JACKSONVILLE – Each Saturday during the 2020 season, Jaguars experts will break down the following day's Jaguars matchup.
Up this week:
The Chicago Bears at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville.
J.P. Shadrick, jaguars.com reporter/editor
The Jaguars will win if: They take the ball away a couple of times on defense and if the starting quarterback – Gardner Minshew II or Mike Glennon – make plays above the Xs and Os. Getting rookie running back James Robinson rolling could be a tough task this week. Oh, and I'm not an offensive line or blocking-scheme expert, but block Bears pass rusher Khalil Mack.
The Bears will win if: They continue to ride running back David Montgomery. He has rushed for more than 100 yards in three of the last four games with five rushing touchdowns in that span. We know the issues with the Jaguars' run defense lately – especially against the Cleveland Browns, Tennessee Titans and Baltimore Ravens.
As Shadrick sees it: The Jaguars fight hard, do things the right way and are good guys – but the attrition and roster turnover has depleted the talent. The days of tight games coming down to the wire seem to be over. This coaching staff and team will do everything to try to win, and they should; that's their job. Seeing what happened last week with upset victories by the Cincinnati Bengals and New York Jets, there's always a chance in the NFL. The Bears need the game to keep their NFC playoff hopes alive; though I don't trust the Bears as far as I can throw them, teams that are up against it usually find a way against teams that are out of it.
Brian Sexton, jaguars.com senior correspondent
The Jaguars will win if: The Jaguars will win if they take the Bears' two big game-wreckers out the equation. That means covering wide receiver Allen Robinson and blocking Mack. It's a big ask. Those two are nearly unstoppable and almost always responsible when the Bears win. If the Jaguars can cover A-Rob without an experienced, big-play cornerback and block Mack with two offensive tackles who aren't at the top of their games right now they're doing something right; it probably means other things are going their way also.
The Bears will win if: They get an inspired performance from quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, who is to Chicago what Blake Bortles was to Jacksonville: A Top 5 draft selection who isn't as good as the team expected. But he has had a nice December revival with eight touchdowns and only three interceptions, somewhat along the lines of Bortles in 2017 when he helped the Jaguars secure a playoff spot. If Trubisky can keep it going, the Bears have the playoffs in sight. That's generally enough to beat a team that has the end of their season in sight.
As Sexton sees it: The Bears will win and keep their playoff hopes alive. They're getting hot at the right time with big-time performances from Robinson and Montgomery the last two weeks, and a defense that can take away the run and get after the passer. This one will be close, however, more like recent close Jaguars losses to Cleveland and the Minnesota Vikings than one-sided losses the last two weeks to Baltimore or Tennessee. Chicago isn't a good team, but the Bears are hot and that matters in Week 16.
John Oehser, jaguars.com senior writer
The Jaguars will win if: They play far better than they have the last two weeks – and if a struggling offense can counter a very good – if inconsistent – Bears defense. That's the matchup that seems overwhelmingly in the Bears' favor this week. If the Jaguars get behind, it's hard to imagine the offense handling a Bears defense that can harass opposing quarterbacks into miserable days.
The Bears will win if: They play to the formula used by Tennessee and Baltimore in recent weeks. The Titans and the Ravens dominated an undermanned Jaguars defensive interior, controlling the tempo quickly and taking big first-half leads. The Bears are running well with Montgomery in recent weeks. Why would they change that approach?
As Oehser sees it: This isn't the overwhelming matchup the Jaguars have faced in recent weeks, but the Bears' status as playoff contenders – and their dangerous defense – makes it tough, nonetheless. The Bears may not dominate as much or as early as Tennessee and Baltimore in recent weeks, but it's hard to see them not playing well enough to win.
Jeff Lageman, Jaguars analyst and former Jaguars defensive end
The Jaguars will win if: They find some rhythm as a team and win the turnover battle in a big way. The Jaguars' offense is struggling to be effective after two games not running well, which must happen when the quarterback is not playing well.
The Bears will win if: Montgomery keeps down and distance manageable for a Trubisky-led offense. Robinson will have a productive day against a Jaguars secondary that has used 11 different starting combinations.
As Lageman sees it: This is a tough matchup for the Jaguars – just like last week against Baltimore. The Bears are still in the playoff race, trying to catch the Arizona Cardinals for the final NFC wildcard spot. Jaguars running back James Robinson has been slowed the last couple weeks and may be a bit beat up. The performance of the Jags' quarterback position is not where it needs to be, and Mack will be a handful for the Jaguars' tackles.
Brent Martineau, Action Sports Jax Sports Director
The Jaguars will win if: They hold Montgomery and Robinson under 100 yards. This is all about which offense plays better. If the Jags can control two of Chicago's biggest weapons, then they give themselves a chance to win the final home game.
The Bears will win if: They score more than 24 points. The Jaguar's offense has been slowed by inconsistent play and defenses focusing more on James Robinson. The Bears' defense has the ability to be very good; if it shows up in Jacksonville, it shouldn't be a problem for the visitors.
As Martineau sees it: Jags fans are nervous about this one. I'm not. Chicago is playing really well, and the Bears must win to have a chance at the postseason. They have coaches and a quarterback trying to save their careers. The Jags will show up, play hard and fall short. Chicago will win, 27-19.
Ashlyn Sullivan, Digital reporter and host
The Jaguars will win if: They pressure Trubisky, whose recent hot streak is the main reason Chicago is in the heat of the playoff race. He has his good days … but he can also have bad days with turnovers. The Jaguars' best chance to pull off the upset is if they pressure Trubisky as much as possible.
The Bears will win if: They stick to the run. Montgomery is coming off a 140-yard-plus game and is the Bears' biggest threat. The Jaguars' defense is incredibly depleted. Chicago will run and run often on Sunday, and I don't see how Jacksonville will be able to stop the Bears.
As Sullivan sees it: Many Jaguars fans will be delighted to hear that I think the Jaguars will not win on Sunday. The Jags will fight and scrap; they want a victory more than anyone. But Chicago needs to win to get into the playoffs while the Jaguars want to win just to end this losing streak. I am going Bears.
Frank Frangie, Radio Voice of the Jaguars
The Jaguars will win if: They can find a passing rhythm, get wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. going for the first time in a while, take some pressure off James Robinson. There hasn't been much down the field of late; that is a big key here. And they must somehow slow Montgomery, who has run very well lately.
The Bears will win if: They keep playing well on offense. Trubisky has been much better since being inserted back into the lineup. And they will need to involve Allen Robinson early. A-Rob no doubt wants to play well this week against his former team.
As Frangie sees it: The Bears are red hot, but still prone to offensive lulls, despite how good they've been offensively of late. Their strength is defense, which will make it tough for the Jags. The Bears have everything to play for; this will be a tough matchup for the Jags.
Tony Boselli, Pride of the Jaguars left tackle and radio analyst
The Jaguars will win if: They steal multiple possessions and score in a non-traditional way. The Bears have a very good defense and without Robinson, it's going to be tough to score. For the Jaguars to pull off the upset they will need to be at least plus two in the turnover battle and get a score on defense or special teams.
The Bears will win if:They don't turn it over and Trubisky plays the way he has recently. The Bears have been known for their defense all year, but since Trubisky got his job back they have been lighting up the score board.
As Boselli sees it: This is a tough matchup for the Jaguars, facing one of the better defenses and an offense that has heated up the last couple weeks. It's a chance for Glennon to play against his former team, but without Robinson I think it is going to be tough for the Jags: Bears 30, Jaguars 13.
Rick Ballou, Jaguars Radio Network sideline reporter
The Jaguars will win if: Glennon throws the football downfield. The former Bears quarterback has a chance to officially knock them out of the playoffs. With Robinson out, Glennon will take many chances against the Bears secondary.
The Bears will win if: They run it down the Jaguars throat. Chicago has rushed for 508 yards in the last three games and will continue to do so against a Jacksonville defense wounded by injury. The Bears have also scored 30 plus points in the last three weeks and will be able to do the same Sunday.
As Ballou sees it: Jacksonville will be creative and daring on offense, but it won't be enough against a Bears team playing its best football of the season. Chicago will keep its playoff hopes alive as the Jaguars lose for a 14th consecutive time.