The Giants were in a unique situation Monday night against Dallas at MetLife Stadium. They were looking for their first 3-0 start since the 2009 season.
They struggled throughout the first half, but they managed to rally. Unfortunately, they fell short in a 23-16 defeat, in a contest needed more by the Cowboys than the Giants.
The G-Men (2-1) will look to get back on the positive track when they host the upstart Chicago Bears (2-1) at MetLife Sunday afternoon. Chicago is coming off a 23-20 victory over Houston.
New York’s Saquon Barkley continued his fast start as he rushed for 81 yards on 14 carries, one a 36-yard touchdown scamper. Barkley also hauled in four passes for 45 yards. But Barkley and his backfield mates will be challenged for top rushing honors this weekend with the run-hungry Bears.
Chicago has discovered an effective running game that produced 281 yards last week against Houston. Khalil Herbert paced the Bears with 157 yards and two touchdowns.
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N.Y. Giants vs. Chicago Bears Betting Odds
The Giants opened as 2.5-point favorites, but the point spread quickly got bet up to as high as 3.5 points. Since then, it has settled on the standard 3 points at most sportsbooks.
Protecting the Pocket
According to ESPN stats from the broadcast on Monday, Giants quarterback Daniel Jones was pressured 24 times last week. He was sacked five times and was the victim of 12 quarterback hits. Dallas’ Dexter Lawrence was nearly unstoppable with three sacks and three hits.
Through their first three games, the Giants have allowed 13 sacks. This is an offensive line that supposedly had worked out all of the kinks and was ready for a steady year.
As a result, Jones has completed a workmanlike 52 of 92 attempts for 560 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. Against Dallas, Jones was 20 of 37 for 196 yards with an interception, one that was in the final minute with the team trying to rally.
Next Generation stats showed Jones has been pressured 46.4% of the time he has dropped back to pass and 12.4% on every attempt. If not for Barkley’s effectiveness in the early going, the offense would be in major trouble.
A Closer Look at Each Team
Jones hasn’t been as daring as in the past, and new head coach Brian Daboll has kept him in the pocket with a conservative plan. However, Jones now has a 0-9 record in primetime games.
But Jones showed his ability to get out of the pocket against Dallas, as he ran for 79 yards and has 115 rushing yards for the season.
The major controversy here has been wide receiver Kenny Golladay, who has been unhappy with his playing time. Golladay had a major drop against Dallas, which would have been his lone catch. Golladay has two catches for 22 yards this season. But Golladay may now be center stage with the loss of fellow receiver Sterling Shepherd for the season with an ACL tear. Tight end Daniel Bellinger and wide receiver Richie James (14 catches) emerged as new targets, and their stock will rise with Shepherd’s absence.
Kadarius Toney has been bothered and sidelined with a hamstring injury, and Darius Slayton has been buried at the bottom of the depth chart. Toney likely won’t play this week, but Slayton will need to make his presence felt for a passing unit that is ranked 30th in the league.
Quarterback Justin Fields is the lightning rod with the Bears. Fields has been limited in what he can do in the first three games, and he recorded 297 yards with two touchdowns and four interceptions. He has been sacked 10 times despite dropping back to pass 67 times.
Yet, Fields has added to the Bears’ running game this season with 97 yards rushing. It will be about running the ball for the Bears, who execute it almost 63% of the time. Leading rusher David Montgomery left last week’s game with an ankle injury, but Herbert kept the attack churning.
Herbert now has a team-high 240 yards, while Montgomery has 197.
Equanimeous St. Brown is their big-play receiver with four catches for 77 yards, a 19.3 yards-per-catch clip, and Montgomery has five catches for 38 yards. Fields has completed 23 of 45 attempts for 297 yards.
The sticking point for the Giants has been their three sacks and lack of pressure. Against Dallas, the Giants only hit quarterback Cooper Rush twice.
The defense has allowed a 10 for 36 third-down conversion rate, 45 rushing yards for a 5.2 yards-per-carry allotment, and 610 passing yards.
The Giants’ secondary continues to be a tackling machine as Julian Love (27 tackles), Adoree’ Jackson (16), and Xavier McKinney (16) lead the team in stops.
The Bears have a talented linebacking crew, led by leading tackler Roquan Smith, who has 36 stops. Fellow linebacker Nicholas Morrow has 23 tackles.
Chicago has five takeaways — three interceptions and two forced fumbles — with veteran safety Eddie Jackson leading the way with two interceptions. The Bears have struggled to stop opposing offenses on third down, allowing a 40% conversion rate that is sixth in the league.
The Bears have allowed 4.76 yards per rush, and defensive end Trevis Gibson has a team-high 2.5 sacks of the six total sacks. Trestan Ebner has returned kickoffs for an average of 22 yards.
Series History and Injuries
The Bears lead the overall series that dates back to 1925 with a 36-24-2 margin. Chicago thumped the Giants, 29-3 in the last year’s season final on Jan. 2, 2022, in Chicago. The Bears have won the last three meetings with the Giants’ last win in 2018 when Aldrick Rojas kicked a game-winning field goal in overtime for a 30-27 victory.
Giants Injuries: Toney won’t play and also defensive end Leonard Williams (knee) will be out. Cornerbacks Cor’Dale Flott (calf), Nick McCloud (hamstring), wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson (knee), linebacker Jihad Ward (knee) will be out, and cornerbacks Justin Layne (concussion) and Aaron Robinson (appendix) could play.
Bears injuries: Montgomery (ankle), Linebacker Matthew Adams (hamstring), cornerback Dane Cruikshank (hamstring), and cornerback Jaylon Johnson (quad) will be out. Smith and wide receiver Velus Jones (hamstring) should play.
This will be an interesting game in many ways, one being how the Giants bounce back. Being at MetLife will help. Barkley should have a good day, and Jones could too with protection. I have a feeling the Giants’ defense will shut down the Bears’ running game and harass Fields. The Giants will easily cover the 3-point spread with a 24-10 victory.
Season record: 2-1
AP Photo/Steve Luciano