When the NFL announced the 2013 schedule, the Week 6 meeting between New York and Chicago appeared to be an attractive game. Both were considered to be playoff contenders before the season and the game was picked up for prime time on Thursday Night Football.
The season hasn't gone exactly as planned and the two teams will enter the game with a combined 3-7 record. Chicago has all three of those wins, but the Bears have lost back-to-back games after opening the season 3-0. Four of Chicago's games have been decided by eight points or less with the offense and defense each having issues at times.
New York has had major issues on both sides of the ball and at 0-5, may need a win to keep what little playoff hopes it has alive. No team in the NFC East has pulled away from the pack, but dropping to 0-6 would likely mean the Giants would have to win at least eight of their final 10 games to even have a shot at the playoffs.
Meet the Bears
Coming off a 40-23 win against Pittsburgh, Chicago was riding high heading into Week 4. The Bears then lost 40-32 to Detroit and followed that up with a 26-18 loss to New Orleans. Jay Cutler and the defense had issues against Detroit with Cutler tossing three interceptions. He was much better last week, completing 72.7 percent of his passes while throwing for 358 yards. Although he hasn't been perfect, Cutler and the Bears' offense is averaging 29 points per game, fourth best in the league.
Chicago's biggest issues thus far have come on the defensive side. The once-stout Bears defense is allowing 28 points per game. Chicago allowed 17.3 points per game last season and is allowing more than 60 more yards per game this season. Pass defense has been the bigger issue and the Bears are 24th in the league in stopping the pass. The Giants throw the ball a lot, so that could be problematic this week.
Meet the Giants
Not much has gone well for the Giants this season. New York is 30th in points scored and dead last in points allowed. If the season ended today, the Giants would have the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Defensively, New York has allowed 36.4 points per game, more than 15 points more per game than it allowed last season. There is a cliche that says good teams in the NFL stop the run on defense and run the ball well on offense. New York is 29th in the NFL in stopping the run and dead last in rushing yards. New York's defense has been built around a strong pass rush in recent seasons, only the Pittsburgh Steelers have fewer sacks than the Giants' five.
The Giants have had success racking up passing yards, but average just 56.8 rushing yards per game. The ineffective rushing attack will have to get by without David Wilson who is out with a neck injury. Instead, New York will be forced to rely on Brandon Jacobs, who is averaging 2.2 yards per carry this season.
New York has not protected the ball well, with its 20 giveaways eight more than any other team. Eli Manning's 12 interceptions are more turnovers than 30 teams have total.
Local Takes: Chicago
The Bears have struggled to protect Cutler in recent weeks, but when teams bring pressure and Cutler has time to throw, he's been very good as Lester A. Wiltfong Jr. of Windy City Gridiron wrote:
But to also be fair, when Jay Cutler wasn't being sacked by the blitzes, he was finding the open man. According to Pro Football Focus, Cutler was 7 of 8, for 108 yards, and a TD, for a sparkling 158.3 QB rating on the Saints' 11 total blitzes.
We were told by the Bears offensive players and coaches during training camp that the offense would be a work in progress, and so far through five games we've seen some good, and some bad. In my opinion, they're definitely coming along. Let's see where we stand so far...
Local Takes: New York
This preseason New York Giants safety Will Hill played very well when he had the opportunity. I looked at a friend and said, "It's a real shame that he's getting himself suspended. When he's on the field, he makes his presence known."
Hill showed that this past Sunday in his return after serving a four-game suspension for performance enhancing drugs. Hill played every defensive snap and make 11 tackles on the day. He shows a ton of flash on the field and puts a ton of pressure.
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Be sure to check out SB Nation's team blogs, Windy City Gridiron and Big Blue View, for more analysis and highlights from the game.
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@Brad Briggs -- Bears beat writer
I will say this: I think #Bears would rather play another game in London than be subject of HBO's "Hard Knocks."— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) October 8, 2013
@ConorTOrr -- Giants beat writer
The Giants offense and defense has been a mess this year, and a trip to Chicago isn't going to help the situation much. The panel at SB Nation unanimously has the Bears winning the game.
Chicago opened as a 3-point betting favorite according to OddsShark. Some oddsmakers now have the Bears as high as 9-point favorites.
The Bears will play another game against the NFC East, this time traveling to face Washington. New York will be in primetime again, this time on Monday Night Football against Minnesota.