In front of what will feel like Soldier Field Sunday night, the Bears attempt to shock the football world and open 4-0.
- I always like the Chicago Bears.
- The Giants linebackers and defensive backs don’t match up well against the Bears’ offensive weapons, specifically Matt Forte and Greg Olsen. If the Giants commit to blitzing linebackers on third-and-long, Cutler will torch them for big yardage.
- The Giants defensive line is a standard 4-3, with Justin Tuck stationary on the left side. Brandon Manumaleuna has a terrific game, specifically early, holding Clay Matthews down. I think he’ll help Kevin Shaffer do the same to Tuck. If the Bears don’t get the Giants ends blocked, they’ll have a hard time moving the ball at all.
- Just like the Packers, the Giants will be able to move the ball through the air. Unlike the Packers, the Giants and Eli Manning struggle mightily getting seven inside the red zone. The Bears allowed two touchdowns to the Packers and both were tremendous plays by Aaron Rodgers. “Senator, you’re no Aaron Rodgers”.
- The Giants do have three good wide receivers – Nicks, Smith, Manningham – and the Bears defensive backs need to tackle. A slip on the turf, something we oddly do often, and the Giants have six.
- The special teams advantage for the Bears starts with the kickers but goes far beyond them. I’d be shocked if it doesn’t tip the scales ten points in our direction. Coughlin is ordering his struggling, rookie punter aim for the stands. (Amazing how the Hester threat is altering game plans again after one game.) But can the Giants cover Manning and Knox any better? I don’t think so. And the return of their special teams captain Chase Blackburn doesn’t exactly scare me.
- Giants fill-in center Adam Koets. Meet Lance Briggs. He’s good.
- David Diehl vs. Julius Peppers or Kareem McKenzie vs. Julius Peppers, it doesn’t matter. The mismatch is substantial and Peppers could be ready to take over another game in primetime. The more the Giants are forced to keep Kevin Boss on the line to block, the less they’ll be able to throw to him in the seam – a play that’s killed the Bears for years.
- Something is becoming apparent about this Bears team. Nobody’s running the ball against them. And if you can’t run the ball against a team, it makes putting them away very difficult. The Bears almost dare teams to keep throwing and then they’re second-to-none at forcing turnovers. I think they get a couple key ones Sunday night.
Chicago Bears 31, New York Giants 10