The Chicago Bears will have their second consecutive road game without quarterback Mitchell Trubisky as they get set to take on the New York Giants. It will be a tough game as they will have to defend against two of the league’s most explosive players and could be playing in tough weather conditions.
With a win though, the team would clinch their first winning season since 2012. Here are five keys to victory for the Bears against the Giants.
Learn from the mistakes made two years ago
The two teams met in New York two years ago in 2016 where the Giants came out victorious 22-16 in what was Jay Cutler’s last game as a Chicago Bear. As the Giants were playing for the playoffs, the Bears were playing out their season as they only had two wins coming into the late November game. Chicago took a 16-6 lead midway through the second quarter only to lose the lead following the opening drive of the second half.
The three things that hurt the Bears on defense has been their biggest strength throughout this season which is sacking the quarterback and creating turnovers. In 2016, the defense achieved neither as Giants quarterback Eli Manning wasn’t sacked and Bears safety Adrian Amos dropped an interception that would have stopped a Giants scoring drive. This season, the Bears have been one of the league’s best at sacking the quarterback and are number one interceptions.
Limit Beckham’s big play ability
With backup Chase Daniel making his second consecutive start, it is unlikely for the Bears offense to throw deep as often as they have this season. That is why it is imperative for the Bears secondary to not allow one of the league’s best wide receivers in Odell Beckham Jr. to make big plays. Beckham Jr. has averaged 14 yards per catch during his career and can score from anywhere on the field.
The Bears can ill afford to get into a shootout with a Giants offense that is capable of scoring points with the deep ball. By limiting Beckham Jr. they can force New York to play a close game.
Rookie of the Year vs. Rookie of the Year?
Sunday’s game will feature two of the most highly talked about rookies drafted in this year’s NFL Draft. The Giants rookie running back Saquan Barkley is almost assured to win the league’s Offensive Rookie of Year award while Bears rookie linebacker Roquan Smith is one of the favorites to win Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Barkley is New York’s biggest offensive weapon as he makes plays in both the running game and passing game as he has over 1410 total scrimmage yards this season.
The Giants running back is featured on swing passes, screens, and safety valve routes. Smith was touted for his closing speed and his ability to limit short passes out of the backfield for minimal gains, he is also a solid tackler in the running game. For the Bears to be victorious, Smith will need to limit Barkley’s production on offense.
Keep the same game plan going for Daniel
In his first start as a Chicago Bear, Chase Daniel performed admirably under the circumstances of starting on a short week with little practice time. He completed 27 passes for 230 yards and two touchdowns. Head coach Matt Nagy’s game plan against the Lions worked to Daniel’s strengths as the offense used a lot of short accurate passes for their quarterback.
The team can utilize the same scheme this week given their speed and size as they will have added help this week compared to last week. Speed wise they can rely on Taylor Gabriel, Tarik Cohen, and Anthony Miller on quick routes. Size wise they will have both Allen Robinson and Trey Burton, but will also have second-year tight end Adam Shaheen back as he provides a large body with decent speed at the tight end position.
Nagy needs to make sure that his team doesn’t nap on New York
With extended time off since their last game last Thursday, the Bears have had a lot of time to rest up which could be a bad thing. They have received a lot of praise and could possibly take the Giants lightly given New York’s poor record. Coming out flat or overlooking the Giants would come at the wrong time of the season.
A loss in New York would be costly given the Bears lead in the NFC North could inspire hope in both the Vikings and Packers who are both fighting to keep their playoff hopes alive. A win on Sunday would provide an insurance policy given their next two games are against the Rams and Packers. A win would also all but wrap up the NFC North division also.