The Chicago Bears (3-2) and the New York Giants (0-5) take the primetime stage for Thursday Night Football in what has become a big game for both teams.
Coming off two straight losses, the Bears need this game badly. Their next two games are very winnable games that could get them to 5-2 on the season before the bye week.
The Giants on the other hand are desperately looking for their first win of the season. A team with a lot much talent that has failed to produce and the record shows it. Even with their poor start, the Giants are still just two games out of the NFC East division lead.
Here are six key players for Giants-Bears on Thursday Night Football.
Manning has struggled this year and it’s shown with his league leading 12 interceptions in just five games. If Manning doesn’t play well, the Giants are in trouble, again.
With Manning being turnover prone, it could be a big game for the Bears defense. However, they have struggled on the defensive line. With no pressure on Manning, he will make you pay. Especially with receivers like Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks.
If Manning can get going early against the 24th-ranked pass defense in the NFL, it would prove critical to a Giants win.
The Bears safety has struggled this season. On Thursday going against receivers like Cruz and Nicks, Conte will have no room for error.
It’s crucial that Conte elevates his game and plays well this week. The Bears pass defense hasn’t been great but can be improved. If Conte doesn’t start to play better, he could see his role limited.
Jacobs recently joined the Giants after fumble issues with David Wilson and now injury problems to Wilson and Andre Brown. This week Jacobs will have the full work load for the Giants in what could be a key part to the Giants game plan on Thursday.
The Giants will look to establish the run game early against the Bears and hope to open up the passing game as well. The problem is Jacobs has been bad this season running the ball. He currently is averaging 2.2 yards per carry this season.
JPP will be a big factor in the Giants ability to establish a pass rush against Jay Cutler and the Bears offense. If they are successful, it could be a long day for Cutler.
Back in 2010, Cutler had a game to forget in New York after he was sacked nine times. The Bears offense line is playing better than they were during that game, but facing JPP and the Giants defensive line won’t be an easy task.
Pierre-Paul might draw some double-teams and help from time-to-time and could be a big factor. If the Bears offensive line can’t contain him or the Giants line, it could get ugly for Cutler early.
The task of shutting down Giants receivers Cruz, Nicks and Rueben Randle won’t be an easy task for the Bears defense but it starts with corner back Charles Tillman.
Tillman has been bothered by groin and knee injuries the past two games so that might give him some trouble. While he’s listed as questionable, I don’t expect him to miss this game.
So far he has done a good job of containing receivers with the limited pass rush the Bears have had this season. With an already thin defensive line the task won’t get any easier for Tillman.
The Bears will need all they can get from corners Tillman and Jennings especially with the tough task ahead of them.
The Bears are in desperate need of a pass rush. With key injuries on the defensive line to Henry Melton, Nate Collins and Stephen Paea, it’s time for the Bears star to step up.
Peppers will play a key role in the outcome of the game as he will certainly see double teams throughout the game. That should free up rushers Corey Wootton and Shea McClellin to get to Giants quarterback Eli Manning.
If the Bears can get pressure on Manning early they can force some much-needed turnovers. But getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks has been a major problem this season for the Bears.
Go have a game Julius.