Despite the disappointing records of these two teams, this Sunday's matchup will quite be interesting to watch. The 60th all-time meeting between the Chicago Bears (4-6) and the New York Giants (2-8) will take place on Sunday with both teams having something to play for.
Despite losing five of their last six, the Bears are still hopeful for an 11th-hour playoff spot. And while the Giants are going through some growing pains with rookie quarterback Daniel Jones, they're evaluating talent for next year and beyond.
The Bears seemed to rediscover their stride two weeks ago when they defeated the Lions at home. But when they went Los Angeles last week, the Rams held the Bears to their third-lowest point total (7) of the season. What was once touted as a much-awaited rematch from last season was anything but.
As for the Giants, they are in the midst of a six-game losing streak after a promising 2-2 start. Four of their last six opponents have gone over the 30-point mark against them, they've dealt with injuries, and they're adjusting to changes. Furthermore, the Giants are one loss from clinching a third straight losing season, although perhaps rest from their bye week could spark a resurgence.
Both teams are looking to turn things around and they hope that turnaround starts on Sunday.
New York at Chicago
Kickoff: Sunday, Nov. 24 at 1 p.m. ET
Spread: Bears -6
Three Things to Watch
1. Quarterbacks will be the focus
For the Bears, it could be a matter of who starts at quarterback. Mitchell Trubisky was pulled just before the final possession of last week's game against the Rams and was replaced by Chase Daniel. The team said that Trubisky was dealing with a hip injury. But both the fans and media have found that hard to believe for two reasons: the struggles that Trubisky has had this season and the fact that he's been practicing this week despite being listed with said injury. But it's doubtful that we'll ever hear the truth about the situation, as the belief is that Trubisky was finally benched for subpar play.
If Daniel somehow starts on Sunday, it won't be a bad thing. He's 45-for-64 (70.3 percent) this season over parts of three games for 435 yards and three touchdowns. Daniel is averaging 6.8 yards per pass, has a 91.6 passer rating, and went 1-1 during Trubisky's absence earlier this season with a shoulder injury. We'll just have to play the waiting game on this one.
Daniel Jones has been one of the few bright spots for the Giants this year. The sixth overall pick in this year's draft leads all rookie signal-callers in touchdown passes (15), ranks second in passer rating (88.0), and is third in both passing yards (1,984) and passing yards per game (220.4). Jones is also seventh among all quarterbacks league-wide in rushing yards (208). His strong arm, accuracy, mobility, and ability to learn playbooks quickly is why the Giants selected him to be the successor to Eli Manning.
2. Saquon Barkley vs. David Montgomery
This is a matchup that shouldn't go unnoticed. Both players have been integral parts of their respective offenses despite their teams' lack of success. The rookie Montgomery has accumulated 649 total yards and has scored five rushing touchdowns, but he's been dealing with a hamstring injury over the last couple of weeks. The Bears haven't used Montgomery in the run game as much as they should, and that's part of what's been holding this offense back to some degree. But when he does get the ball, he makes things happen for the Bears with his speed and vision.
As for Barkley, the second-year back out of Penn State has made the most of his opportunities when healthy. Even though he missed nearly a month with an ankle injury, Barkley has still managed to contribute 660 total yards and account for three touchdowns. While both men haven't exactly lit up the boxscores this season, they are capable of being difference-makers in this game.
3. Both defenses will be tested
It's taken a while but the Giants are finally starting to get healthy. Expected on the field for the first time this season will be Barkley, along with wide receivers Golden Tate (second on the team with 417 receiving yards), Darius Slayton (leads team with five touchdown catches), and Sterling Shepard (25 catches, 267 yards, touchdown).
In addition to Barkley's ankle, Shepard (concussion) has missed several games, while Tate was suspended for the first four games of the year. Tight end Evan Engram, who leads the team with 44 catches 467 yards, is still sidelined due to a foot injury, but Jones has more weapons than he has had to attack a Chicago defense that's held three of its last four opponents under 20 points. The Bears are giving up just 17.4 points per game despite their offensive struggles.
The key for the Giants to be successful will be the offensive line. They'll need to clear a path and keep a clean pocket against a Bears team that still has a formidable pass rush (25 sacks) and can still force turnovers (14 takeaways) with the best of them. The Bears defense certainly hasn't been the same since losing both Akiem Hicks and Danny Trevathan to elbow injuries, and opposing teams have had some success exploiting those voids on the field. But this will be the test for the Giants.
Even though the Giants rank 27th in total defense (381.7 yards allowed per game), and 30th in scoring defense (31.3 points per game), they're tied for 12th in sacks (24) and have registered 12 takeaways in 2019. The G-Men will be looking to take advantage of an inconsistent Bears offense that ranks 28th in scoring offense (16.9 ppg), and 29th in total offense (262.7 ypg).
The Bears have won three of the last seven meetings with the Giants and evenly split the last two games at Soldier Field. The Giants are 1-4 on the road this year, while the Bears are 2-2 in their last four home games. The Bears will find a way to shake off last week's loss and take advantage of the Giants' struggles as their defense paves the way for a close win in a hard-hitting game.
Prediction: Bears 16, Giants 13
— Gabe Salgado is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. He's also written for NBC, Fox, The Sporting News, The Sports Journal, The Undefeated and Complex. He's a co-host of The Rewind Sports: 60. Follow him on Twitter @GabeSalgado82.