Tale of the Tape: New York Giants at Chicago Bears
The New York Giants look to end their winless stretch Thursday night as they visit the Chicago Bears. Here's our tale of the tape for this mid-week matchup:
Here's the breakdown in our betting tale of the tape:
The combination of Andre Brown's broken leg in the preseason and David Wilson's ineffectiveness and recent neck injury has saddled the Giants with the worst rush-yards-per-game average in the NFL (56.8). That likely won't improve much with Brandon Jacobs and Da'Rel Scott handling the rushing duties Thursday. Eli Manning has been turnover prone, but has still led the Giants to the ninth-most passing yards per game in the league through five weeks (280.2).
Chicago's Marc Trestman-led offense has been solid, if unspectacular. Jay Cutler has the team ranked 12th in pass yards per game at 260.6, and is tied for the fifth-most passing touchdowns in the league with 10. Chicago is sitting in the middle of the pack in rushing yards per contest (108), and its four rushing touchdowns is tied with the Seattle Seahawks for 11th in the NFL.
The Giants' defensive effort to date has been an abomination. New York is 22nd in the league in passing yards allowed per game at 269.2 - a total that may have been even higher were it not for the Denver Broncos, Carolina Panthers and Kansas City Chiefs opting to run the ball late in their blowout wins over the Giants. The run defense is even worse, with New York allowing the fourth-highest per-game average in football (126).
Chicago may not have as many defensive issues as its Thursday counterpart, but the once-vaunted Bears defense is showing cracks in the absence of retired linebacker Brian Urlacher. The Bears rank a stunning 24th in pass yards permitted per game (278.4), though facing Matthew Stafford and Drew Brees back-to-back certainly doesn't help. Chicago is considerably better against the run, ranking 13th overall at 98.2 yards per game against.
Even a competent kicking game has eluded the Giants so far in 2013. After cutting Lawrence Tynes loose in the offseason, the Giants turned to Josh Brown - and he has made just 4-of-6 field goal attempts this season, missing kicks against Carolina and Kansas City and not registering an attempt against Philadelphia last weekend. New York has the second-worst kickoff return average (18.7) but is the only team in the league with more than one punt-return touchdown.
The Bears have one of the best placekickers in the league in Robbie Gould, and he has been his best so far. Gould has connected on all eight of his field-goal attempts, including a 27-yarder in last Sunday's 26-18 loss to the Saints. Chicago boasts one of the top return games in the league, ranking third in both kickoff return average (27.1) and punt return average (15.2). The Bears are also one of only two teams with a kickoff return touchdown this season.
"Sometimes it's good to have a short week and just stay focused and quickly get your focus on Chicago and start game planning and get excited about how we're going to run our offense and how we're going to make some plays." - Giants quarterback Eli Manning
"(The loss to New Orleans) really was about our offense's inability to move the football. It was unacceptable. (After) the way we practiced, the way we worked and the way we started games and moved the football in the first month, (the loss) was terribly disappointing." - Bears head coach Marc Trestman