The Chicago Bears have had an eventful season thus far, losing their first game in lackluster fashion and then winning their second with a remarkable comeback against a tough opponent. Now, things will have the potential to get even zanier, as they head to the Big Apple (okay, it’s technically New Jersey) to take on the New York Jets in a Monday night matchup.
While a victory would only assure them of a tie atop the division standings with the Detroit Lions, it would still be nice to go into Sunday’s matchup with the Green Bay Packers on a winning note.
With that in mind, here are the five Bears players that fans should keep an eye on as Monday’s game gets going.
With Shea McClellin out of the lineup thanks to a broken hand that he suffered in practice Thursday, Bostic is likely going to start for the Bears at the strong side linebacker position. He’s played a lot already this season, mostly in nickel formations, but what bears watching is how he responds when the Jets run the ball. Bostic occasionally loses gap discipline, and his ability to diagnose plays has come into question, so this will be a big test to see where he is in his development as a player.
Outside of the Brandon Marshall saga, arguably the week’s biggest story has been whether or not Forte will be able to get his game going against a really tough Jets run defense. The Bears will likely try to establish the run early to take some pressure off the offensive line (and Jay Cutler), so Forte will need to be ready to go as soon as the opening kickoff takes place.
While Jared Allen forced a fumble and had several disruptions last week against the San Francisco 49’ers, Houston has had a bit more quiet start to the season for the Bears. With Willie Young also excelling, look for Houston to try to join the party as an impact defensive end in this game.
The Bears’ offensive line kept humming along last week without Matt Slauson and Roberto Garza, but Ola had a bit of a rough game, allowing a sack and several hurries in the contest. While the Bears are going to try to run the ball a bit more this week, the Jets’ stout run defense could force Chicago back to the passing game, and Ola will have to improve on his pass protection to keep Cutler upright.
Jeremiah Ratliff will also miss Monday’s game for the Bears, and that means that Sutton and Ego Ferguson will be tasked with replacing him in the lineup. Sutton has shown some great skill in his first few games with the Bears, but he still has something to prove after the dominance that Ratliff showed in the first two weeks against the run. It’s a lot to live up to, and the rookie will get his first real test against Chris Johnson and Chris Ivory.