New York Giants vs. Chicago Bears: Preview and Prediction

Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistOctober 10, 2013

CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 22:  Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 22, 2013 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Technically, the New York Giants are very much alive. Despite being 0-5, they're only two games out of first place in a division that, according to the Elias Sports Bureau (via ESPN), is the first since the 1970 merger to possess four losing teams through Week 5. 

It doesn't feel as though there's much hope for Big Blue. That's because they haven't merely been losing, they've been doing so in humiliating fashion. The Giants have been outscored by a margin of 100 points—or 20 points per game. 

We'd be foolish, though, to completely count out the resilient Tom Coughlin-Eli Manning duo before the fat lady has hit her first note. She's certainly warming up in Chicago on Thursday night, with the talented but also embattled Chicago Bears trying to euthanize the Giants while avoiding a third straight loss of their own. 

If there's any hope left for New York, it'll either be ignited or extinguished Thursday night in the Windy City. Here's a final preview from the Giants' perspective, along with a prediction...


What New York must do to win, offensive edition

Eli Manning probably needs to be the superhero. He'll get no help from his raggedy offensive line, which is down two starters and has surrendered more pressure than any other unit in the league this season, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required). And David Wilson isn't playing, either. Manning has to catch fire for the Giants to win this game. 


What New York must do to win, defensive edition

Get to the quarterback on a consistent basis. Jay Cutler hasn't been under as much pressure as usual this season, but he's still managed to throw three interceptions under pressure, per PFF.  His passer rating while pressured is only 62.5. Without pressure, it's 108.8. 


Five most important non-quarterbacks

Will Beatty: Despite a shiny new contract, Beatty has really been a disappointment this season. His pass-blocking has to be much better if the Giants are going to dig themselves out of this hole, especially against a player like Julius Peppers.

Jason Pierre-Paul: He showed signs of life last week against the Philadelphia Eagles. This Chicago offensive line has improved, but it is still very young and vulnerable. With the defense as banged up as it is, the team has to get pressure from its best player. 

Prince Amukamara: New York won't have Corey Webster again, which means Amukamara will lead the way in coverage against Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, who have a combined 59 catches, 807 yards and five scores already this season. 

Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz: If Manning has to have a monster performance to right this ship, then he'll need both of his Pro Bowl-caliber receivers to deliver. 


Injury analysis, Giants edition

No Webster, no Wilson, no David Baas and no Chris Snee for the Giants. On top of all that, tight end Brandon Myers is questionable with an ankle injury. It's a bit of a mess. 


Injury analysis, Bears edition

Tight end Martellus Bennett, whom Giants fans are quite familiar with, is questionable due to a knee injury. He's on pace to have a monster season, so his presence is a factor. We'll see if the short week hurts key Chicago defenders Charles Tillman, Lance Briggs and Stephen Paea, all of whom are banged up and considered game-time decisions. 


B/R NFC East blog prediction: Bears 27, Giants 17

On a short week at Soldier Field, with all of those injuries, I can't possibly take New York. The Giants lead the league with 20 turnovers. And since the start of 2012, the Bears have more takeaways than anyone else in the NFL. It just doesn't add up.