Chicago Bears vs New York Giants: Five Players to Watch

New York Giants

Nov 14, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard (87) celebrates his touchdown during the second half at MetLife Stadium. The Giants defeated the Bengals 21-20. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

On Sunday, the New York Giants will be hosting the Chicago Bears at home. Who are five players to watch in the NFC showdown?

The New York Giants will be playing on a short week on Sunday against the Chicago Bears at home. After a thrilling win against the Cincinnati Bengals, the Giants have now won four straight games. After 10 weeks of the regular season, the Giants have a 6-3 record and are in second place in the NFC East behind the Dallas Cowboys.

After winning their fourth straight game, it appears that the Giants are hitting their groove. In the win on Monday night, there were some major positives to look forward to if you are a fan of the Giants.

In the win, the Giants defense played outstanding, as they were able to contain A.J. Green and also shut down the Bengals rushing attack. Throughout the night, the Giants were able to create steady pressure on Andy Dalton, and that pressure helped them win the game late.

On offense, the Giants got a nice boost from Rashad Jennings and their offensive line. Running the football has been an issue for the Giants this season, but they were able to get a great game from Jennings to ice it late.

The combination of the defense and their new-found running game could help the Giants accomplish great things in the second half of the season. In Week 11, it will all be about avoiding a letdown loss to the Bears. Here are five players to keep an eye on in this NFC showdown.

New York Giants

Nov 13, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) runs off the field after Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Robert Ayers (91) gets a safety during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Chicago Bears 36-10. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Jay Cutler

One of the most frustrating quarterbacks to try and figure out in the NFL is Bears quarterback Jay Cutler. At times, Cutler looks like he belongs in the conversation as one of the best in the game, and then as quickly as one play later he will leave you scratching your head.

Cutler has missed a good chunk of time this season because of a thumb injury, but he has been back the past three games for the Bears. In his first game back from the injury, Cutler was able to play great against the talented Minnesota Vikings defense. In the upset win, Cutler totaled 252 passing yards with one passing touchdown with a 64.5 completion percentage.

In a more favorable matchup against the Buccaneers in their most recent game, Cutler struggled. In the loss, Cutler threw two interceptions and completed just 53.3 percent of his passes. It is hard to predict what Cutler will show up on Sunday against the Giants, but their defense will be trying to make it a long afternoon for him.

After seeing the pressure they were able to cause against the Bengals, the Bears better make sure to protect Cutler. Like most quarterbacks, Cutler is more prone to mistakes when he is under pressure, and that is something that the Giants will be trying to accomplish.

New York Giants

Nov 14, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants safety Landon Collins (21) intercepts a pass by Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (not pictured) during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Landon Collins

One of the budding stars of the Giants this season has been safety Landon Collins. After being drafted in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft, Collins has improved a lot since last season. Coming out of Alabama, Collins had the reputation of being a great tackler and a big hitter. The reason why he wasn’t a higher pick was because of his vulnerabilities in coverage.

In a little more than a season and a half in New York, fans have seen what Collins can do playing in the box, but he has left them holding their breath when he is in coverage. Recently, Collins has greatly improved in pass coverage, and now he is looking like a complete player in the Giants secondary.

In the last three games, Collins has totaled four interceptions and one touchdown. Starting against the Los Angeles Rams, Collins has looked more confident in coverage in both zone and man. Seeing Collins controlling the middle of the field has helped the Giants defense play very well during their winning streak.

With the turnover-prone Jay Cutler coming to town this week, Collins will have an opportunity or two to keep his interception streak alive. Even if he doesn’t force a turnover on Sunday, Collins will be a big contributor to the defense against the Bears.

New York Giants

Nov 13, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Chicago Bears wide receiver Cameron Meredith (81) catches the ball for a touchdown during the second quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Cameron Meredith

The Bears are going to be without their best wide receiver in Week 11, as Alshon Jeffery was suspended by the NFL. Jeffery is without a doubt the No.1 weapon for the Bears on offense, as he has totaled 40 receptions, 630 receiving yards, and one receiving touchdown this season.

With Jeffery out, the Bears are going to be relying heavily on Cameron Meredith at wide receiver. Meredith has played very well for the Bears so far this season, as he has totaled 29 receptions, 380 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns.

Meredith looked like he was breaking out after two big games against the Indianapolis Colts and Jacksonville Jaguars, as he totaled 20 receptions in those two games. However, Meredith has totaled just one reception in each of his last three games.

Against the Buccaneers, Meredith’s one catch was a great one, as he caught a Hail Mary just before halftime for a touchdown. With Jeffery out, the Bears are going to need to begin to target Meredith more.

He has shown the ability to be a factor on offense so far this season, but he will have a challenging matchup. The Giants secondary played very well on Monday night, and if Meredith draws Janoris Jenkins in coverage, he might have a difficult time finding success.

New York Giants

Nov 14, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants running back Rashad Jennings (23) celebrates with New York Giants guard Bobby Hart (68) after running for a game-ending first down against the Cincinnati Bengals during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Rashad Jennings

The Giants rushing offense has been poor for most of the season, but they might have turned the corner in their win against the Bengals. Coming into Week 11, the Giants have the second-worst rushing offense in the NFL, as they are only better than the Minnesota Vikings in rushing yards per game.

Some of the struggles of the Giants rushing offense this season can be credited to their offensive line, but it also is because of injuries to their backfield. Rashad Jennings has missed a few games this season and has really struggled in others.

In four of the six games that Jennings has played in, he has totaled fewer than 30 rushing yards. On Monday Night Football, Jennings had his best game of the season, as he totaled a season-high with 87 rushing yards.

There has been a lot of concern about the Giants rushing offense being able to finish out a close game. Against the Bengals, Jennings answered those questions by doing just that, and his coaches had the confidence in him to do so.

Chicago has been good against the run this season, as they will be entering Sunday 11th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game. We will have to see if Jennings can duplicate his success on the ground this Sunday.

New York Giants

Nov 13, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Chicago Bears outside linebacker Pernell McPhee (92) reacts after he sacks Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) (not pictured) during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Chicago Bears 36-10. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Pernell McPhee

Even though it is a short week for the Giants, that hasn’t stopped one of the members of the Bears from making some comments to the media. Bears linebacker Pernell McPhee came out on Wednesday and boldly claimed that the Bears defense was going to get to Eli Manning.

“We gonna tear their a** up,” McPhee said to Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com. “I don’t care what everybody else did. We gonna sack him. He can throw the ball as many times as he wants — we gonna sack him. I’m gonna make sure of that.”

McPhee has missed some time this season, but he has been playing very well in the last two games. Against both the Minnesota Vikings and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, McPhee was able to record a sack.

Even though the Bears are struggling this season, their defensive has been much better this season. So far, the Bears are ranked eighth in the NFL in sacks with 24, and that might improve with McPhee back in the lineup.

Protecting Manning is always key for the Giants, and that will have to be a priority against the Bears. If McPhee is able to back up his words, Manning, and the Giants could be in for a long day.

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