Last week, we called the Giants-Eagles game a must-win for New York, needing a win to at least maintain some chance at winning the division.The New York Giants (0-5) are now in contention for a top-10 draft pick in the spring, and they're preparing to go on the road to Solider Field to face the Chicago Bears.
The Bears (3-2) have lost two in a row and face the Giants in a game they'll need to get back on track before their Week 8 bye. This is not the same Bears team the Giants have seen in recent years; though the defense is still a force, this is a more offensively potent squad, which means yet again the Giants D will have its hands full.
Here's what we're watching for on Thursday:
Giants' running backs vs. Bears linebackers
With David Wilson considered "week-to-week," Brandon Jacobs and Da'Rel Scott will have a chance to forge a running game against the Bears' front seven. Last week, Jacobs racked up 37 yards on 11 carries, while Scott watched the game from his couch.
Every week we consider the Giants rushing attack as something to watch because we've yet to see it get going. The Bears are holding opponents to fewer than 100 yards per game as their front seven remains stout. But if the Giants can find some running lanes, it takes a lot of pressure on Eli Manning, who is leading the league in interceptions.
[Related: Ed's Five Things to Watch]
Trumaine McBride vs. Alshon Jeffrey
With Corey Webster and Jayron Hosley out and Aaron Ross on IR, and Prince Amukamara expected to be busy shadowing Brandon Marshall, Trumaine McBride is expected to be assigned the suddenly surging Alshon Jeffrey.
McBride stands 5-foot-9, while Jeffrey is 6-foot-3, and the Bears No. 2 wideout has been unstoppable of late. Jeffrey has totaled 325 yards and two touchdowns in his past two games as secondaries have aimed to take Marshall out of the picture.
Matt Forte vs. Giants linebackers
Despite the mismatch, the Giants have done well slowing down the versatile running backs they've faced the past two weeks. They'll be tested yet again Thursday by Forte, a threat in both the running game and the passing attack.
The Giants held Jamaal Charles to 127 total yards two weeks ago and last week held LeSean McCoy to 92 yards. Slowing down Forte is essential because he's such an integral part of Chicago's offense. Eliminating Forte can make the Bears offense one-dimensional.
Martellus Bennett vs. Giants safeties
Whether the Giants put Antrel Rolle, Ryan Mundy or a linebacker on Bennett, it'll likely be a mismatch. The Giants rank 28th in the league against opposing tight ends, allowing about 72 yards per game and having surrendered five touchdowns so far.
The former Giants tight end is thriving in Chicago. Bennett has 281 yards and three touchdowns on the early season, and he'll be a main target for Cutler against the porous Giants D.
There's no specific matchup we're anxious to see here, but we are hoping to get an idea of what Beason can do at this point in his career. The Giants' linebacking corps has been anything but impressive, and Beason may be getting a shot to show Perry Fewell what he can contribute from the middle linebacker spot, currently occupied by Mark Herzlich.
Beason played in the middle for the Carolina Panthers before moving to the weak side to make room for first-rounder Luke Keuchly. The question is whether Beason has too much wear and tear on his tires.
Beason is just three years removed from a Pro Bowl season, but more recently underwent micro-fracture surgery on his knee. It's been a battle returning to his 2010 form ever since.
Follow Sam on Twitter @SamSpiegs
More from Big Blue View:
- Giants at Bears 2013 Week 6 Scouting Report: A look at the match-ups
- NFL Picks Week 6: Game-by-game predictions against the spread
- GameDay notes: David Wilson out several weeks -- report
- Giants at Bears 2013 Week 6: Game time, TV schedule, odds, online streaming, announcers, more
- On a short week, New York Giants relying on shaky backfield
- Giants at Bears 2013: 'Five Questions' with Windy City Gridiron
- Giants' Wednesday Injury Report: Six players out for game vs. Bears
- Giants say Jon Beason 'ready to contribute'
- Da'Rel Scott aims to make most of second chance
- Fantasy Football: New York Giants Start/Sit Week 6