This week’s Thursday night game looked like a much better matchup on paper a month or so ago then it does now. The Giants sitting at 0-5 go into Chicago to take on the Bears who after winning their first three games have gone on to lose their next two. The Giants offense has struggled for multiple reasons up to this point but the play of Eli Manning has been a big one. Through five games, Manning has thrown 12 interceptions compared to eight touchdowns which is clearly not an indicator of his abilities. This could be attributed to an offensive line that has really struggled up to this point. The line has had a hard time opening running lanes and giving Manning time in the pocket.
Due to the injury of David Wilson, the Giants are paper thin at running back right now. Look for Brandon Jacobs (who the team picked up off the street a few weeks ago) and Da’Rel Scott (who was recently released and just got picked back up) to split carries. The Bears have struggled against the pass and the Giants have the personnel to take advantage. Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Rueben Randle all have game-breaking ability so if Manning has time to throw, the Giants could put up some points.
The Bears have an offense that has all the looks of a contender but the final result all rides on Jay Cutler. Cutler has shown a history of inconsistency but so far has only had one game where he’s really struggled. A big game could be in store for Matt Forte this week as the Giants have had problems containing the run and Forte could also play a role in the passing game. Another player who could have a nice stat line is Brandon Marshall. Marshall was double teamed consistently against the Saints last week and as a result, Alshon Jeffery broke out and had a game with over 200 yards and a touchdown. Now that the league has seen what Jeffery is capable of, Marshall should see more single coverage this week.
Overall, this game could be very interesting as it definitely qualifies as a “must win” for the Giants and the Bears need this in what should be a very tough NFC North. While the Thursday night games are usually pretty sloppy, this one does have all the makings of a shootout. My prediction is Giants 23 Bears (-7.5) 34.