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New York Giants at Chicago Bears: Preview and Pick
New York Giants at Chicago Bears: Preview and Pick
Could it get any worse for the New York Giants? After losing in embarrassing fashion at home to the Philadelphia Eagles, the winless Giants will have to travel to the Windy City to take on the Chicago Bears. The Bears are also off a loss and will be looking to get back on the winning track against the hapless G-Men.
New York Giants at Chicago Bears Odds
The NFL betting line for this game opened up with the Bears listed as (-7) point favorites. That line is already on the move. The betting public has jumped all over the Bears early and often with almost 70 percent of the early action coming in on the home team. With all of that money the line has moved and can now be found as high as minus eight at several of the top rated sportsbooks.
The Giants have had a very bad start to the season. These stats show just how bad they are doing. Eli Manning had 3 intentional grounding penalties Sunday. No quarterback has committed more than 2 intentional grounding penalties in a game since the start of the 2001 season. The Giants join the '54 Cardinals as the only teams in NFL history to start a season with 5 straight games in which they allowed 30 points and committed 3 turnovers.
If the Bears want to win they need to find their best receiver more often. Brandon Marshall's five targets Sunday accounted for only 15% of the Bears' passes, the lowest percentage since Marshall joined the team. The Giants secondary should allow Bears quarterback Jay Cutler the freedom he needs to throw the ball all over the field in this big game.
The latest NFL betting trends reveal some interesting angles for this Thursday night football game. The total has gone over in 4 of Chicago's last 6 games when playing at home against NY Giants but the total has gone under in 6 of the NY Giants last 7 games on the road. The Bears are 5-1-1 straight up in the last 7 games but just 1-4 against the spread (ATS) in their last 5 games when playing at home against NY Giants. The NY Giants are 4-1 straight up in their last 5 games when playing on the road against Chicago, but the Giants are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games on the road.
New York Giants at Chicago Bears Pick
With plenty of time to go before kickoff of this week, I will wait to announce my pick when we get closer to game day. Check back the day of the event for my pick on this great game.
An offensive specialist, Chicago Bears coach Marc Trestman admitted that mistakes and a slow start on his side of the ball affected the defense’s ability to effectively stop the New Orleans Saints on Sunday during a 26-18 loss at Soldier Field.
Chicago’s first five drives resulted in four punts and a fumble that New Orleans turned into a field goal. That ineptitude on offense, led to New Orleans possessing the ball for nearly a quarter (12 minutes) longer than the Bears.
“The big thing on the defense was the time they were on the field,” Trestman said. “As I told the team afterwards, the residual effect of being on the field that long is we didn’t have enough to stop them long enough to have the ball 11 minutes in the third quarter and that really held us back. Offense only had the ball three legitimate drives in the second half, and I attribute that to the time they were on the field in the first half and our inability to move the football early in the game. So that’s where the connectivity comes between offense and defense particularly.”
Trestman described the “offense’s inability to move the ball” as “unacceptable.”
Quarterback Jay Cutler agreed.
“It’s hard to beat them whenever you’re minus-one on the turnover ratio,” Cutler said Monday during “The Jay Cutler Show” on ESPN 1000. “We gave them one. We had three sacks, got kicked off the field on those three. So it’s tough to battle back against a team like that whenever they’re playing as good of football as they’re playing.”
New Orleans ran twice as many plays as the Bears in the third quarter (20 to 10). Chicago was able to achieve a more equitable distribution of offensive snaps in the third quarter (17 to 16), and outscored the Saints 8-3.
“It all came down to how we started this game,” Trestman said. “You can’t start that way and give (Saints quarterback) Drew Brees 36 minutes with the ball and expect to win.”
No formal announcement yet, but it looks as though the New York Giants will have to play Thursday night's game in Chicago without running back David Wilson. Giants coach Tom Coughlin said Monday that Wilson was undergoing a full medical evaluation after leaving Sunday's game with a neck injury, and the team re-signed running back Da'Rel Scott on Tuesday. Scott took part in Tuesday's practice, but Wilson did not. Wilson had a uniform on but no helmet and stood off to the side as the rest of the team went through its work.
If Wilson can't play, Scott, Brandon Jacobs and Michael Cox would be the only halfbacks available for a team that ranks near the bottom of the league in rushing yards and is still looking for its first win of the season. Wilson's injury could linger beyond this week, in which case the Giants could look to bring in another back next week. They have 10 days off between Thursday and their next game, Oct. 21 against the Vikings, so they could bring someone in from the outside and get him up to speed in that time. Scott was the only sensible option for this short week, since he was on the team last week and could be thrown right back into the mix with minimal preparation.
Also off to the side during the open portion of Giants practice were tight end Brandon Myers (ankle), long snapper Zak DeOssie (back), defensive end Damontre Moore (hamstring), tight end Adrien Robinson (foot), cornerback Jayron Hosley (hamstring) and safety Cooper Taylor (shoulder).
Center David Baas (neck) and cornerback Corey Webster (groin) were nowhere to be seen. Baas has missed the last two games and Webster the last three due to the injuries.
Defensive tackle Linval Joseph, who missed Sunday's game with leg injuries, was back at practice and appeared to be full-go. Wide receiver Louis Murphy also returned to practice after missing Sunday's game with an ankle injury. Linebacker Mark Herzlich and cornerback Terrell Thomas, who appeared on the Monday injury report, were working.
Chicago Bears tight end Martellus Bennett has what is setting up to be his best matchup thus far this season when his team takes on the New York Giants tomorrow night. Bennett is a game time decision due to a knee injury sustained in the Week 5 loss to the New Orleans Saints.
Per ESPN Stats and Information, Bennett is in the top 10 in the NFL in red-zone targets, receptions and touchdowns. The Giants have allowed more red-zone receptions (17) and touchdowns (eight) than any team but the Cowboys. It's safe to say the matchup is near perfect for Bennett and fantasy owners.
Bennett also rates out as sixth-highest in opportunity-adjusted touchdowns (oTD), an indication he's getting a sizable amount of chances in and around the endzone.
If Bennett is out, production likely only increases for receivers Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, both of whom have already carved out big parts of the offense.
Otherwise, the Bears are empty at the tight end spot, with no other TE having caught a pass. Certainly keep an eye on Bennett's status before kickoff. Should he shoulder a customary load, fantasy owners will reap benefits.
A neck injury will keep New York Giants running back David Wilson out of Thursday night's game in Chicago, but it is not just the short week that is keeping Wilson on the sideline. A source with knowledge of the situation said Wednesday that Wilson would seek a second opinion in the coming days, and that it is possible he could miss more than just the one game if further examination reveals a more serious problem than was originally feared.
Wilson left Sunday's Giants game against the Philadelphia Eagles after the fourth quarter when he felt tingling in his arms and was examined and treated for a neck injury, according to the team. Neck injuries can be very serious, of course, so it is no surprise that Wilson is determined to take every precaution to make sure he is okay before returning to the field.
To replace Wilson on Thursday night, the Giants re-signed running back Da'Rel Scott, who had been cut last week. Scott and Brandon Jacobs are likely to share carries in Wilson's absence against the Bears, though there remains a chance rookie Michael Cox could work his way into the mix as well. If Wilson does have to miss more than one game, the Giants could find themselves in the market for a free-agent veteran running back next week. They have 10 days off between this game and their next one. One of the reasons they brought back Scott was that they only had three days to prepare for the game against Chicago and he already knew the playbook.
Cornerbacks Corey Webster and Jayron Hosley, center David Baas, safety Cooper Taylor and tight end Adrien Robinson joined Wilson was officially "out" according to the injury report the team released before it boarded its flight to Chicago on Wednesday afternoon. Defensive end Damontre Moore, who has a hamstring injury, is listed as doubtful. Tight end Brandon Myers, defensive tackle Linval Joseph and wide receiver Louis Murphy are questionable.
What this means is that the Giants may not have a full 46-man roster for the game. They have to make seven of their 53 players inactive, and six have already been ruled out. If Moore or one of the questionable guys is the seventh inactive, they'd have to make third quarterback Ryan Nassib active. And since he'd only play in an extreme emergency, they'd be playing with 45, a couple of whom aren't fully healthy.
The good news is that long-snapper Zak DeOssie, who missed practice Tuesday with a back injury, is probable, as are linebacker Mark Herzlich and cornerback Terrell Thomas. But it's going to be an undermanned 0-5 Giants team that heads into Soldier Field on Thursday night.
For one very specific reason, there is no worse team in the NFL for the New York Giants to have to face this week than the one they are facing. That team is the Chicago Bears, who welcome the Giants for a short-week game at Soldier Field on Thursday night, and the reason is turnovers.
Turnovers are a significant part of the sad, 0-5 story of the Giants' season so far. They have committed 20 of them, which is eight more than any other team in the league and puts them on pace to break the single-season record of 63. The Bears, meanwhile, have spent the past half-decade building a reputation as a defense that lives off of the creation of turnovers. So far this year, the Bears have 14 takeaways, which is the third-highest total in the league. They led the league with 44 last year and have averaged 37 per year over the past three.
"They do a great job," said Giants quarterback Eli Manning, who leads the NFL with 12 interceptions this season. "I don't know if it's something that's taught or the players talk about it, but they do a great job of stripping the ball of receivers, of quarterbacks, of anybody. They do a good job of causing fumbles. They get good pressure on the quarterback, which leads to some interceptions. They have good, aggressive cornerbacks and players, so I think you've got to be aware of that and know when to cover up with two hands and be smart."
The Giants have been careless, and not smart, with the football this season. And in spite of the departure last offseason of defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, who's now the Cowboys' defensive line coach, the Bears remain well equipped to take advantage of that weakness. Giants coach Tom Coughlin has made it a point the past few days in practice and in meetings to remind his players of how good and how determined the Bears are to take the ball away. It wouldn't be hard to blame him if he's having nightmares about it.
"Even though they have a different coordinator, it's still the same Bears," Giants guard Kevin Boothe said. "And what you see out there is defensive touchdowns and a lot of turnovers. I think their philosophy has always been to get the ball out, and they're still effective as far as I can see. We've obviously turned the ball over more than we should have, probably, for a whole season. So that's always a point of emphasis, and I think even more so this week."
The question is what they can do about it. Manning, who's responsible for most of the turnovers, is watching as much film as ever and trying to spot consistencies in his mistakes so as to avoid them moving forward. He says it's about better decisions in critical moments, and he believes a lot of the issue can be addressed with better awareness and concentration, which won't be hard to muster given what he knows about the Bears.
"They are correctable," Coughlin said of the turnovers. "Sometimes, when you see an opportunity but percentages are against you, you can't take a chance."
On the flip side, where the Giants' defense ranks tied for 24th in the league with only seven takeaways, they're looking to draw inspiration from this week's opponent and take advantage of the chances Bears quarterback Jay Cutler likes to take.
"For sure, I think that's going to be huge for us," Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara said. "There are times when he tries to squeeze the ball into tiny pockets, and it's our job to make them pay for those. But we've also seen on film where there are times it's gone his way and he's made big plays by doing that."
Much the same as it is for the offense, it's about knowing when to take a chance and when not to. But for a desperate Giants team still looking for its first win of the season, a hyped-up, Bears-style defense might be a tonic this week if they can pull it off.
"We preach it every day," cornerback Terrell Thomas said. "And they're notorious for getting the ball out, so we want to be that type of defense this week to help out our offense."
The Giants' offense needs the help, especially against a team whose greatest defensive strength attacks their greatest offensive weakness. But fundamentally, which is where Tom Coughlin prefers to operate, it's about valuing the ball regardless of which side of the ball you're on. He's drawing inspiration from the Bears' most recent game -- a loss just three days ago to the New Orleans Saints.
"They're a very good football team," Coughlin said of the Bears. "Actually had a ton of yards the other day. But New Orleans had the ball for 36 minutes. New Orleans did not turn the ball over. New Orleans had two penalties in the game. That sounds like a reasonable formula, to me."
The issue is whether or not it's one the Giants are capable of duplicating. Based on the way they've played in their first five games, it looks like a nearly impossible task.
The Chicago Bears are looking at a number of game-time decisions when it comes to player availability for Thursday night’s matchup against the New York Giants.
While sounding positive, coach Marc Trestman said that tight end Martellus Bennett (knee), linebacker Lance Briggs (foot/hip), defensive tackle Stephen Paea (toe) and cornerback Charles Tillman (knee) all will have their status decided a few hours before kickoff Thursday.
“All would have been limited today, but we’re optimistic in the next 24 hours they will be ready to go,” Trestman said.
With a short week for preparation, the Bears have been doing walk-throughs all week instead of regular practices. Listed as “out” on Wednesday were defensive tackle Nate Collins (knee) and safety Anthony Walters (hamstring).
The “probables” after Wednesday’s practice were wide receiver Joe Anderson (knee), tackles Eben Britton (foot) and Jermon Bushrod (calf), and wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (ankle).
“We’ll know more tomorrow,” Trestman said. “We’re optimistic they will all be there but we don’t know for sure.”
Rookie defensive tackle Zach Minter said he had some practice time with the first-team defense Wednesday and was expecting to play Thursday. Minter was on the active roster for the first time for Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints, but did not see any action.