If the Chicago Bears want to stop the slide they seem be heading into and reclaim their position as contenders in the NFC North, there isn’t going to be a better opportunity to find their winning ways back again than playing against the New York Giants, still without a win and arguably the second worst teams in the NFL right now.
The Bears have lost two consecutive games, and things are beginning to once again look bad for them after a promising start. Jay Cutler and his offense aren’t evolving to the level of high expectations, while the defense, picking up injuries at an alarming rate, has stopped creating points through turnovers and is also hemorrhaging yards, allowing 377 per game.
However, the Giants they’re facing on Thursday are a team that’s been banged up so much in terms of their confidence that they’re completely devoid of it. They managed to build a 21-19 lead against the Philadelphia Eagles last week, but then Eli Manning threw three interceptions on consecutive drives, while the Eagles scored 17 unanswered points. Manning isn’t the only problem the GIants are having, but he’s certainly a big part of their colossal failure this season.
Eli Manning is one of three starting quarterbacks this season completing less than half of his attempts at or behind the line of scrimmage (44.8%). The other two, Brandon Weeden and Josh Freeman, lost their jobs at some point, although Weeden is back due to Hoyer’s injury.
He’s also been terrible at stretching the field this season, completing only 30.4% of his passes thrown for 15 yards or longer, which is the fourth-lowest rate in the NFL. The Giants had 26 completions of at least 30 yards last season, tied for the second most in the NFL, but have completed six such passes this season. He has thrown five touchdowns on such throws, but has also been intercepted five times.
Jay Cutler has been having his problems this season, like getting sacked six times over the last couple of losses against Detroit and New Orleans. However, his completing a career-high 65.7% of his passes and didn’t throw any interceptions against the blitzing New Orleans Saints defense. Even without Martellus Bennett, he should have enough weapons to throw to in order to get great numbers against the Giants.
Prediction – No one turns the ball over more than the Giants (20 times this season). No team has more takeaways than the Bears, with 14. Even if Cutler and his offense are struggling, there’s nothing like a game against the shattered Giants to start a winning streak once more.