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Giants at Bears, first look: Both teams have disappointed thus far

Giants still hoping to make progress

Chicago Bears v Los Angeles Rams
Mitchell Trubisky
Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images

Sunday’s meeting between the New York Giants and Chicago Bears features two teams who had vastly different expectations entering 2019, but who have each endured similarly disappointing seasons.

The Giants, trying to find their way out from under a string of mostly bad seasons, were hoping to improve after a 5-11 season in Pat Shurmur’s first year as head coach. Instead, the optimism of Daniel Jones’ impressive first couple of starts has faded, the Giants have lost six straight to tumble to 2-8 and now they will be fortunate to equal their 2018 victory total.

The Bears, coming off a 12-4 season and an NFC North title in 2018, had Super Bowl expectations after a disappointing Wild-Card round exit from the playoffs. Instead, the offense has been among the worst in the league as quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has failed to meet expectations, the Bears have lost five of six and at 4-6 seem unlikely to even reach the NFC playoffs.

Neither team then has had the kind of season it had envisioned.

The Giants are currently 6-point underdogs in the 1 p.m. ET game at Chicago’s Soldier Field.

Could the Giants, for the second season in a row, catch the Bears during a week when they are using their backup quarterback?

A year ago, with Chase Daniel playing for an injured Mitchell Trubisky, the Giants handed the Bears an upset loss in overtime. Trubisky left Chicago’s game on Monday night against the Los Angeles Rams with a hip pointer. His status is currently unknown, although Bears coach Matt Nagy told Chicago media on Tuesday that Trubisky would “absolutely” remain the team’s quarterback if he is healthy enough to play.

While Trubisky and the Chicago offense have been struggling, Nagy told media that removing the quarterback was not performance related.

“It had zero to do with his play,” Nagy said. “It was completely based off of the injury that he had last night and where he’s at, 100 percent.”

The Giants have their own problems.

The optimism of a 2-2 start fueled by the insertion into the lineup of rookie quarterback Daniel Jones faded long ago. Six straight losses, including disappointing ones at home to the Arizona Cardinals and New York Jets in games where the Giants were favored, have plummeted the Giants to 2-8.

In a year they hoped to measure by progress, they will now have a difficult time matching last season’s total of five victories. There are questions being floated about the future of coach Pat Shurmur. Maybe GM Dave Gettleman, too. Even if those two decision-makers stay there are likely changes coming to the coaching staff. Some highly-paid, disappointing veteran players could also find themselves looking for work.

Jobs are on the line, and how the remainder of the season plays out for the Giants could have a great deal to do with who stays and who goes.

That begins Sunday in Chicago.

The Giants are already playing rookies far more than any team in the league. We may see an uptick in snaps for guys like Julian Love, Sam Beal, Kaden Smith and a few other young players, but there isn’t much the Giants can do at this point in the season personnel-wise. Schematically, look for tweaks coming out of the bye but not a major overhaul.

“You never just keep rolling. You’re always trying to do the things your players do well, and do more of that and less of the other. I think that’s fair to say,” Shurmur said. “As you watch trends in the league or you’re watching opponents against who you’re going to play that next week, you can start to see the things that trend that are good against that opponent. Then you just have to try to do the things that your team matches up well with that opponent doing.”

The Giants haven’t done much of anything well enough over their first 10 games. Beginning Sunday, we find out if they can change that over their final six.