ten wins. We must admit that watching a team put up 291.6 yards per game and rank third to last in the league, in front of just the Arizona Cardinals and Carolina Panthers, is a bit nauseating. That sick feeling is only made worse knowing that QB Jay Cutler could go off for four picks in any game that he plays. However, you should rest assured when making NFL picks on this team, as the Bears are allowing just 310.9 yards and 17.3 points per game, and they clearly have the most feared defense in the NFC.
It’s debatable which team has more on the line in this one, but the Bears really need to prove that they can take care of business here at Soldier Field. Sure, they have wins against the Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles here, but those losses to the Seattle Seahawks, Washington Redskins, and New England Patriots are glaring. Don’t be shocked to see the hosts get the job done and make a statement in the regular season home finale.
NFL Free Pick: Chicago Bears -1