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Week 12 Game Preview: Bears-Giants

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Two terrible teams meet in Chicago. Is it even worth watching?

New York Giants v New York Jets

How many times will you be watching the game Sunday and think “I wish the Bears had Daniel Jones?”

Or maybe you’ll watch the game and say ‘Maybe Mitch isn’t as bad as it could be.”

Unlikely, but maybe.

Sunday’s game at Soldier Field is set to be a sad sloppy meeting between two bad football teams.

It isn’t certain which quarterback will start for the Bears, but does it matter? It’s just sad with either result.

We’re beginning the slog toward week 17 at this point with the final nail being drilled into the coffin last week. This may go down as the most disappointing Bears season in a long, long time.

New York Giants

SB Nation site: Big Blue View

Game day, time, TV: Sunday, noon, FOX

Record: 2-8, third in NFC East

Last game: 34-27 to crosstown rival Jets in week 10 (bye week last week)

Bears all-time record against: 28-21-2 regular season, 5-3 postseason

Historical match ups: In week 12, 1974, the 3-8 Bears met the 2-9 Giants at Soldier Field.

The Bears intercepted Giants quarterback Craig Morton three times and Bears quarterback Bobby Douglass attempted only 12 passes (completing five). Douglass rushed for a touchdown though and Gary Kosins also rushed for a touchdown.

The Bears won 16-13, despite both teams having less than 80 net passing yards.

This seems like an appropriate game to look at ahead of Sunday’s.

Last meeting: Last year, in week 13, the Bears played in New York with Chase Daniel starting.

Daniel again started the game in place of the injured Mitch Trubisky (sound familiar?), and he threw an early pick six and then another interception in the second quarter.

The Bears still led at halftime on the back of Akiem Hicks’ Freezer Left play. That would hardly be the last wild play of the day, though.

Early in the third quarter the Giants ran a trick play that saw receiver Russell Shepard catch a wide open 49-yard TD pass from fellow receiver Odell Beckham.

Daniel bounced back from the first half turnovers and led two straight scoring drives inside of the last two minutes, which included a trick play that saw Tarik Cohen throw a touchdown to Anthony Miller as time expired to force overtime.

Unfortunately, Saquon Barkely had his way over the Bears’ defense, rushing for 125 yards on 24 carries. In OT he had 36 net yards to help set up a Giants 44-yard field goal.

Daniel’s magic ran out as he couldn’t get Chicago past midfield and took a sack on third and four at the Bears’ 44 before missing Taylor Gabriel on the team’s last gasp fourth down.

Giants won 30 to 27.

Injury report: The Giants listed seven players on their Wednesday injury report:

Did not participate: TE Rhett Ellison (concussion), TE Evan Engram (foot)

Limited participation: T Nate Solder (concussion)

Full participation: WR Sterling Shepard (concussion), C Jon Halapio (hamstring), CB Janoris Jenkins (concussion), T Mike Remmers (back)

Offense: The Giants enter the game ranked 22nd in points scored and 24th in yards.

Their passing offense ranks 18th in yards and their rushing attack is 23rd.

Rookie quarterback Daniel Jones (63 pct. cmp./1,984 yds./15 TD/8 INT) is playing up and down, like one would expect from a rookie adjusting to the NFL. He’s thrown nine touchdowns and just one interception in his last three games, but those include awful defenses in Detroit and the Jets.

He may not have the running ability of other young quarterbacks around the league but he’s picked his spots and is averaging 6.5 yards per carry on just 32 attempts and has two touchdowns rushing.

Catching his passes have been Evan Engram (44 rec./467 yds./3 TD), Saquon Barkley (33/258/1), Golden Tate (33/417/3) and touchdown reception leader Darius Slayton (27/394/5).

Sterling Shepard (25/267/1), Bennie Fowler (23/193/0) and Rhett Ellison (18/167/1) have also filled in at times.

Note that Engram has missed practice Wednesday coming off the bye, along with Ellison and Shepard was limited.

On the ground, Barkley (101 att./402/2) is the leader but he’s been in and out of the line up at times. He killed the Bears last year and is certainly capable of doing it again, especially after what we saw Todd Gurley do last week.

Other running backs filling in have been Jon Hillman (30/91/0) and Wayne Gallman (28/109/2).

Defense: The Giants defense has not been good, coming ranked 30th in points allowed and 27th in yards.

Their passing defense ranks 25th, which may or may not be a boon to the Bears, but we’ve at least seen them put up touchdowns against bad defenses this season.

The Giants’ rushing defense ranks 23rd in yards allowed and 29th in rushing touchdowns allowed, with 12.

The defense is led by veterans Jabrill Peppers (71 tkls/3 FF/5 PD/1 INT), Antoine Bethea (72 tkls/2 FR/3 PD/1 INT), Alec Ogletree (52 tkls/1 sack/4 PD/3 TFL) and Markus Golden (43 tkls/6.5 sacks/15 QB hits/7 TFL).

Janoris Jenkins (4 INT/11 PD/42 tkls) leads the Giants in interceptions and passes defensed.

LB Lorenzo Carter (33 tkls/2.5 sacks/1 FF/2 PD) has also been a playmaker for the Giants.

Key match ups: If Mitch Trubisky is going to play, the Bears need to take advantage of the 25th ranked passing defense and for more than just three drives in the game.

Taylor Gabriel should be able to get open against the Giants’ secondary, who are pretty weak outside of Jenkins.

The Giants rank 22nd in sacks, so they have some trouble getting after opposing passers, which should give Mitch more time.

David Montgomery needs to get going against a defense allowing four yards per carry.

On defense, the Bears have to slow down Saquon. We all saw what Sean McVay and the Rams were able to do with Todd Gurley to get him to be effective even though he averaged a shade under four yards per carry.

Jones is a young QB who has been troubled by good defenses and torched bad defenses. The Bears have to get their pass rush going again and force Jones into mistakes.

What to watch for: Can the Bears beat even a bad team? Will Mitch Trubisky respond to his quasi-benching/sidelining?

Will the young and just promoted tight ends flash?

Key stats: The Giants come in losers of six straight before their bye week.

The Giants have lost three games to sub-.500 teams by one score or less this season

The Bears have only lost one game to a sub-.500 team

Daniel Jones is averaging 45 yards per game more than Mitchell Trubisky

David Montgomery has more touchdowns than Saquon Barkley but is averaging half-a-yard per carry fewer

The Giants rank 31st in turnover margin at -12: they have at least two turnovers in all but two games and have at least three turnovers in a game four times

The Giants haven’t won in Chicago since 2007

Pat Shurmur has won one more game than Matt Nagy in 33 more games as a head coach