The undefeated Chicago Bears, fresh off a 20-17 victory over the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field on Monday night football, will take on the 1-2 New York Giants at their new home this Sunday night.
The Giants are coming off of a 29-10 loss against the Tennessee Titans and have had a myriad of problems including issues with penalties, dropped passes, and interceptions.
They are looking for a game to turn things around in and they will try to do that against the Bears on Sunday Night Football.
This will be another tough test for the Bears, having to play in a hostile stadium and try to come away with a victory against a good team. Chicago has faced this kind of challenge twice so far this season (against both Dallas and Green Bay) and has come out on top.
Can they do it against the Giants?
The following is a detailed and in depth game preview for the Bears game this Sunday against the New York Giants in New York.
When the Bears have the Ball
The Bears have started out each game they have played this season slowly.
Their games typically stat with quarterback Jay Cutler getting hurried and either sacked or pressured and then, as if someone turns a switch on, the protection gets better and he is able to complete passes down the field.
Hopefully, the Bears won’t have to wait for this to happen but instead they will be able to get their passing game going right out of the gate.
The Giants have a talented group on defense but their production isn’t translating into wins.
Mathias Kiwanuka leads the Giants in sacks with four (the team as a whole has six) and while six sacks may not be that much for a team, four for an individual is pretty good.
So what does this mean for the Bears? It means that they will have to be sure that their offensive line blocks Kiwanuka so that he can’t get to Cutler.
From what we have seen in the past three games, the Bears offensive line typically starts games out slowly allowing Cutler to get rushed and hurried (and in some cases hit) early on in the game.
So far, this hasn’t come back to haunt the Bears but it could at some point so the line has to start out games well or else they could either end up being part of a deficit for the Bears or, much worse, they could end up getting their quarterback injured.
The Giants aren’t allowing a lot of yards through the air but then again, aside from the Colts, they haven’t really played some of the league’s passing offenses yet and will face a strong one in the Bears.
The Bears will do like they have in the past few games, get the ball down the field to speed guys like Johnny Knox and Devin Hester and then work the middle with tight end Greg Olsen.
As long as the Bears do what they have been doing before, they should have success passing the ball.
But it all boils down to just how good the protection is for Cutler. If it’s not existent, the Bears are going to have a long and difficult night on offense.
One thing that would help the Bears on offense would be to get their running game going; they haven’t attempted too many rushes this season so far but when they have tried, they have had some success.
For some reason, as was seen in their game against the Packers, as soon as the Bears get behind they throw the run out and start passing the ball, even if the deficit is as slim as seven points.
The Bears need to run the football. In three games, the Giants are allowing well over 100 yards per game rushing and the Bears need to take advantage of this and run the ball.
They need to keep the Giant’s offense off the field and this is the best way to do it.
The Giants, as a team, have three total interceptions (three are tied with one). The secondary has been known to be a hard hitting, ball hawking secondary so the Bears will need to pay close attention to where guys like safety Kenny Phillips and Terelle Thomas are at so they don’t put themselves in a position to make an interception.
The Bears have been good (since after the Detroit game) about not turning the ball over a lot so if they can keep that up and not give the Giants any freebies, they should be ok.
The Giants leading tackler is safety Antrell Rolle so the Bears will want to be careful and keep an eye out for him. He’s been playing well for the Giants since coming to New York as a free agent and can come up with big plays when they are needed.
When the Giants have the Ball
The Bears defense is one of the best in the NFL at defending against the run. They have allowed an outstanding 119 yard rushing through three games, while the Giants are averaging around just a little bit over 100 yards per game on the ground.
Their leading rusher so far this season is Ahmad Bradshaw (53 rushes for 253 yards) and he is averaging around 4.9 yards per carry so he does present quite a challenge to the Bears; however, as long as both Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs are playing like they have been, the Giants running game shouldn’t be a problem.
Eli Manning has been known to be hot and cold and lately he’s been a little bit of both. Coming into this game, Manning has thrown a total of six interceptions and has a quarterback rating of 91.7 percent. Some of those interceptions can’t be contributed to his receivers, as some of them have bounced off the receivers hands and landed in the hands of a defender.
Manning is a very dangerous quarterback and can come up with big plays when the Giants need them.
So what is the best way to defend against Manning? It’s easy—pass pressure.
Week after week, we have stated that the Bears need to get more pass pressure on teams and once again, the Giants are another one of those teams that the Bears need to get some pressure on.
Chicago might get lucky enough to get that pressure in this game. As of this writing, the Giants starting center, Shaun O’Hara, looks like he’s going to miss the game on Sunday night so the Bears will have an advantage at getting some pressure up the middle with a new starter there.
Hopefully, they can take advantage of O’Hara’s absence and get something going.
One of the players who may or may not end up being a factor in this game for pressure up the middle is defensive tackle Tommie Harris. Fans will remember that Harris was inactive for the Bears game against the Packers last Monday because he wasn’t doing what the Bears wanted him to do and that was play with inspiration and emotion.
They sent a signal to Harris that if you aren’t going to play well you’re not going to play. Hopefully the message was understood.
So the guys in the middle of the Bear’s defense need to step up and take advantage of O’Hara’s absence, whether it be Harris, Matt Toenia, or whoever. With Peppers getting some pressure on the edge, there should be some opportunities for the Bears to get some sacks.
So far in 2010, the Giants have allowed a total of seven sacks. Something has to give somewhere.
As mentioned, the linebackers will have to be at their best in order to stop Bradshaw and the Giant’s running game. They have had a lot of success before this game and there is no reason to think that the Bears won’t have that same success in this game.
If they aren’t able to contain the Giants rushing attack, it’s going to be a long night for the Bears.
The secondary was tested last week and for the most part they passed in not allowing any long gains or long touchdowns like they were known to do last season; there was even some switching around in the last game that people may not have noticed, as the coaching staff pulled cornerback Zachary Bowman out of the game and replaced him with Tim Jennings.
The switch actually worked out well and Jennings came up with a huge fumble recovery to help the Bears win the game. Will Bowman be back in the lineup as a starter this week?
The coaching staff hooked Bowman because he wasn’t playing well in run support and in their game against the Giants this Sunday, run support is going to be a vital part of the Bears and their secondary. Look for Bowman to start the game but if he fails again in run support, he could get replaced.
Everyone knows what the Bears were able to do on special teams last Monday night but the big punt return by Hester overshadowed two issues that are very prevalent on special teams.; one issue is the kickoff coverage. The kickoff coverage has been poor all season, as they are allowing teams to get some significant yards on kick returns—this has to change.
The other problem is in the kicking game. Kicker Robbie Gould missed a field goal in the Bears last game and just about missed and extra point; he also struggled at times during the preseason.
Gould is one of the best kickers in the NFL and he will get it right but let’s hope that he doesn’t have another miss that costs the Bears this game in New York.
The Bears list the following players on their injury report as of the time of this writing:
S-Major Wright-Hamstring-Out; OT Chris Williams-Hamstring-Out; S-Chris Harris-Neck-Limited and Questionable; G-Roberto Garza-Knee-Limited and Probable; DE-Israel Idonije-Foot-Limited and Probable.
The Giants list the following players on their injury report as of the time of this writing:
LB-Keith Bullock-Toe-Doubtful; DT-Rocky Bernard-Back-Doubtful; WR-Mario Manningham-Concussion-Doubtful; C-Shaun O’Hara-Ankle-Doubtful; WR-Darius Reynaud-Illness-Questionable; LB-Chase Blackburn-Knee-Probable; OT-William Beatty-Foot-Out; LB-Phillip Dillard-Hamstring-Limited and Probable.
Of the injuries listed above for the Bears, having Wright out really hurts his development. If Harris misses any time, there could be some trouble but it doesn’t appear that he will. Garza and Idonije shouldn’t miss any time.
For the Giants, losing O’Hara would be huge. They have already lost Beatty, which will weaken their offensive line. This is why the Bears need to take advantage of the injuries.
The Bears have an opportunity to go 4-0 in this game and continue to prove their doubters wrong in regards to the fact that they are a real team and not just a mirage that’s floating through games and winning them.
There are still plenty of doubters after the Monday night game and it’s time to put their doubts to rest.
This won’t be an easy game for the Bears. Despite their record, the Giants have been a pretty decent team in some areas, especially running the football, so the Bears need to be ready for them. Their defense has given up some yards passing (especially against the Colts) and the Bears will have the opportunity to pick them apart with their precision passing game which has been working better all of the time.
This may sound like it’s coming from a broken record but once again, the Bears have to run the football in this game. Running the football will do several things to help them. It will help keep pressure off of Jay Cutler, it will help keep pressure off of the offensive line and it will help keep pressure off of the defense. It will also allow the Bears to control the ball more and keep it out of the hands of the Giants offense.
It might even allow them to protect and increase a lead and not let the Giants hang around so close for an entire game. Image a Bears game that doesn’t come down to the wire! That would be great.
The defense needs to be on its toes for the running game that they are about to face (the best that they will have faced yet this season) and so if the Bears win this battle, which all indications say that they should, then they should win the game.
Special teams needs to get better in coverage. If they let one go (like they did when Dez Bryant ran back that touchdown in Dallas) that could change the game and get the Bears their first loss of the season.
However, if they are able to get a return of their own on kickoff or punt returns then that would help Chicago out immensely.
There aren’t too many people that feel that the Bears are going to win this game because they still don’t believe that the Bears are that good of a team.
They also know that the Giants are in a win or else situation (well, perhaps their head coach is more than the team) so they will be looking for a win in this game.
It will come down to who wants it more and who makes the fewest mistakes.
Chicago 24, New York 17