Week 11 GameScout: Bears at Giants

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[November 17, 2016]  The Sports Xchange

Chicago Bears (2-7) at New York Giants (6-3)

KICKOFF: Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J. TV: FOX, Kevin Burkhardt, John Lynch, Pam Oliver.

SERIES HISTORY: 52nd regular-season meeting. Bears lead series, 30-19-2. The Bears won the last meeting in 2013, 27-21 at Soldier Field. The last meeting in New Jersey, in 2010, was won 17-3 by the Giants.

GAMEDATE: 11/20/16

KEYS TO THE GAME: The troubled Bears are backed into a corner in this game -- they must establish a running game first. They cannot come out firing the ball without receivers Alshon Jeffery (suspended) and Kevin White (on IR). If there were a week when they needed to establish the run, this is it. They need to do what they did last week: run it early and then stick with the run.

Not helping the Bears will be the loss of guard Kyle Long (ankle), who went on IR this week along with NT/DE Will Sutton.

The Bears not only are banged up beyond belief, they are coming off a stinging loss to the Bucs in which they committed five turnovers.

Bears QB Jay Cutler has shown that he doesn't like to be disrupted in the pocket and that he is susceptible to making the errant throw that often winds up in the hands of the opposing team. The Giants' pass rush should be able to have a field day against the mistake-prone QB, especially since his offensive line will be without Long.

The Bears must keep the game close so they can at least try to show a balanced offense. Attacking with stretch plays would be the ideal method against a Giants front with ends who are pass-rush oriented and tackles who can both stuff the run and go upfield.

The Giants are a one-dimensional offense: QB Eli Manning to WR Odell Beckham Jr.

The Giants' offensive line had its share of struggles Monday night against the Bengals' defensive front. This weekend, they could catch a break if Bears nose tackle Eddie Goldman (ankle) can't play. The Giants, whose running game had its best showing last week, could be in line to add to their late-season surge with the big-bodied Goldman out of the lineup.

The Bears' secondary needs to keep the safeties home, provide as much double coverage on Beckham as possible, and let players like Pernell McPhee, Danny Trevathan and Jerrell Freeman worry about any potential rushing plays.

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--Bears TE Zach Miller vs. Giants LB Keenan Robinson. Last week the Giants' defense was burned yet again by the opposing tight ends as Tyler Eifert and Tyler Boyd combined for five receptions and 108 yards. With Alshon Jeffery suspended, look for the Bears to try to get Miller, their leading receiver (44 catches and three TDs), involved as much as possible.

--WR Odell Beckham Jr. vs. Bears CB Tracy Porter. After posting mere mortal numbers in his first four games -- 75.7 yards per game with zero touchdowns -- Beckham has six touchdowns in his last five games and is averaging 94 yards per game. Porter, who leads the Bears with two picks, will try to hold Beckham down.

PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Giants RT Bobby Hart. Hart has been hanging in as the starting right tackle since inheriting the job in Week 2. As he continues to grow into the position, he will get a good test against OLB Willie Young, who leads the Bears with 6.5 sacks. Teams have found a way to quiet Young in recent weeks, holding him to just a half-sack in the last three games. If the Giants are to continue that trend, they will most likely devote quite a bit of help on that side of the formation.

FAST FACTS: Bears RB Jordan Howard recorded his fourth 100-yard rushing game of the season last Sunday, one shy of the Bears' franchise record for a rookie. Gale Sayers you say? Nope. Try Beattie Feathers in 1934 and Rashaan Salaam in 1995, who each had five. ... Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. passed the 3,500-yard milestone last week in his 36th game. Beckham reached the milestone in an NFL-record 36 games, besting the previous mark held by Lance Alworth (37 games). After their 21-20 home win over the Bengals on Monday night, the Giants have won four consecutive games. The last five-game winning streak occurred during in 2011, six straight wins from Week 16 to the Super Bowl.

PREDICTION: Although they will need to avoid complacency, the streaking Giants are the logical pick over the troubled Bears.

OUR PICK: Giants, 35-21.

--Frank Cooney


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