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The Bears have lost two straight games and the Marc Trestman regime is now facing its first real scrutiny. They have gone from 3-0 to 3-2. So, why do I like the Chicago Bears this week?
I always like the Chicago Bears.
BUT WHAT FOOTBALL REASONS, JEFF?
- The New York Giants are one of the proudest franchises in the NFL and deserve the respect of fan bases across the country. But right now they are an abysmal team. They are not just winless through five games. They have had their doors blown off on a weekly basis, surrendering the most points in the league. (They are actually four points clear of the Jacksonville Jaguars.)
- Giants turn the ball over more than anybody else in the league and the Bears are in the midst of a turnover drought. I would think this goes the Bears way Thursday night.
- Giants can't cover either of the Bears wide receivers with their current corners.
- Giants linebackers and safeties - outside perhaps the halfway decent Antrel Rolle - should have an impossible time with a motivated Martellus Bennett and Matt Forte out of the backfield.
- Giants are allowing 126 yards a game on the ground and only rushing for 56.
- Bears will make starting fast a priority after slow starts in almost every game this season (including all three home games). A fast start, a double-digit first quarter lead, will end this game. Bad teams don't rally on the road. They shut the windows and close down the shop.
DA BEARS CONCERNS
- Concern #1: Giants offense has become a one trick pony but that one trick is the deep ball to Victor Cruz. If the Bears don't put pressure on Eli Manning and he is allowed to sit in the pocket, the Bears safeties will be under pressure all evening.
- Concern #2: Giants only have five sacks on the season but I'm not ready to forget the Meadowlands Massacre of October 3 2010. Bears need to be aware Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck and even Mathias Kiwanuka are capable of mustering pressure and disrupting the Bears passing attack.
- Concern #3: There is definitive pressure on Marc Trestman and the coaching staff Thursday night. I believe they'll respond well but that is merely a gut feeling. One does not know how a new NFL head coach will respond to pressure until he's forced to respond to pressure. Trestman is in that spot now.
THE MATCH-UP OF REMARKABLE IMPORTANCE
- Giants WR Victor Cruz v. Major Wright/Chris Conte. I thought one of the most telling moments of the Bears loss to the Saints was watching Jimmy Graham catch a deep ball, basically at hip high, while Wright and Conte both looked lost with the ball in the air. The most surprising regression on the Bears roster thus far in 2013 has been at the safety position and both men must display more discipline and ball awareness Thursday night.
From Gary Myers' column in the New York Daily News, Tom Coughlin on Eli Manning's turnovers Sunday:
“It all comes down to the interceptions,” Coughlin said. “Two of them were just almost unbelievable...I honestly believe that he’s trying so hard to get us a win, he’s almost put too much on himself,” Coughlin said. “He keeps it all pretty much inside. I’m not making excuses. There were a couple of those plays that were terrible.”
Coughlin has no answers for what ails the Giants currently.
THE MOST INTERESTING PLAYER ON THE FIELD
- Bears RB Matt Forte. The match-up couldn't benefit Forte more. The Giants are terribly weak defending the run. The Giants are so desperate at linebacker they traded for Jon Beason - a player who lost his starting job to former Giant Chase Blackburn. The Giants are on the road, on a short week, with little time to game plan. If Forte is ever going to have one of those run for a hundred/catch for a hundred performances, this seems to be the perfect storm.
THIS VIDEO HAS LITTLE INFLUENCE ON SUNDAY
And really...how good was John Madden at calling football games? Madden has to be the most entertaining color commentator in the history of sports. (My vote for play-by-play man goes to Vin Scully.)
A SINGLE STAT PREDICTION (2-3)
- Jay Cutler will throw for between 325-350 yards.
WRAPPING IT UP IN A FEW SENTENCES
- If the Bears don't turn the ball over Thursday night they should win comfortably and that's exactly what I expect. Cutler and Bears offense deliver a workmanlike performance and pull away as the second half progresses.
- Chicago Bears 34, New York Giants 17