Above: my hometown. It’s a shitty town a few miles outside New York City. It was called Soccertown USA after we put three guys on the 1994 World Cup team.
Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?
I always like the Chicago Bears…
…and these two teams are headed in opposite directions. The Bears are a team on the rise, a few wins from a division title and their first postseason trip in eight years. The Giants are enduring the final days of a champion quarterback and are probably a few years away from being contenders again. (They’ve also got Norv Turner 2: The Revenge at head coach.)
A Fan of the Bears, in the Shadow of Giants
I grew up in the shadow of the Meadowlands,
My father’s hand-painted Lawrence Taylor poster board displayed in the dining room window for all of Kearny, New Jersey to see.
The white 5 and 6 sat awkwardly on the faded blue paint, like two tourists afraid to speak their native tongue in a foreign cafe.
I could have chosen the Giants. It would have been easy.
I could see their building out my bedroom window.
The window above my elephant toy box, laden with blue and red and green spots for some reason.
The window I’d shout out to my friends from on Saturday mornings.
I could have chosen the Giants and celebrated Super Bowl titles four times.
Could have had Tyree and Norwood wide right and Manningham up the sideline.
But those would just be rings.
Brief but wonderful celebrations of athletic success.
I could have chosen the Giants,
And I would have a team.
I chose the Bears.
And got a life.
Got this website, my thirteen-year and counting passion project.
Got Reverend Dave’s bullshit and “Bears Jeff” in the Josie Woods computer.
Got Rick Pearson at the Goat and Adam Jahns out in Edison Park.
Got the Old Town Alehouse and Rossi’s and Pippin’s and the Twin Anchors.
Got Seurat at the Institute and the crust at Pequod’s.
Got the motherfuckin’ Q Brothers, what you got?
I was born and raised in the shadow of Giants Stadium, a big concrete structure in a filthy swamp where Big Blue played their football.
But I found home in the city of the Chicago.
Where the Bears are.
Who Are the Giants?
Living in NYC, I know as much about the two local football teams as I do the Bears because I listen to local sports radio for hours and hours every single day. Here are six points on the Giants:
- This is one of the worst offensive lines in the sport but their numbers have actually improved in recent weeks by facing San Francisco and Tampa. They’ve cut two of their opening day starters – tackle Ereck Flowers and former Bear Patrick Omameh. Nate Solder has been awful at left tackle. This line is incapable of controlling the line of scrimmage in the run game and incapable of giving Eli Manning more than a second or two in the pocket. (This unit also commits a lot of penalties once they’re put under pressure.)
- Khalil Mack vs. right tackle Chad Wheeler might be the most significant mismatch the Bears face all season. Wheeler has been a combination of poor and injured in 2018. Note to Vic Fangio: don’t let Mack move around this week. He doesn’t need to. Sit him off Wheeler’s hip and let him ruin the game.
- If you tackle the Giants, you beat the Giants. The line doesn’t block well for Saquon Barkley but that doesn’t make him easy to stop in the run game. He might be the hardest back to tackle in the game right now. And Eli completes most of his passes quickly and short. So if the Bears don’t take good angles and wrap up, Odell Beckham and Sterling Shepard will take bubble screens to the house.
- Giants traded Snacks Harrison, one of the best run stuffing tackles in football, to Detroit a month ago. They are now firmly one of the worst rush defenses in the league. Last week against Philly the Giants offense couldn’t even get on the field in the second half because their defense couldn’t get off of it. I’m no longer predicting the Bears to have breakout games on the ground. But if Matt Nagy wants to make things easy on his club Sunday, he might wanna run it more than seven times.
- Only the Oakland Raiders sack the quarterback less than the New York Giants. For comparison: the Bears have 34 sacks. The Giants have 14. So the Giants give you yards on the ground and time to throw.
- The Giants aren’t good.
Tomorrow: Few tidbits & game prediction!