After another tough loss on Sunday, the Bears (3-2) will take on a reeling Giants (0-5) squad Thursday night. Chicago struggled defensively last week against the high-powered Saints, but should have somewhat of a reprieve this week against an offense lead by Eli Manning and his 14 total turnovers. Thursday night games remain maddeningly difficult to predict due in large part to abbreviated game plans and practices. Although New York seems locked for a high draft pick this year, recall that this Giants team has won two Super Bowls in the last six years. The Bears’ defense simply cannot be relied upon any longer, so the onus rests squarely upon Jay Cutler’s shoulders in Week 6. Let’s go inside the numbers, supported by the great analytics from Pro Football Focus.
Giants Head Coach Tom Coughlin will look to exploit what has become a porous Bear defense. Despite the Bears’ struggles, the Giants have just three offensive players with positive grades from PFF, guard Kevin Boothe (2.4), wideout Victor Cruz (2.1), and receiver Hakeem Nicks (0.5). To date, the Giants have the league’s fourth-worst offensive grade (-51), ahead of just the Bills, Ravens, and Jaguars. The struggles have stemmed almost entirely from horrendous offensive line play. The Giants have bottom-four pass blocking and run blocking grades which obviously makes Eli Manning’s job a lot more difficult. The aforementioned Boothe has been solid, but Will Beatty (-9.3), Justin Pugh (-7.3), Chris Snee (-6.4), and David Diehl (-3.4) have simply let down what should be a fairly explosive offense. The line play has limited Manning’s ability to get the ball out to a dynamic wide receiving corps that features Cruz, Nicks, and impressive second-year player Rueben Randle. Each of these receivers possess big time run after catch ability, which could play a huge factor in this game’s outcome given the Bears’ tackling woes.
The Giants have virtually no running game to speak of, thanks in part to massively disappointing David Wilson (fantasy football owners can agree). Wilson, a former first round pick from Virginia Tech, will not play on Thursday, which paves the way for old-pro Brandon Jacobs and specialist Da’Rel Scott. Neither player offers much in the way of excitement, although Jacobs has been a serviceable pass blocker, as indicated by his (1.5) grade. Scott will handle some passing downs, but he remains a marginal talent at best. The Bears should have no problem stifling the Giants’ underwhelming ground game.