(3-8) vs Chicago (8-3)
The Chicago Bears
played their last game on Thanksgiving in Detroit. It was all tied up in the fourth
quarter, but Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford threw interceptions on back to
back drives that gave the Bears a 23-16 win.
Last Sunday the Giants had everything
going their way in Philadelphia. They led 19-3 at one point in the game, and in
the second half allowed the Eagles to tie the score and then go on to win, 25-22.
- Eagle Wrap-Up
The last time the Chicago Bears were
in the playoffs was in 2010 after winning the NFC North division title. With their
8-3 record, the Bears are in the lead right now, with the Minnesota Vikings trailing
them at 6-4-1. Meanwhile, Green Bay and Detroit have each won only four games.
The Bears are 3-1 in their division games, including a win over the second place
Vikings. The Bears had moved on from quarterback Jay Cutler, who played his last
game with them 2016, a 22-16 loss to the Giants. The quarterback issue was settled
when they moved up in the draft to select Mitchell Trubisky in 2017.
won only five games last year, and parted ways with head coach John Fox. The defense
improved under his tenure, but the offense lagged. Matt Nagy was brought in to
fix that. Nagy was a quarterbacks coach and then offensive coordinator, working
under Andy Reid with the Kansas City Chiefs. Now as the head coach of the Bears,
he has taken them to eight wins, a height they haven't seen since 2013. The team
is also scoring 12 points more a game over last year, and the defense has grown
Giants won't be seeing quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, who has shown great improvement
over his rookie year. Trubisky had thrown 20 touchdown passes, and only 9 interceptions,
and he's the second leading rusher on the team with 363 rushing yards. Trubisky
actually leads all NFL quarterbacks with his rushing yards. Trubisky injured his
right shoulder on a slide late in the fourth quarter, following a 5-yard run in
his game with the Vikings.
Backup Chase Daniel will step in and make his second
consecutive start, and only the fourth of his career. Before Detroit's game, Daniel
had thrown only 78 passes since coming into the league in 2010, but he had played
in head coach Matt Nagy's system for several years in Kansas City. Jordan Howard
is the lead rusher, and second-year running back Tarik Cohen is next. Cohen is
also the second leading receiver on the team. Cohen and top receiver Taylor Gabriel
certainly made things easier for Daniel in his first start. Each one caught 7
of 8 passes he threw their way, including Cohen's touchdown.
Bears defense was already good, but that didn't stop them from making a trade
with the Oakland Raiders for outside linebacker Khalil Mack. When he was with
Oakland last year, the defense was ranked 24th in sacks, but that wasn't Mack's
fault, he had 10.5 sacks. The year before that the Raiders were 32nd, and he had
11 sacks. Before that, he had 15. You get the idea, and can see why the Bears
thought he was worth two first-round draft picks, and a contract that made him
the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history. Although he's missed two games
with an ankle injury, Mack leads the Bears with 8.0 sacks, is tied for the NFL
lead with five forced fumbles, and has an interception he returned for a touchdown.
Bears know how to draft as well. Linebacker Roquan Smith, their first-round draft
choice, leads the team with 81 tackles, and he has 4.0 sacks. Safety Eddie Jackson,
selected by the Bears in the fourth round of 2017, has 2 defensive touchdowns.
Overall Chicago leads the NFL with 29 takeaways. They have six defensive touchdowns,
20 interceptions, and 16 forced fumbles. It
should be noted that Mack was named the NFC's Defensive Player of the Month for
September, and Jackson for the month for November.
They showed they could get off to
a fast start last week, but faded in the second half of their game with the Eagles.
The big question this week is, aside from keeping Eli Manning upright, can the
Giants run on the Bears with Saquon Barkley? The Bears have the No. 2 rushing
defense in the NFL in both yards per game (80.8), and yards per carry (3.6), but
in Detroit on Thanksgiving Day, LaGarrette Blount had 19 carries for 88 yards,
averaging 4.6 yards, and two touchdowns. Blount also caught one pass for 15 yards.
Can Barkley get something going on the ground?
That would be a big help because
as usual a good pass rush against this offensive line will make things tough on
Manning to have time to check out the Bears secondary. That means quicker shorter
passes, and once again the Giants will be without tight end Evan Engram who helps
them out with that, and with his line blocking. If Engram was able to play last
week against the Eagles, the outcome might have been different.
may have some luck using Barkley in the passing game.
Roquan Smith will be called on to contain Barkley in that area.
allowed 41 of 55 targets to be completed, and though he limited gains after the
catch, he hasn't had to deal with someone like Barkley. Chicago's biggest problem
will be of course Barkley and Odell Beckham Jr. There will be a familiar face
in the crowd that will be trying to blanket Beckham. Prince Amukamara was a first
round draft pick for the Giants, and was a teammate with Beckham for two seasons.
One last note, somehow on Thanksgiving, the Lions were able to hold Khalil Mack
to just one tackle. If the Lions are finished chewing on that left over bone,
please pass it down the table to the Giants.
The Bears biggest issue on Thanksgiving
was traveling to Detroit on a short week, knowing that they'd be playing a division
team using their backup quarterback. It worked out just fine for Chicago, and
they'll justifiably feel a bit more confident this week. The Giants have had little
time to study up on how this affects their defensive approach, but more time than
the Lions had dealing with that sudden switch.
Chase Daniel is shorter and
less mobile than Mitchell Trubisky, so that works a bit in the Giants favor, especially
since Trubisky was the second leading receiver on the team.
is the team's leading rusher with 536 yards, and five touchdowns. Running back
Tarik Cohen presents a bigger problem for the Giants. It's hard to figure out
with all the misdirection, and for the way they use him. Cohen has more yards
catching the ball than running with it. This team can't forget what happened last
week in Philadelphia when the run defense disappeared in the second half of that
game. You can expect Daniel to play a conservative game just as he did last time,
and to check down quickly. Tight end Trey Burton saw more passes come his way
than in only one other game this season.
is the traveling team, but it sure helps if your offense is ranked fifth in scoring
points, and your defense is second in limiting the opposition from scoring them.
That's what Chicago is, and that's what's coming at the Giants in this game. The
Bears have won five straight games, with the last three being wins over division
rivals. It was a good time to catch a little break, and since Chicago last played
on a Thursday, they have had an extra well deserved three days of rest.
players may even have relaxed while watching the Giants play on Sunday, seeing
how poorly they played. From that, the Giants can only hope that the Bears, considering
what they've been through, will be dismissive knowing that they are facing a lowly
3-8 team. Maybe they'll be looking ahead to the Los Angeles Rams and Green Bay
Packers coming up next.
Thursday at 8:20pm Cowboys (6-5)
at Saints (10-1). | Results Cowboys 13 - Saints 10.
Sunday at 1:00pm Bears
(8-3) at Giants (3-8).
Monday at 8:15pm Redskins (6-5) at Eagles (5-6).
The Eagles are the only NFC East team favored to win in these games.
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Saquon Barkley was named the NFC Offensive
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lost their last two games in Lincoln Financial Field by a combined eight points.
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