By Michael Stewart/ @golferbad
Introduction: The 3-8 Giants host the 8-3 NFC North division leaders Chicago Bear this Sunday. The Giants lost last week to the Philadelphia Eagles (25-22) by a field goal on the last play of the game. It was a tale of two halves as the Giants offense totaled 346 yards in the first half; which was the most since 1985, when they gained 353 yards against the Houston Oilers. However; in the second half they totaled only 56 yards and forget to give the ball to their two best offensive weapons in Saquon Barkley and Odell Beckham. Offensively; the Bears are currently 5th overall in points per game with 28.8 and have been equally effective on the ground (115.2 yards per game) and in the air (234.2 yards per game). However; it’s the defense that has everyone talking as they are currently ranked 2nd overall in points allowed with 19.2 and are equally effective against the run with a 80.8 yards per game average; which is ranked 2nd best. The Giants offensively have been improving over the last several weeks and are currently ranked 22nd overall (21.5 points per game). Unfortunately; the same can’t be said on defense as they have given more points during their sudden offensive awakening and are currently ranked 25th overall (26.2 points per game). This game will be a major test for the Giants and on paper doesn’t look favorable, despite quarterback Mitch Trubisky out for the game with a sprain AC joint in his right shoulder. The last 5 matchups have the Giants holding a 4-1 record, but you can throw that stat out the window as this game will be one of the Giants toughest challenges thus far.
Top 3 Matchups:
- 1. Bears defensive line-vs-Giants offensive line: This matchup might as well be matchups 2 and 3 as well. If the Giants offensive can’t generate any yards on the ground or give quarterback a little time in the passing game, then this could get ugly. The Giants offensive line has improved over the last 3 or 4 games, but the Bears defense has been consistent all season led by linebacker Khalil Mack. The Giants have surrendered 38 sacks thus far and the Bears have recorded 34 and are extremely tough to run against.
- Turnovers: The Bears have a +14 in the turnover ratio this season and have scored five touchdowns off five interceptions. The Giants only have a +1 turnover ratio with only one touchdown scored from an interception by linebacker Alec Olgetree.
3 Red Zone: The Giants have a 47.22% in the red zone in 2018, but have been better over the last 3 games averaging 63.64%. The Bears overall are at 66.67 this season and even better over the last 3 games averaging 71.43%. However; the biggest tale of the tape is that based on each teams last game, the Bears were 100.00% and the Giants were only 33.33%.
Summary: Looking at the three matchups projected, it would be imperative that the Giants win all three; which doesn’t seem likely. The weather could also make it difficult for both teams and especially the Giants with a 90% chance of rain with the temperatures in the mid 40’s. The Bears have a projected 66% chance of winning and that is with quarterback Mitch Trubisky out for the game. Chase Daniels will get the start as he managed to beat the Lions on Thanksgiving, however; the Giants will make it more difficult for him in this game. The Bears strength (run defense and sacks) coincides with the Giants weakness (rushing and sacks allowed); which could nullify the Giants two biggest weapons in Saquon Barkley and Odell Beckham. If the Giants can’t find a way get those two players the ball and make big plays, this game could be over by the 3rd quarter even with Chase Daniels at quarterback.
Final Score: The weather could play a major factor as the forecast is calling for rain. The odds are against the Giants as they will need to play nearly a perfect game to beat the Bears. I have no doubt the effort will be there, but in end both teams will struggle scoring, but the Bears will create too much pressure on Manning and keep Barkley and Beckham from making big plays, they’ll win the battle in turnovers and will be more efficient than the Giants in the red zone.