A look at four keys for the Bears to beat the New York Giants.
1. Utilize Matt Forte
Not only are the Giants ranked 27th in the NFL in rushing defense, allowing 126 yards per game, but the Bears simply haven’t been using Forte as much as they should have the past two weeks — both losses. The Bears need to stay committed to a balanced offensive attack because Jay Cutler can’t get into a rhythm if the defense knows he’s dropping back every down to sling the ball. The Giants only have 5 sacks this season, second-worst in the NFL, but they have some good pass rushers who are dangerous every time they set foot on the field. The Giants surely saw game film from Sunday’s Bears-Saints game and might try to throw some different blitz packages at the Bears. This is all the more reason the Bears need to run the ball with Forte and use him as a receiver out of the backfield more.
2. Start fast
The Bears couldn’t get anything going offensively this past Sunday against the Saints and before you knew it, they were down, 13-0. It’s awfully hard to bounce back against a good offense when you spot them a two-touchdown lead. The Giants aren’t as good as the Saints, but the Bears have a chance to bury the struggling G-Men if they can move the ball in the first quarter and end drives with points — like they’ve done in other games this season. Get the ball, move the chains, eat up first-quarter clock, and put points on the board. Seven points ideally, but three points at least.
3. Control the tempo; avoid a shootout
The Giants may be 0-5, but they’re not the Jacksonville Jaguars. They have a two-time Super Bowl MVP at quarterback in Eli Manning, they have two top-notch wide receivers in Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks, and they have a solid tight end whom defenses need to account for in Brandon Myers. Add to the fact that running back David Wilson is out for the game and that the Giants have nothing to lose at this point and suddenly they become a dangerous passing team. It’s obvious the Bears have had struggles rushing the passer this season and that the secondary — specifically the safeties — have had problems in coverage. The Bears don’t want to get into a shootout here. They need to utilize Forte, as previously mentioned, and force the Giants into having to make sustained drives. Takeaways will come for the defense.
4. Play a 3-phase game
The Bears have an encouraging offense that can — and have — put up points. But they’re not good enough alone to win games. The Bears have one of the best kickers in the league and one of the best kick returners of all time. But their punting has been suspect as well as their coverage, and their special teams are not good enough alone to win games. The Bears have a few multi-Pro Bowl players on their defense and still can force offenses into coughing up the ball. But their pass rush has been bad and their coverage troubling, and the defense is not good enough alone to win games. … Do you see the trend here? It’s going to take a three-phase effort to win games this year. Because whereas no single unit can win games, one single unit can lose them. In the past, the defense and special teams were able to win games in spite of a bad offense. This year, I’m not sure that two solid units will overcome a poor showing from the third.