The New York Giants (2-8) return from their bye week looking to halt a six-game losing streak. They will try to do so with a Week 12 road trip to face the Chicago Bears (4-6), whom they defeated last year at home in an overtime thriller. The Giants have won four of their last five games at Soldier Field, but lost their most recent visit there in 2013.
Here are five storylines to follow this week:
WHO’S STARTING AT QB FOR CHICAGO?
Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky suffered a right hip pointer late in the first half of the Bears’ 17-7 loss to the Rams on Sunday night. The second overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft returned to the field in the second half, but the injury worsened as the game wore on at the Coliseum. Backup Chase Daniel eventually took over with a few minutes left in the game, and whether or not he stays there against the Giants remains to be seen.
Asked about Trubisky’s status on Monday, coach Matt Nagy said the Bears are “working through that” and added that Trubisky would “absolutely” start if healthy enough to play.
“As we go the next couple days, we’ll see where he’s at,” Nagy said. “But that’s not what he wants and that’s not what we want. We want to keep growing.”
If he can’t play, Daniel will make his sixth career start and second against the Giants. Trubisky missed last year’s matchup due to a shoulder injury, and Daniel completed 26 of 39 passes for 285 yards and a touchdown (with two interceptions) in his place at MetLife Stadium. The Bears scored 10 points in the final 73 seconds, including a trick play where running back Tarik Cohen threw a one-yard touchdown to Anthony Miller to tie the game as the time expired in regulation. Aldrick Rosas kicked a 44-yard field goal on the Giants’ first possession of overtime, and the defense made a key stand to seal the victory.
Tight end Evan Engram shed the walking boot on Monday, when the Giants returned to practice at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center. He was inactive against the Jets with a foot injury but is optimistic he can return this Sunday in Chicago.
“It’s definitely possible, I feel good,” Engram said. “We’ll see where we’re at (in the) middle to the end of this week. I’m staying locked in in meetings, game plans and stuff like that, that’s very important as well. I think as long as I stay prepared mentally and continue to do what I do with my foot, I could be ready to go.”
Meanwhile, the Giants lost three starting offensive linemen before the bye week, but two of them -- center Jon Halapio (hamstring) and right tackle Mike Remmers (back) – returned to practice this week. Left tackle Nate Solder, who suffered a concussion in the Jets game, was excused Monday for personal reasons. Wide receiver Sterling Shepard, cornerback Janoris Jenkins and tight end Rhett Ellison were in the concussion protocol to start the week.
STATUS OF THE GIANTS O-LINE
After starting the same five linemen in the first nine games, 60 percent of the offensive line changed in Week 10 due to injuries. Spencer Pulley started at center, Nick Gates made his first career start at right tackle, and Eric Smith came in at left tackle when Solder went down. Shurmur said Monday that everyone would return to their normal spots if healthy. In the meantime, Shurmur liked what he saw from Gates, undrafted a year ago.
“Yeah, he did a good job,” Shurmur said. “We anticipated that he would go in and battle. He’s played guard and he’s played tackle for us in the practice settings and certainly the preseason games, so we felt like if he went in, he would battle like he did.”
NEXT STEPS FOR DANIEL JONES, SAQUON BARKLEY
Rookie Daniel Jones went into the bye week after hitting the trifecta of 300 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions for the second time this season. The only other rookie ever to post a 300-4-0 game was Tennessee’s Marcus Mariota in 2015. But Jones’ performance did not come without another lost fumble, which Jets safety Jamal Adams returned for a touchdown. Jones has lost nine fumbles in nine games (eight in eight starts) in addition to eight interceptions.
In his final game before the break, Saquon Barkley totaled a single yard on 13 rushing attempts. Barkley said the bye week always comes at the right time, but that was especially true this year as he looks to put his Week 3 ankle injury further in the rearview mirror. Barkley missed three games but returned for the next four before the bye week.
GAME PLANNING AROUND KHALIL MACK
Last year, the Bears rode their defense to the franchise’s first NFC North title since 2010. This year, it is still stout. Chicago’s defense ranks fourth in scoring and eighth in total yards. However, a year after leading the NFL with 36 takeaways (league average was 22), the Bears are tied for 13th with 14 forced turnovers heading into Week 12. All-Pro linebacker Khalil Mack, meanwhile, did not record a single tackle last week, as the Rams, like everyone else, game planned around him.
“That’s kind of the blueprint that everyone’s following,” defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano said on the Bears Coaches Show on WBBM Newsradio. “It’s week to week. When we go in, we’ve got to face a great back coming up on Sunday, so we’re going to do everything we can to make sure that Barkley doesn’t beat us, and every one of our opponents is going to make sure that Khalil Mack doesn’t wreck the game.”
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