It has been quite a month for the New York Giants, who have worked themselves into a playoff spot following four straight wins to elevate their record to 6-3. Now as they host the Chicago Bears on Sunday (1 p.m., FOX), against a struggling team, the Giants have a legitimate chance to extend their unbeaten run. And should they get a win over the Bears, the Giants will have eclipsed their win total from the past two years. Imagine that.
The Bears won’t be an easy out, despite being hammered last week by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They have struggled on offense this season but their defense, in particular their pass rush, has been relatively strong.
The Bears defense
Listen, this unit isn’t going to be compared to Mike Ditka's ’85 Bears anytime soon, but the bright spot for Chicago this year has been its defense as a whole. The Bears are 10th in the NFL in yards allowed and eighth in getting to the quarterback with 24 sacks. Given the Giants' struggles this season along the offensive line, it is a match-up worth noting - although Big Blue did a nice job this past Monday night in protecting quarterback Eli Manning and opening some running lanes for Rashad Jennings.
And while the Giants offense has improved in recent weeks, let’s not act like they are world beaters quite yet.
Eli Turning a corner
Remember all that talk five weeks ago about Eli Manning being on the downside of his career and how he was washed up? Well, it hasn’t been a perfect season for the Giants quarterback, but as the play of the offensive line has improved, so too has Manning’s performances (imagine that!).
Since the Giants last lost on Oct. 9, Manning has 10 touchdowns and six interceptions with 1,096 passing yards. The number could have been much higher but for a few key drops over the past four games. Manning is back although he still needs to cut down on the interceptions.
Bears are offensive (and not in a good way)
Coming into the season, it was thought that the Bears' strength might just be their offense. Given that they have a veteran in Jay Cutler, coupled with wide receiver Alshon Jeffery - conventional wisdom held that they could put up some points. But Jeffery was suspended this week for four games and the Bears are down their leading wide receiver.
This is bad news, very bad news, for a team that comes into this week second from the bottom in scoring. And after Jeffrey, there isn’t much left in the wide receivers room.
“That hurts. Any time you take out your number one receiver, especially for a certain period of time, it's going to make things a little bit difficult for us,” Cutler said. “We like our receiver room and they know they all have to step-up now.”