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Chicago Bears vs. New York Giants
John J. Raspanti
The Bears roll in to the big apple as the only undefeated team in the NFC. It's difficult to determine how good they are, they snuck past Detroit, surprised Dallas and somehow found a way to win against Green Bay last Monday night. There's no disputing quarterback Jay Cutler's improved decision making and maturity. Against Green Bay Cutler did make some ill advised throws but for the season he is completing almost 66 percent of his passes with six touchdowns and only two interceptions. His mobility has come in very handy, as the Bears makeshift offensive line is shaky at best. For a team that used to get off "the bus running" that bus appears to have left town.
Matt Forte and Chestor Taylor are averaging less then 3 yards a carry, but
Forte leads the team with 14 catches out of the backfield. The Bears wide
receivers have been an active bunch, speedy Johnny Knox is a legitimate deep
threat having averaged 23 yards a catch against the Packers. Tight end Greg
Olsen continues to show good hands with 10 catches and two touchdowns. Devin
Hester has caught only 6 passes but might be due for a breakout game. The Bears
defense has been solid against the run but below average against the pass. Tony
Romo and Aaron Rodgers both found seems and open spots in the cover two, Rodgers
and Romo both threw for over 300 yards. Charles Tillman has played well but the
Bears are shaky in the safety position. The dynamic duo, linebackers Lance
Briggs and Brian Urlacher have both played tremendously leading the team with 25
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The Giants aren't ready to hit the panic button yet but things aren't going well. They have lost their last two games emphatically after opening the season with a victory over the hapless Panthers. Quarterback Eli Manning seems to be forcing things a bit as his six interceptions indicate. Manning has five touchdowns and has completed 65 percent of his passes, but his interception in the red zone last week against the Titans was a killer. Running back Ahmad Bradshaw is earning his money, gaining almost 5 yards a carry. Wide receiver Steve Smith leads the team with 18 catches but is gaining only 10 yards per catch. The Giants biggest threats are Mario Manningham and Hakeem Nicks. Manningham has been the deep threat with 17 yards a catch while Nicks has scored four touchdowns.
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Tight end Kevin Boss burned the Titans for 99 yards including a 54 yarder.
The Giants defenders upfront have been pushed around all year. Their run defense
has been horrible giving up an average of 136 yards a game. Their pass defense
is much better, allowing only 163 yards. Defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka has four
sacks already this year. Safety Antrel Rolle leads the team with 23 tackles
which is very impressive but indicative of the problems with the Giants front
four. Linebacker Michael Boley has picked up the slack as has the other safety
To win the Giants are going to have to score a lot of points. As Romo and Rodgers has shown the Bears secondary can be shredded, and Manning has some real weapons in Smith, Manningham and Boss. But if he makes a mistake, the ball hawking Bears will jump on it. The Bears know all about the Giants inability to stop the run. Look for them to try and exploit this flaw and get Matt Forte going. Jay Cutler will continue to mix it up and hope for some protection, while Giants defensive end Kiwanuka looks for some more sacks.
The Giants actually beat the Titans statistically last week. It was costly mistakes that cost the Giants. That being said, the New York radio air waves lit up this week with fans calling for Coughlins head. A win here takes a bit of pressure off. A loss, well, then it's time to hit the panic button.
We'd be shocked if we didn't get a big effort from the Giants this week. At
home, under the Sunday Night lights, with so much on the line. But we simply
don't trust them at this point. As we have mentioned in other write ups, it's
still to early to rely on stats, but the Giants numbers are atrocious. Their
defensive yards per point number is the worst in the NFL at 10.8 and their
offensive number is among the worst at 20. They are -4 in turnovers while the
Bears are +3. It's still a young season, but even this early, when you are among
the worst in the NFL, it's a big hill to climb.