Giants take nothing for granted against Bears
Seeking fifth straight win, New York on guard against a letdown
The Giants have won four straight and are in the playoff hunt, but they are not looking past the 2-7 Bears.
The New York Giants are facing something new heading into their game with the Chicago Bears.
For the first time in years, the Giants (6-3) are a legitimate playoff contender. They have won four in a row and are facing somewhat new questions preparing to play the struggling Bears (2-7) Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
Is this a trap game for a team that hasn’t made the postseason since 2011? Are they going to look past Chicago and even Cleveland (0-10) the following week and assume they are going to be 8-3 heading into the final five games?
Giants coach Ben McAdoo doesn’t want to hear the questions. His team is coming off an emotional Monday night win against the Bengals, and he insists that any team can step up and win. His job is to make sure the Giants are ready with a short week of preparation.
“You watch the film,” McAdoo said. “They’re better than their record. You can take their record and you can throw it out that window over there. It doesn’t matter. You have to prepare for what you see on film. They’re a dangerous offense and their defense is pretty dang good.”
Two weeks ago, the Bears played very well in beating the Vikings, a team that ran the Giants off the field. Last week, Chicago was pathetic against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Coach John Fox said there is still time for the Bears to make a run.
“I think that our division is pretty clumped up,” Fox said. “Believe it or not, we are only three games out of the division lead, so I think we still have a lot of games in there. I think we have only one AFC opponent left.
“I have been there before. One year in Carolina we were 1-7 and finished 7-9. If we win the last game, we fin-
ish 8-8 and are in the playoffs.”
The Giants can’t afford to overlook either the Bears or Browns because their schedule finishes with games against Pittsburgh, Dallas, Detroit, Philadelphia and Washington. Only the Steelers have a record under .500, and every one of those teams is in the playoff chase.
“It’s not a trap game because this is an NFL team,” Giants left guard Marshall Newhouse said. “I think around here and anywhere where people have been around long enough will tell you that if you don’t bring your stuff, people are going to beat you, and they will embarrass you.”
Things to watch Sunday:
From a triumphant return against Minnesota to a colossal flop against Tampa Bay, the past two games have summarized Jay Cutler’s eight seasons with the Bears.
He went from leading them to a win over NFC North leader Minnesota in his return from a sprained right thumb to delivering one of his worst performances.
He threw interceptions on consecutive passes in the first quarter against the Buccaneers, the second one leading to a field goal. He fumbled twice — losing one at Tampa Bay 4 — and got sacked four times. Cutler did that against a team that gave up more than 1,000 yards in total offense in backto-back losses to Oakland and Atlanta.
Giants placekicker Robbie Gould is the Bears’ alltime leading scorer. He was released by Chicago
a week before the start of the season and Connor Barth was signed to replace him. Barth had been let go by New Orleans.
Gould was signed by the Giants on Oct. 22 after revelations about the extent of the domestic abuse allegations against Josh Brown. Gould has made his only field goal attempt and all nine extra points in three games. Barth is 12 of 15 on field goals and perfect on 15 PATs.
“I was talking to coach McAdoo at practice, what do I have to be upset about?,” Gould said. “I got to play with one team for 11 years with a lot of great teammates, with a lot of good memories and they made a decision. I am really happy here, I love being a Giant.”
NO JEFFERY, LONG
The bad news continued to mount for the Bears. Top receiver Alshon Jeffery was suspended for violating the NFL’s policy on performance enhancing substances, and star guard Kyle Long went on injured reserve because of a right ankle injury.
“You’re losing two leaders on the team,” cornerback Tracy Porter said. “Alshon and Kyle, they both play at a very high level, so to lose those two key pieces, not just offensively but their presence — it does a lot for the team, the guys really look up to them.”
Bears outside linebacker Pernell McPhee boasted that his defense was going to get to Eli Manning and sack him. The Giants offensive line heard the comment, so it will be interesting to see if Manning stays clean.
New York has allowed 13 sacks this season. The Bears have gotten 24.
Giants kicker Robbie Gould runs on the field before the team’s game against the Rams at Twickenham stadium in London last month. Gould played with the Bears for 11 years before he was released before this season.