But the two squads both stand at 2-1 before their matchup this Sunday in New York. The G-men will look to avenge a 29-3 thrashing by the Bears from last season, while the Bears seek their first 3-1 start since 2020.
Before these two storied franchises take to the field, let’s take a look at each team’s respective position groups and compare them to see who is looking better on paper.
Players to Watch: Justin Fields (CHI), Daniel Jones (NYG)
Neither of the former 1st-round QBs have performed…great…this year. Fields is coming off maybe one of the worst games of his career: 8/17, 106yds., and two interceptions. He added a decent amount of yards on the ground as he always does (47 yards on eight carries), but it’s time Fields starts flashing his talent through the air. It’s still early in the season and the offense is still trying to mesh, but the concern around Fields is starting to grow in Chicago.
Jones has his fair share of criticizers as well, but his stats are leaps and bounds above Fields’. A 64.1% completion rate, 560 passing yards, three touchdowns compared to two interceptions, and 125 rushing yards have earned Jones an adequate 82.7 QB rating and his team a 2-1 record.
So while both QBs might be playing well enough to get their teams wins, Jones has just looked better so far while Fields is really struggling to find a groove.
Player to Watch: Khalil Herbert (CHI), Trestan Ebner (CHI), Saquon Barkley (NYG), Matt Breida (NYG)
When David Montgomery went down vs. the Texans last Sunday, the worry around the Bears’ run game (and offense) was palpable. However, Herbert gladly took on the challenge, putting up 157 yards on 27 carries and adding two touchdowns. Ebner also got a decent look at, getting seven carries and rushing for 23 yards.
Barkley is having something of a bounceback year for the Giants. While he hasn’t quite matched his week one outburst of 164 yards against the Titans, he’s still put up a respectable 72 and 81 yards in weeks two and three respectively. Due to Barkley’s newfound prominence, Breida hasn’t really gotten many touches this season, only getting seven throughout the first three weeks.
While it is entirely possible Herbert can come close to replicating his week three success, the money’s on Barkley to produce the better game.
Players to Watch: Darnell Mooney (CHI), Equanimeous St. Brown (CHI), Richie James (NYG), Kenny Golladay (NYG)
Much like their respective QBs, both receiving corps have left a little something to be desired. In his first year as WR1 for the Bears, Mooney has only reeled in four receptions for under 30 yards. He’s also catching the ball under a 50% rate, which is what’s scary. St. Brown though has been impressive, especially for his versatility as he ripped off a 41-yard rush against the Texans.
James has been one Daniel Jones’ favorite weapon so far this year, as he is second on the team in receiving yards with 146. The leading receiver, Sterling Shepard, is listed as questionable right now, so wait to see if he gets snaps Sunday. In terms of who is healthy, Golladay has continued to underperform his contract, but he’s clearly a talented player if his time with Detroit is anything to go by. Maybe a breakout against his former NFC North rival could be in the cards.
While neither group instills the most confidence, the Giants’ group has put up the better numbers so far, so they get a bit more confidence for now.
Players to Watch: Cole Kmet (CHI), Daniel Bellinger (NYG)
We officially had a Kmet sighting last game, as the third year TE had his first two receptions of the year for 40 yards, leading all Chicago receivers. Bellinger also had 40 yards last week against the Cowboys, but that added to his already existing 16 yards from week two against Carolina.
Bellinger might have more production, but assuming Kmet’s game represents him settling into a bit of a groove, the talent he’s flashed throughout the years earns him the nod here.
Players to Watch: Teven Jenkins (CHI), Lucas Patrick (CHI), Andrew Thomas (NYG), Evan Neal (CHI)
Both offensive lines have some work to do. The Giants o-line, despite having some serious draft capital invested into it (Thomas, Neal), gave up three sacks as well as 16 pressures to the Cowboys on Monday night. Meanwhile, the Bears counterparts didn’t fare too much better pass protection wise, giving up two sacks and five hurries on 25 snaps.
However, the Bears’ run blocking has been absolutely excellent, and acted as a big reason the team was able to run all over the Texans in week three. If the frontline keeps that kind of work up, the Bears will not only have a huge advantage run wise, but in the game as a whole.
Players to Watch: Robert Quinn (CHI), Justin Jones (CHI), Dexter Lawrence (NYG), Azeez Ojulari (NYG)
While the linebackers and secondary did most of the damage for the Bears Sunday, the d-line did their part as well. Houston was held under 100 yards rushing and Jones even picked himself up a sack.
Like the Bears, the Giants’ d-line wasn’t the standout defensively, as three members of the team’s secondary represented New York’s top three tacklers against Dallas. Lawrence still added five sacks, and Jihad Ward, who is listed on the team’s depth chart as both a linebacker and defensive lineman, added six of his own.
But, Dallas was able to run for 176 yards against the Giants, so the point goes to the Bears and their stout run defense.
Players to Watch: Roquan Smith (CHI), Nicholas Morrow (CHI), Kayvon Thibodeaux (NYG), Tae Crowder (NYG)
Roquan. Smith. That’s really all that needs to be said. The star linebacker for the Bears was already having a good season before week three, but he went absolutely nuclear against the Texans, picking up 16 tackles, two for loss, and a key interception that put the Bears in range for Cairo Santos’ game winning field goal. Morrow also continued his strong season, adding another six tackles to jack his total up to 23.
No Giant linebacker has put up eye popping stats. Jihad Ward leads the team in tackles with 16, but is now listed on the depth chart behind Thibodeaux. Thibodeaux, the former stud prospect, made his season debut Monday night against Dallas and recorded one tackle.
The fact of the matter is that the Giants just don’t have anyone on the level of Smith, especially if that Texans game is just a preview of the player Smith is gonna be for this season.
Players to Watch: Jaquan Brisker (CHI), Eddie Jackson (CHI), Julian Love (NYG), Xavier McKinney (NYG)
Brisker and Jackson already look like one of the best safety duos in the league. Brisker hardly plays like a rookie, only allowing 37 yards on 96 coverage snaps. Meanwhile, Jackson looked like the turnover machine he once was in week three, forcing a fumble and snagging an interception.
The Giants’ secondary are no slouches either. Love, McKinney, and Adoree’ Jackson were the top three tacklers against the Cowboys (McKinney was also tied with DL/LB Jihad Ward). But no matter how good those three were, it’s hard to compare to what Jackson and Brisker, along with CB Jaylon Johnson, have been doing for the Bears.
Players to Watch: Cairo Santos (CHI), Trenton Gill (CHI), Graham Gano (NYG), James Gillan (NYG)
Santos has got to feel good right now after hitting the game winning field goal as time expired against the Texans. After a sloppy week one (literally), Santos has been perfect in both the FG and PAT categories, proving to be as reliable as ever for the Bears.
Gano’s only miss on the year came on a blocked 47 last game against the Cowboys. But in a game between two offenses with some question marks, punters may become an important aspect of the game.
Gill, the Bears’ rookie out of NC State, has fit the bill so far. He’s averaging just under 47 yards a punt, and has pinned it inside the 20 three times. Meanwhile, Gillan has been absolutely booting the ball so far this year, averaging 49.8 yards per punt, and pinning the opposing team within their own 20 six times.
If this trend continues, there’s a good chance the Giants end up with better field position all game, which is always a plus for teams.
UPDATE: The Bears signed kicker Mike Badgley, so that likely means Cairo Santos, who has been away for personal reasons, will miss tomorrow’s game against the Giants.
Two rookie head coaches face off in Matt Eberflus and Brain Daboll. The two have done a good job thus far in leading their teams to 2-1 records. It does feel like Daboll has a little say over his team’s scheme and Xs and Os, while Eberflus is a bit more of a big picture guy, while letting his assistants cook up the actual football plays. In that regard, Eberflus has done an excellent job, as the team really seems to be rallying around their first year head coach despite the tough circumstances of the year.
The rest of the coaching staff for the Bears hasn’t received as much love. Alan Williams, the first year defensive coordinator, has done fantastic work for the Bears’ defense, but his offensive counterpart in Luke Getsey hasn’t landed on fan’s good sides yet, especially in regard to his reluctance to let Justin Fields throw.
Both staffs are still young and opinions about them are still forming, and maybe it’s just because this is a Bears blog that hears their side of the story more, but the Giants’ staff seems to be instilling more confidence right now, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Not to mention Daboll was one of the hottest coaching prospects this offseason. It’s close, and things could change in just a couple weeks, but Daboll and co. take the cake for now.
Bears: Five Advantages
- Tight Ends
- Offensive Line
- Defensive Line
Giants: Five Advantage
- Running Backs
- Wide Receivers
- Special Teams