The New York Giants (6-3) play host to the Chicago Bears (2-7) this Sunday at 1 PM. With their record, the Giants currently sit in fifth place in the NFC. It is a much different story for the Bears, who are second to last in the conference, and just lost their top receiver, Alshon Jeffery, to a suspension. Below, I give my keys to the game in this Week 11 preview.
Rack up the Sacks
I am tired of hearing that Olivier Vernon is amongst the league leader of QB pressures. He is paid a mammoth salary for sacks, not pressures. As others have mentioned, last week’s performance against the Bengals was a step in the right direction. However, the Bears’ line is not particularly strong, and just lost Kyle Long for the season to an ankle injury. Vernon and Jason Pierre-Paul need to exploit the opportunity that lies in front of them. Bears rookie Leonard Floyd actually has more sacks than both Giants’ ends combined. ESPN’s Jordan Raanan mentions Floyd as a possible future star, meaning Ereck Flowers will have his hands full.
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Offensive Line Issues
Injuries continue to plague the Giants’ depth along the offensive line. Justin Pugh went down a couple of weeks ago, and now his replacements, Brett Jones and Adam Gettis, are also dealing with their own ailments. Eli Manning better hope the offensive line is in order on gameday, because Pernell McPhee says, “We gonna sack him.” However, ESPN’s Jeff Dickerson points out that the line has been a strong suit for the Giants this year, with Manning only being sacked 12 times.
Commit to the Run
Rashad Jennings spearheaded the team’s rushing attack to its first 100-yard game since Week 3. The team averaged 4.5 yards per carry last week, far better than their typical performance this year. However, run defense is one of the Bears’ few strong suits. They allow opponents 98.4 yards per game on the ground. Even with the issues along the offensive line, the Giants must stick to the running game. It is a proven way of opening up play action and deep shots late in the game. While Shane Vereen is clearly missed, Jennings and Paul Perkins must continue to pick up the slack.
Nov 6, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox (91) tackles New York Giants running back Rashad Jennings (23) during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports
The phrase “trap game” is often overused, as any team can win on any given Sunday. With that said, the Giants cannot afford to get complacent and let this one slip away. Wins over the Bears and the Cleveland Browns would put the team in prime playoff positioning.
Robbie Gould makes his former team pay and kicks the Giants to 23-20 victory.