Chicago Bears: Key Players to Watch vs the New York Giants

Gabe Salgado@@GabeSalgado82Correspondent IIIAugust 24, 2012

The Bears' offense will see significant playing time tonight.
The Bears' offense will see significant playing time tonight.Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Tonight, the Chicago Bears embark on their biggest challenge of the 2012 preseason. The Bears are in New York to take on Eli Manning and the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants.

This is the third preseason game for both teams. These teams come into this game with a preseason record of 1-1, they also gained their first preseason victories last week.

The Bears played their butts off to hold off the Washington Redskins, while the Giants dropped the hammer on their Big Apple rivals the New York Jets.

The starters are expected to play the entire first half and then some tonight. While some positions are starting to look clearer for the Bears, there are still some positions with question marks.

This game will be a huge indicator as to how the Bears' will perform in 2012. Here is what you need to watch for tonight.



With the extra playing time coming his way, Jay Cutler will have to either duplicate what he did last week, or do better than last week. No. 6 will be expected to perform either way.

Jason Campbell will also see the field tonight. Against Washington last week, he put up better numbers than Jay Cutler did. Campbell has already proven that he can run this offense, but he is still under the microscope to put up big numbers.

There is a slim chance that we could see either Matt Blanchard or Josh McCown. If either one of them gets to play, it will be a good opportunity to get a leg up on the third string quarterback roster spot.


Running Back

Matt Forte and Michael Bush will get the bulk of the workload tonight. Bush scored twice last week and proved that he is the man in the red zone. Forte struggled to some degree against the 'Skins.

Tonight, Forte needs to come into midseason form and break out of his shell. He will get the playing time he needs to do that. Bush will get another shot to punish defenders and the Giants are the perfect team for him to do that against.

As for the bottom of the depth chart, the plot thickens now that Kahlil Bell has been released. Armando Allen and Lorenzo Booker will now do battle for the No. 3 spot. Both Allen and Booker have seen limited playing time and therefore haven't put up sizable numbers yet.


Wide Receiver

If Brandon Marshall can rack up 61 yards in two catches like he did last week, just imagine how much damage he can do in three quarters of play. The spotlight will be on Marshall tonight without a doubt.

I am hoping to see Devin Hester finally make an impact as a wide receiver as well. I am also expecting big things again from Alshon Jeffery. And hopefully, with the first two units getting most of the snaps this evening, perhaps Earl Bennett can catch a few more passes then he has so far.


Tight End

Kellen Davis started against Denver, Matt Spaeth started against Washington. Who will get the start tonight? How much playing time will Evan Rodriguez get? He has been the most productive out of all five tight ends on the Bears' roster, and it will be interesting to see how they use Rodriguez tonight.


Offensive Line

These guys were flawless last week, can they do it again? My answer is that it will be easier said than done. Roberto Garza and company will be taking on one of the best defensive lines in the National Football League. If you need any indication as to how good the Giants' pass-rush is, just ask Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow.


Defensive Line

They managed to get three sacks on Robert Griffith III last week. This week, they need to prove that they can do the same if not better against Eli Manning. This will be another test for guys like Israel Idonije and Julius Peppers.



So far they've managed to hold their own without Brian Urlacher. But the Giants' offense will present a bigger challenge for them tonight.


Defensive Back

This is the biggest concern for the Bears tonight. Chris Conte and Brandon Hardin are still hurt, so Craig Steltz could be starting at strong safety.

Behind Seltz and Major Wright is second-year man Anthony Walters, and three unproven players in Mark LeGree, Trevor Coston, and Jeremy Jones. The Giants' army of wide receivers would love to exploit this hole in the Bears' defense.

The Bears' pass defense tonight will depend largely on how well their safeties perform. This will hold especially true if the defensive line can't get a pass-rush going.

I hope you have a cozy chair and a working television because tonight will be fun to watch.


    Report: Steve Wilks to Be Hired as Cardinals HC

    NFL logo

    Report: Steve Wilks to Be Hired as Cardinals HC

    Timothy Rapp
    via Bleacher Report

    Bears Should Go Get Sammy Watkins

    Chicago Bears logo
    Chicago Bears

    Bears Should Go Get Sammy Watkins

    Evan Massey
    via The Inquisitr

    Report: Pats 'Optimistic' Gronk (Concussion) Will Be Cleared

    NFL logo

    Report: Pats 'Optimistic' Gronk (Concussion) Will Be Cleared

    Tyler Conway
    via Bleacher Report

    Jack Should Have Had a TD on the Dion Lewis Fumble

    NFL logo

    Jack Should Have Had a TD on the Dion Lewis Fumble

    Ryan Glasspiegel
    via The Big Lead