Pleased to Meet You: Week 6, New York Giants

Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

The Bears are on a short week facing the Giants; we're looking ahead to tomorrow's matchup.

You can put me in with the Anti-Thursday-Night-Football people pretty squarely (certainly as it is, less so with bye-weeks preceding...), but maybe it's a good thing the Bears have a chance right away to wash the taste of two rough losses out of their mouths. This week, they go from facing the undefeated New Orleans Saints to taking on the hard-times New York Giants.

Last Year: The Giants missed the playoffs last season, but were still 9-7, which was good for second in the NFC East.

This Year: The Giants have somewhat inexplicably fallen off, hitting 0-5 this year with a combination of an injury report that reads like their entire roster page less Eli Manning, and a failure to execute on all sides of the ball. According to PFR's Simple Rating System, the Giants are the second-worst team in the NFL to only the Jaguars. (That same SRS lists the Bears as slightly-below-average and the Packers as the best team currently in the division, so...)

When Last We Met: The last time the Bears played the Giants, Jay Cutler didn't finish the game - the Giants racked up ten sacks en route to beating the Bears 17-3 in Week 4 of the 2010 season. It wasn't good, and we hardly speak of it again. The Giants rushed for 189 yards and two touchdowns, and Cutler and Todd Collins each got picked off once.

Offense:
Total Yardage:
1685 (20th)
Total Points: 82 (30th)
Passing Yardage: 1401 (10th)
Rushing Yardage: 284 (32nd)

The only consistent things right now on the Giants' offense are Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks, and Eli Manning. And Manning is having a rough go of it this year - his interception rate has skyrocketed, completion rate and touchdown rate have both plummeted and the running game that he's been able to lean on and use play action has been ineffective and injured to the point that the team re-signed Brandon Jacobs. Manning's taking more shots downfield in an offense that prefers to work shorter, but with the team currently as is, he's been taking sacks and missing shots.

Manning's receiving corps is still a good one though, although I think Giants fans would rather have Martellus Bennett back over Brandon Myers. That being said, Cruz, Nicks, Reuben Randle and Myers make for four really good to decent threats across the field. If they only had some pass protection, run blocking, and less injuries. David Wilson is out, center David Baas is injured, Chris Snee is on IR... It's not pretty.

Defense:
Total Yardage:
1976 (26th)
Total Points: 182 (32nd)
Passing Yardage: 1346 (22nd)
Rushing Yardage: 630 (27th)

It's just as bad defensively. Jayron Hosely, Mark Herzlich (questionable), Aaron Ross, Terrell Thomas, Damontre Moore, and Corey Webster all make appearances on the injury report. But let's try to put their year into some brief perspective... The Giants have yet to hold an opponent below 30 points, and the Giants have less sacks on the year than the Bears. (5.0 on the season)

But that doesn't mean the defense is without teeth, as most of their pass-rush is still around - Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck and Matthias Kiwanuka combined for 3 of the team's five sacks (maybe that's part of the problem, with Tuck and Kiwanuka breaking the 30-barrier...). And they haven't gotten bad safety/secondary play at all, though those injuries are piling up.

If the Bears do this...

The Bears have to figure out how to get after the passer with less-than-optimal personnel, with a team that's vulnerable to the pass-rush. But barring that, the Bears have to discover some way of getting the offense going earlier in games, because they can't keep doing this whole "be completely inept and discover how to play offense in the fourth quarter" thing all season and hope to have success. Ineffective running, occasional lack of protection and lack of executing short throws have been hurting the Bears in the early/mid-game. Clean that up.

If the Giants do this...

The strength of the Giants here is their receiving corps, and the safeties of the Bears (coupled with the Bears' inability to get a pass-rush) haven't been special. So, if the Giants rediscover how to protect the passer, Victor Cruz could give the Bears fits downfield.

Closing Thoughts:

It's Thursday Night Football, so short rest and a typically offense-optional game could make things tough on both sides, especially with one team losing pass-rush pieces and another with half its roster questionable for the game, but a win for the Bears would keep them at least with the Lions for first place in the North.

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