Sunday Showdown: Chicago Bears at New York Giants
The Chicago Bears will look to extend their winning streak to six games when they visit the New York Giants on Sunday. The Bears are 3.5-point favorites on the road with an over/under of 44.5 points.
Despite winning five in a row, few people are mentioning Chicago in the same sentence as the Saints and Rams when talking about the NFC’s elite. The Bears are currently 8-3 and lead the Vikings by a game and a half for the top spot in the NFC North. Not even an injury to Mitchell Trubisky that forced him to miss the team’s Thanksgiving Day game against the Lions could stop Chicago’s winning streak.
Of course, it’s a different story with the Giants. After winning back-to-back games against the 49ers and Buccaneers, the G-Men lost a heartbreaker to the Eagles last week, blowing a 19-3 lead and losing on a late field goal. At 3-8, the Giants have nothing left to play for in 2018, especially since the front office has already started to look ahead toward 2019.
It took a little while, but we are finally seeing the version of Saquon Barkley that can be a true game changer. He’s gone over the 100-yard mark rushing each of the past two weeks despite only getting five touches in the 2nd half of last week’s loss to the Eagles. The Giants will need to get Barkley touches early and often if they’re going to have a chance against one of the best defenses in the NFL.
The Chicago defense excels in a number of areas. First, they allow just 3.6 yards per carry on the ground and limit big plays as well as any team in football. That could be bad news for Barkley and the New York offense. The Bears are also one of the league leaders in sacks, which could be bad news for the Giants and their porous offensive line. Finally, Chicago’s defense is great at creating takeaways and scoring touchdowns, which is something the Giants should be careful to avoid.
Another Chance for Chase
With Trubisky set to miss a second straight game due to his ailing shoulder, Chase Daniel will once again start for the Bears. In his 10th NFL season, Daniel is now a seasoned backup despite just 115 career pass attempts. Daniel looked like a competent game manager last week, completing 27 of his 37 passes for 230 yards and two touchdowns. Considering that the Bears were held to 38 yards rushing on 15 carries, those are impressive numbers.
Of course, it’s worth noting that Daniel did that against a subpar Detroit defense. But the Giants haven’t been much better on that side of the ball. Every opponent has scored at least 20 points against the Giants this season, so even if the New York defense plays its best game, the Bears can expect to score at least 20 points.
Buying the Bears
With the Giants, you never know what you’re going to get. But the Bears are playing for a division title, possibly a first-round playoff bye, and respect. Daniel wasn’t a huge drop-off from Trubisky last week, and the surrounding cast around him is still excellent, especially on defense. That should be enough for the Bears to win by a comfortable margin. Bet on Chicago covering the 3.5-point spread against the Giants on Sunday.