NFL Pre-Season Picks — Giants-Bears: Will Eli Have to Keep Up With the Jones?


The Chicago Bears are not necessarily interested in playing their pre-season games to win, and they aren’t too worried about Mitchell Trubisky getting a lot of reps in the offense. They are pretty happy with his progress, and say that he is able to decipher opposing defenses a lot better than he has before. Meanwhile, the New York Giants have to be just a little giddy about the results they are getting from their rookie quarterback, although the hysteria on the part of the media probably needs to be dialed back a bit.

On Friday night, the Bears and Giants will meet in the second week of full-schedule pre-season action in the NFL, with the game taking place at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 PM ET, with NFL Network televising. And BetAnySports customers will be able to place wagers after the game begins, as they access the advanced technology of LIve Betting Ultra.

Bears head coach Matt Nagy doesn’t seem all that concerned about Trubisky’s playing time right now. Last week he got into the game against Carolina and handed the ball off three times. Chase Daniel, one of the better backups in the business, seems to relish the opportunity to get on the field and play. He completed eleven of 13 passes, and Nagy knows the offense is in good hands with him. Tyler Bray may not have had a lot of success, but he does know Nagy’s system very well from when they were together in Kansas City. So the “unfamiliarity” issue isn’t really a problem.

The Bears appear to be experimenting at a few positions, including tight end, where Bradley Sowell, previously a 315-pound offensive tackle, literally risked his career by following Nagy’s suggestion to make a transition to a pass-catcher and lost about 40 pounds. It is truly sink or swim for him, because if he fails, he won’t have time to put the weight back on.

And the Chicago staff is hoping that with this pre-season action, they can see a little more of what third-round pick David Montgomery (Iowa State) can do in the backfield. They are optimistic that he can show them enough to legitimately challenge for the #1 position, as they replace the departed Jordan Howard. Kerrith Whyte, a seventh-round pick who played behind Devin Singletary (who was drafted one spot sfter Montgomery) at Florida Atlantic, has impressed some people in camp and is going to be getting every opportunity. He had a nice 23-yard run last week. Oddly enough, he may be competing against Sowell for a roster spot, even though they play different positions.

In the NFL pre-season odds on this game, the Giants are the favorites:

New York Giants -2.5 (-105)
Chicago Bears +2.5 (-105)

Over 42.5 points (-105)
Under 42.5 points (-105)

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The Giants talk about playing for the here-and-now, although some thought they reached a bit as they drafted Daniel Jones with the sixth overall pick, as they looked to the future. Could it be that, as George Allen used to say, “The future is now”? A lot of people in the New York media are starting to think that way, as Jones, who had really impressed the coaching staff in practices, came out against the Jets and completed all five passes, crispy thrown, and led his team to a touchdown. Now it is all about the “pressure” the kid is putting on Eli Manning. And that sells newspapers and gets ratings on TV and radio. As for head coach Pat Shurmur, he is committed to Manning as his starter.

Of course, what happens from here depends on how quickly the Giants become irrelevant in the playoff race, if such a thing happens at all. There is the sense that there won’t be a whole lot of hesitation in seeing what Jones can do under regular season conditions. And by that time Golden Tate will likely be off his four-game suspension. Tate is now considering a lawsuit against the doctor who sold him a fertility drug and suggested that it wasn’t a banned substance.

Darius Slayton has come back to practice after suffering a hamstring injury on the first day of camp. He would like to play on Friday, and over the course of the season this fifth-round draft pick, an Auburn product, could become valuable as a genuine speed receiver. He ran a 4.39-second 40-yard dash at the combine, which was one of the fastest times.

We are not expecting to see Saquon Barkley, who will take enough of a beating in the regular season, with all of the work (rushing and receiving) he’ll be called upon to do. He says that once he gets hit when the games count, he’ll be just fine. But we wonder what we will see from Manning on Friday – perhaps a little more activity? Shurmur has indicated his intention to have all four of his quarterbacks in the game. The primary question that’s being answered is who will win the #3 job between Alex Tanney and Kyle Lauletta. Last week Tanney put the ball in the air a lot in the 31-22 win over the Jets, going 14-for-19.

Not that the Giants are supremely motivated here, but the Bears are not prioritizing winning in this part of the slate. So unless Nagy is going to unleash his monster-laden defense against the rookie – which we don’t see happening – we’re comfortable laying a small number with the Giants.

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