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Jets-Bears: 5 Storylines

What to Watch For Heading Into Week 8


No Waiting for Next Year
Last year, the Jets fell to 3-4 with a grueling 31-28 loss to the Dolphins in Week 7. They ended up losing the next week, dropping a 25-20 contest to the Falcons, and ultimately lost seven of their final nine games and finished 5-11.

Shortly after the Jets fell to 3-4 Sunday with a 37-17 defeat to the Vikings, second-year safety Jamal Adams emphatically stated there would be no repeat of 2017. Adams, who had nine tackles against Minnesota including three behind the line of scrimmage, is determined to lead the Green & White to a different finish his sophomore campaign.

"I think we're close. This team is a great team," a defiant Adams told reporters Sunday. "We have a 53-man roster full of a lot of talent, let's just put it like that. And there's no waiting for next year, we're rebuilding … there's none of that. At the end of the day, I think this team right here can be special, as long as we continue to do the little things.

"We have to finish the ballgame."

A Tough Blow
Veteran running back Bilal Powell was placed on injured reserve Tuesday morning. His 3,446 yards on the ground rank 10th on the franchise's all-time rushing list, just two yards shy of surpassing Adrian Murrell for the 9th spot. The longest tenured Jet, a fourth-round pick from Louisville in 2011, will turn 30 on Oct. 27th. He was steady as ever though seven games as his 4.3 yards per carry was just a shade off his career average of 4.4.

"I'll be 30 and that's a blessing in itself," the Lakeland, FL native, who thought he was going to bleed to his death after he was stabbed in a street fight when he was 16, told me early this season. "Just being 30 in this league and knowing the statistics of running backs' careers. Just being able to suppress that 3.5 year average was already something that was big for me, but here in year eight, you get a chance to mentor some of the younger guys that come in and have a bright future can play for longer than I'll probably play."

Isaiah Crowell leads the Green & White with 459 yards on the ground and five rush scores, but he's been hobbled of late with a foot injury. Rookie Trenton Cannon showcased his speed against Minnesota, amassing 69 yards on four receptions including a 35-yard gain on a wheel route. The talented Eli McGuire won't be eligible to come off injured reserve until at least next week. While the Bears weren't exactly stout against the run in their 38-31 loss to the Patriots last Sunday (27-108-4.0), they still own the NFL's fourth-ranked rush defense (87.5 Yds/G). And Sam Darnold now will be without two of Jets top weapons in WR Quincy Enunwa, who remains out with a sprained ankle, and Powell.

Best Images from Wednesday's Practice at 1 Jets Drive

Special Opportunity
After a 3-1 start, the Bears are riding a two-game losing streak. They yielded 14 points to the Pats on a blocked punt and a 95-yard kickoff return from Cordarrelle Patterson. Jets return man Andre Roberts, who had two fumbles against the Vikings, also had 53- and 42-yard kickoff returns last Sunday. He is one of three players with at least two kickoff yards of 40+yards and his 18.8-yard punt return average ranks second in the NFL.

"I feel like when I do get a good opportunity, I have a chance to either take it to the house or a big return," Roberts said this week on Inside the Jets. "I think my teammates expect that out of me now and I try to provide that every time I touch the ball."

Roberts, who said Sunday's conditions were the most difficult he's ever played in, will be prepared for the elements in the Windy City.

"It's one of those things where we do practice in the wind from time to time. Last week, if you were outside at all, it was windy all week," he said. "We got a little bit of work with that, but I put that on myself. I have to practice that and get better with that. Sometimes it's a little inconsistent with the wind especially like the way it was gusting on Sunday, but you have to catch them all."

Tru Test
The numbers have been solid for Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky. The second-year pro is connecting on 65.9% of his throws for 1,594 yards with 13 touchdowns and just six interceptions. Trubisky is an excellent athlete who rushed for 81 yards against the Patriots and has gained 245 yards on the ground along with two rush touchdowns. But the word out of Chicago is Trubisky hasn't seen open receivers down the field and he still struggles with bouts of inaccuracy.

Chicago first-year head coach Matt Nagy, an Andy Reid protégé, will test the Jets with his scheme. The Bears have surrounded Trubisky with some intriguing weapons and the Jets are banged up in the defensive backfield, but reinforcements could be on the way as cornerback Buster Skrine (concussion) and safeties Marcus Maye (thumb) and Rontez Miles (knee) all were suited up for practice Wednesday. Maye's backup, Doug Middleton, suffered a pectoral injury in Week 7 and was placed on injured reserve Tuesday.

"As you know, it's going to next man up. We don't think we'll have too much of a drop off," said veteran cornerback Morris Claiborne, whose nine pass defenses are tied for second in the league. "We have some good guys in our room that we feel like can step in and play immediately. Obviously it won't be the starters, but we feel like we have guys that we can put in and hold it down until those guys get back."

Mack Daddy
The Bears racked up 18 sacks during their 3-1 start. They've had just one the past two games and are now 3-3. It's no coincidence that their star player — Khalil Mack — has a hobbled wheel and Nagy indicated Mack will again be limited at practice this week. After racking up five sacks in his first four games with the Bears, Mack was quiet in losses to the Dolphins and the Patriots. The Bears sent the Raiders first-round picks in 2019 and 2020, a third-round pick in 2020 and a sixth-round pick in 2019 to acquire Mack, in addition to a second-round pick in 2020 and a conditional fifth-rounder in 2020. Mack, who was used to drop quite a bit against the Patriots, is one of the league's top players when healthy. Will he be full go on Sunday after more rest and treatment on that valuable right ankle? Would the Bears consider sitting him?

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