Matt Forte may not carry the ball more than fifteen times tonight, but the Bears starting running back is the player the Giants have been gameplanning against all week.
In Mike Martz's offense, Forte has been able to carve up defenses in the passing game lining up in the slot, out wide, and in the backfield. With 14 receptions on the season, Forte presents matchup problems for defenses because of his ability to create in open space and line up anywhere within the offensive set.
Last week's game against Green Bay saw the Packers blanket Forte with a variety of looks, usually using a safety and a linebacker to check him out of the backfield. Held to only two receptions for 14 yards, his worst receiving game this season, Martz will look to get the 3rd-year back more touches against the Giants.
To stop Forte, the Giants will deploy outside linebacker Michael Boley, among a collection of other defenders, to keep the 218-pound back from breaking loose on offense. In his second year with the Giants, Boley excels in coverage, especially in the underneath zone, as opposed to taking on blockers. Instinctive in open space, the Southern Mississippi product is a sure tackler in the open field and valuable pass defender.
Boley will keying on Forte the majority of the time for the Giants defense, either one-on-one or when teamed with a safety. The linebacker's best game this season was against a passing-oriented Indianapolis Colts offense that focused on passes out of the backfield and underneath routes to set up the deep passing game, similar to the Bears' fast-paced passing attack.
For the Giants defense to succeed, they must be able to get to Jay Cutler early and often, and shutting down Matt Forte, Cutler's safety net, is key in making that happen.