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Where Bears Own an Edge Against Jets

Analysis: The Jets are much improved and on a hot streak despite two losses in three weeks to New England, but there are positions where the Bears can own an edge in Sunday's game besides quarterback.

The Bears and New York Jets are two teams with polar opposite situations revolving around the quarterback position.

The Jets are poised for a playoff berth with five wins in seven games, the only losses coming against New England. They possess a strong defense and much-improved play on the offensive line, as well as at receiver. They only lack a quarterback who has the leadership skills to take them where they need to go next in the rebuild.

The Bears seem to have QB identified with Justin Fields, but the other pieces of their rebuild need to come next year after they've exhausted all the moves they can put into play this season.

Without those parts, they're losing one close game after another.

Despite the situation, the Bears have some positions where they are clearly getting better play and here are matchups they should control in Sunday's game at New Jersey.

Bears DT Justin Jones vs. Jets LG Laken Tomlinson

Jones is coming off two very active games, possibly his best consecutive games. His energy has become more and more obvious on the defensive front and the Bears defense allowed less than 300 yards for first time in four games. Jones is particularly disruptive getting into the gap against running attacks for a TFL, or to break up interference on a run. Facing Tomlinson offers this opportunity. Tomlinson is ranked 80th of 83 guards graded by Pro Football Focus at run blocking and 64th of 83 overall guards graded by PFF. At 6-3, 315, Tomlinson, a Chicago native from Duke, isn't going to overpower Jones. Tomlinson started five straight years for the 49ers after two years as a Lions starter. He hasn't really had a season as poor as this one, according to PFF grade, and last year owned the 11th best PFF grade from among 69 players graded for zone run blocking last year.

Bears S Jaquan Brisker vs. Jets TE Tyler Conklin

Conklin had a hot start after coming over from the Vikings but has just 17 catches for 191 yards since Week 3 and his yards per catch on the year is the worst it's been since he became a starter. PFF grades him 40th of 70 tight ends. Brisker is coming off his career-best tackles day (11) and for a rookie has been excelling. PFF has him graded the 30th best safety out of 86 it has graded. Pitting a tight end against Brisker is playing into his hands. Brisker has 38 tackles in his last five games as his production seems to be on the uptick.

Bears TE Cole Kmet vs. Jets LB Quincy Williams

Kmet owns a 7-inch height advantage over the small (5-11, 225) Jets weakside linebacker and is a player they can go to over the middle to extend drives now that it appears unlikely Justin Fields is going to do much running. Kmet has caught 17 of 22 targets in his last five games and, although he had his touchdown streak end at three games last week, he did make what he admitted was the best catch of his football career, a one-hander on the run downfield from Fields. The Patriots just finished beating the Jets using tight ends for five receptions and 60 yards.

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Bears WR Darnell Mooney vs. Jets S Lamarcus Joyner

This is an open invitation for Mooney to get isolated on deep patterns against Joyner, who is only 5-8, 185 pounds. The Bears can get the ball deep to any one of several tall receivers if they can get them isolated on Joyner, who does a good job battling through this shortcoming in most situations but with the Bears possessing receivers who are 6-foot-5, 6-4 and two who are 6-1 besides Mooney, not to mention 6-6 tight end Kmet, the chances are the safety who is 5-8 is going to be a factor at some point. Sportradar tracks Joyner at a 106.2 passer rating against when targeted this year, including three touchdowns allowed. He does have three interceptions, though. Mooney last week had a rare instance where the Bears let him use his raw speed and Fields overthrew him when he got wide open on a deep ball. Expect him to get the chance in this one.

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