Gi­ants take noth­ing for granted against Bears

Seek­ing fifth straight win, New York on guard against a let­down

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Tom Cana­van AP Sports Writer

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:

CUT-TING IT

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.

KICK­ING MATCHUP

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.”

UP FRONT

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.

MATT DUN­HAM — AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

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.

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