Dropping a home game to the Saints in on Sunday, the Chicago Bears are on a short week as they welcome in the winless New York Giants for Thursday night primetime action. Can Marc Trestman’s team regain their winning ways against a desperate opponent? Time for a Gameday Preview!
(0-5) New York Giants at
(3-2) Chicago Bears
Normally the strength of the Giant defense, the front four in New York has struggled mightily this season, totaling only five sacks in as many games. Jason Pierre-Paul has been dragged down by a knee injury this season, detracting from a line that lost Osi Umenyiora in the offseason. Justin Tuck has been mostly ineffective, with only a half a sack to his credit. They’re not rushing the passer well and they’re giving up the fourth most rushing yards in the league. Jay Cutler shouldn’t be under much duress and Matt Forte/Michael Bush will have their running lanes.
The Giant secondary is missing corners Corey Webster and Jayron Hosley, meaning Prince Amukamara will be responsible for controlling either Brandon Marshall or Alshon Jeffery, both of those match-ups would favor the bigger Chicago receiver. Antrel Rolle is still lurking at safety, but he’s only one guy. He can’t cover the entire field. Just throw where he isn’t! Tight end Martellus Bennett will be a gametime decision for the Bears, so Cutler may be counting on his receivers on the outside more than normal.
New York’s linebacking unit might be the worst in the NFL. They recently traded for Jon Beason of the Panthers, but Beason is past his prime and injuries have marred what was a promising start to his career. He won’t make much of an impact even if he plays tonight. Cutler and the offense should have their way with this defense.
Mel Tucker’s unit (giggle) will have one definitive job on Thursday night: don’t let Victor Cruz beat you deep. The Giants’ slot wide receiver has been their only positive this season, and has managed to rack up the fifth most receiving yards in the NFL. He averages over 15 yards a catch, so keeping him underneath the coverage and wrapping up on tackles will limit his potential for game-breakiness. Hakeem Nicks has been hampered by injuries this season, so he’s even slower than he normally is. I’d imagine the Bears will use Tillman to lock down Nicks while Jennings and Isaiah Frey will split duties on the speedy Cruz.
Eli Manning has thrown twelve interceptions this season, which is easily tops in the NFL. After not getting a single turnover against the Saints, Chicago’s defense better make up for it with 68 interceptions and/or fumbles tonight. Eli’s been trying to do too much as the Giants have no reliable running back. They’re starting Brandon Jacobs tonight. Yes, the Brandon Jacobs that was declining two years ago and was out of football only a few weeks ago. There aren’t holes big enough for Jacobs to run through cleanly. (Dude’s large.)
The G-Men’s offensive line is atrocious and injured. Center David Baas will miss tonight’s game, leaving the Giants weak to… whatever rotation the Bears can muster at defensive tackle. Well, maybe that’s a wash. But Julius Peppers has to start winning his match-ups on the outside. With no Melton or Collins in the middle, Peppers won’t have the advantage of middle penetration. And we could all use help with middle penetration. (I don’t even know what I mean by that.)
Chicago is a 7.5 point home favorite.
I have enough faith in this team to think they can beat an 0-5 squad with numerous talent issues by more than ten points. Bears. Easy. (Though I won’t say the Bears in primetime doesn’t make me a wee bit nervous.)
How many heart attacks will Joe suffer?
As many long-distance touchdowns as Victor Cruz scores. One or two.
Message to the Bears
The Giants aren’t good at ANYTHING. If you can’t win this game, you don’t really deserve to play in the postseason. So uh… win. And stuff. Or I’ll probably just stop expending so much effort in covering you.
There you go! Check back tonight or tomorrow (likely) for the Gameday Review! Bear Down and Happy Jay Cutler Day!