The Chicago Bears have a potentially dangerous game against the New York Giants on Sunday. In the famous words of Admiral Akbar, “It’s a trap!”
The Chicago Bears are riding high after a Thanksgiving Day 23-16 win over the Detroit Lions. The 8-3 Bears opened up a 1.5 game lead over the 6-4-1 Minnesota Vikings in the NFC North while sweeping three division games in a 12-day span. If the playoffs were to start today, the Bears would be the #3 seed in the NFC and host a Wild Card round game. All’s well in the windy city, right? Not so fast.
The Bears still have five games on the scheduling including a Week 14 matchup with the LA Rams, a game that got flexed into prime time to showcase a couple of the league’s best teams. I’m sure the Bears have the Rams, currently the #2 seed in the NFC, in their sights. But the Bears cannot get ahead of themselves.
This trip to New York has all the makings of a classic trap game. You’ve got a Bears team coming off a big win. They’ve had a little “mini” bye since they last played on Thanksgiving, so maybe they’re not quite as sharp as usual. The Bears have started to get some more national recognition and playoff buzz is growing.
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If you’re the Bears, you can’t help but look ahead to a Week 14 primetime showdown with the LA Rams and overlook a New York Giants team that has struggled with a 3-8 record and last place in the weak NFC East.
Despite their poor record, the Giants are not a team to be trifled with. They’re winners of two of their last three and had the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles on the ropes last week before the Eagles came back for a 25-22 win. The Giants have talent on both sides of the ball and are primed to play spoiler.
First and foremost, they feature rookie sensation, running back Saquon Barkley. You can question the Giants’ decision to pass on taking a quarterback in the draft, but you can’t argue with how dynamic Barkley has been. He’s a threat to take it to the house on any snap.
The other huge weapon on the Giants offense is Odell Beckham Jr. OBJ can change a game with just one hand. Admittedly, he needs Eli Manning, whose best days are clearly behind him, to get him the ball. The Bears pass rush should help get the ball out quicker and might pressure a bad throw. Cue the opportunistic secondary and NFC Defensive Player of the Month Eddie Jackson. Even though Eli has shown his age this season, he’s got experience and there’s not much Vic Fangio will throw at him that he hasn’t already seen.
From the Bears side, it’s starting to appear that Mitch Trubisky will not play on Sunday while he nurses his sore shoulder. That gives a mediocre Giants defense an edge against the Bears offense that will be led by Chase Daniel. The Bears offense hasn’t been able to get the running game going, which adds more pressure to Daniel.
As much success as the Bears have had, they haven’t exactly been lighting it up on offense. They’re averaging 349 yards/game, one spot behind the Giants who are putting up 351 yards/game.
If the Bears can avoid the trap game and escape from New York with a win, they’ll be in great shape for the stretch run toward a playoff spot for the first time since 2010.