Bears Look To Beat Slumping Jets
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CHICAGO (AP) – Rex Ryan and the New York Jets would like to focus on business matters instead of personal ones. The Chicago Bears have already taken care of their business by winning the NFC North.
Ryan and the Jets will try to overcome the latest bizarre controversy and clinch a return to the playoffs when they face the Bears on Sunday at Soldier Field for the first time in 13 years.
New York (10-4) needs a win to secure a second consecutive playoff berth. However, Ryan found himself in the middle of a report this week claiming he and his wife, Michelle, participated in foot-fetish videos available on the Internet.
The videos show a woman displaying her feet to an off-screen cameraman who, in one video, sounds like Ryan. The two are having an intimate chat about her feet.
“I understand I’m going to get asked this question frontways, sideways, backways, and all this, but it is a personal matter,” Ryan said.
Cornerback Darrelle Revis agreed.
“Foot fetish? Whatever,” Revis said. “I mean, that’s his wife. At the end of the day, that’s his wife and he can do whatever he wants with his wife. It’s not like he’s out committing adultery or anything negative.”
Ryan’s apparent fetish is the latest controversy surrounding the Jets, who last week suspended strength and conditioning coach Sal Alosi indefinitely for tripping a Miami player and ordering inactive players to form a sideline wall.
“We’re going to be ready to play Chicago,” Ryan said. “I am ready. This is my job and I’m focused on the job at hand.”
Ryan kept the Jets focused last week, as they won 22-17 at AFC North-leading Pittsburgh after consecutive losses, including a disappointing 10-6 home defeat to the Dolphins in Week 14.
A visit to Chicago presents another daunting task before concluding the regular season at home against last-place Buffalo on Jan. 2.
The Bears have already clinched their third division title in six seasons and won of six of seven following a 40-14 win on Monday night in a game moved to TCF Stadium on the campus of the University of Minnesota.
“That’s always good to get rid of that – to get in the playoffs and know that we’re in it, not have to worry about it, just go out and play and have some fun these next two games,” said quarterback Jay Cutler, who had three touchdowns and one interception against the Vikings and hadn’t reached the playoffs in four previous seasons – three with Denver.
Chicago needs to beat the Jets and win at Green Bay in the regular-season finale to get a first-round bye in the playoffs.
While Cutler has a 130.9 passer rating in Chicago’s last three wins, Devin Hester continues to be one of the Bears’ top scoring threats.
Against the Vikings, he had a 15-yard scoring grab before retuning a punt 64 yards for a TD, setting the NFL record with his 14th career return for a touchdown.
“He’s a special player,” Cutler told the team’s official website. “He’s a guy that can break games open, he can change field position. Why anybody is still kicking to him is a mystery.”
The Jets also boast one of the top return threats in the NFL in Brad Smith, who returned the opening kickoff against the Steelers 97 yards for a score. He’s returned two kicks for touchdowns and averages 29.1 yards on kickoffs to rank among the league leaders.
New York, which is 6-1 on the road, would prefer Mark Sanchez become the more reliable scoring source. He hasn’t thrown a touchdown pass in three games, while tossing four picks. He ran for a score against Pittsburgh, giving the Jets their first offensive touchdown in three weeks.
Sanchez, though, is nursing a sore shoulder.
“I’m playing, that’s all there is to it,” he said. “I have to be on the field. That’s what I’m here for and that’s what I’m going to do.”
Sanchez will have to contend with Julius Peppers and a Bears defense that allowed 273 total yards against the Vikings, compiling four sacks with one knocking Brett Favre out of the game with a concussion.
Chicago’s defense didn’t look nearly as effective Dec. 12, giving up a season-high 475 yards – 351 passing – in a snowy 36-7 home loss to New England.
The Jets won in their last visit to Chicago in November 1997, and lost to the Bears in Champaign, Ill. in December 2002 when Soldier Field was under renovation.