The Chicago Bears have gone through more than their fair share of offensive difficulties as quarterback Justin Fields suffers growing pains. That was clearly evident last Sunday, as the Bears managed less than 100 yards through the air (83, to be exact).
Now Chicago goes into the Meadowlands to face off against the New York Giants, who are coming off a loss to the Dallas Cowboys. BetOnline customers can see this game on a regional basis at 1 p.m. Eastern time on the Fox Network.
The Bears knew that Fields was going to have a certain learning curve, and they also understand that because he takes shots down the field, he is going to be sacked and intercepted. Against the Houston Texans last Sunday, he was picked off twice and sacked five times. Those are seven negative plays right there, and you can weigh that against just eight completions on his part.
For the Giants, there has been some optimism with the arrival of Brian Daboll, but this team will sputter from time to time, as it did against the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night. The 23-16 loss came after victories against Tennessee and Carolina, and now there are without wide receiver Sterling Shepard for the rest of the season.
In the pro football betting odds posted on this game by the folks at BetOnline, the Giants are favored by a field goal:
New York Giants - 3 (-102)
Chicago Bears + 3 (-118)
Over 38.5 points -114
Under 38.5 points -106
Fields averages 9.7 intended air yards per attempt, so he throws it down the field quite a bit. And his receivers average better than six yards after the catch. Looking at those numbers, theoretically the Bears should be able to do some "chunk" plays. But the problem is, Fields is not all that accurate, completing barely over 50% of his passes. And he has been sacked ten times.
It's a good thing that they had a ground game last Sunday so that the Bears could pound out a 23-20 victory over the Texans. Chicago totaled 281 rushing yards, and 157 of them were supplied by Khalil Herbert, who also scored two touchdowns. David Montgomery had to leave the game with an ankle injury. He won't play Sunday.
Of course on the other side, Saquon Barkley has established himself as the favorite at BetOnline for comeback player of the year. So far he has run 39 times for 236 yards, and if you do the math that comes out to about six yards per attempt. The problem with the Giants, and this has to be directly attributed to Daboll, the first-year head coach, is that they have had at least some controversy surrounding their wide receivers. Kenny Golladay has been very vocal about not getting the football, although he played a role against Dallas (two catches, 22 yards). Others like Kadarius Toney have not really been utilized. Now Shepard is out for the duration, and that will present something of a conundrum for Daniel Jones, who is trying to make the big leap under some new direction.
In deciding who has the edge here, you have to consider that Fields is going to throw the ball away every so often, and when we say that, we mean to the other team. Chicago has to be run heavy; there's no question about that. But we are thinking that Wink Martindale, the first-year defensive coordinator who spent years in Baltimore, we'll have a pretty good plan for that. His defensive schemes are complicated enough to confuse his own players at the start; imagine what they'll do to Fields.
Daniel Jones is at least throwing with some accuracy, sitting at 71% with just one interception. So the Giants are less likely to make the bumbling mistake than these Bad News Bears. We will lay the points at MetLife Stadium.
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