The Giants face the Bears on Sunday afternoon in Soldier Field. The Bears (5-10) defeated the Seahawks in Seattle last week, 25-24. The Giants own the Bears' first-round draft pick next season as part of their first-round trade down that netted them Kadarius Toney. The Bears currently own the eighth pick in the NFL Draft, while the Giants are slotted in the fifth spot.
When the Bears have the ball…
The Bears have had to start three different quarterbacks over the course of the season due to injuries and coach's decisions. Last week, Nick Foles started while rookie Justin Fields was nursing an ankle injury. Andy Dalton has spent time on the COVID list and dealing with a fractured hand. At this point, it is unknown what quarterback will start this week.
Dalton and Foles are veteran pocket passers who can read defenses and deliver the ball on-time and accurately. Neither player has the mobility of Justin Fields. The Bears are 1-3 in games where Andy Dalton was the primary passer. Nick Foles is 1-0 in his lone start. Fields is 3-7 in games where he took the majority of snaps, though one win was nearly an even split with Andy Dalton in Week 2 against the Bengals.
Fields has flashed elite throws throughout the year, but like most rookies he has been inconsistent. He has only completed 59% of his passes for 1,870 yards to go with seven touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He tends to hold the ball too long (3.06 second average time to throw – fourth-slowest in the NFL) and has been sacked 36 times in only 378 dropbacks. They are tied for the most sacks allowed in the NFL with 49.
Fields can run the ball effectively as part of a designed read-option game or as a scrambler when plays break down. At 6'3 and 228 pounds, he is difficult to bring down and he has the speed to run away from defenders for big plays. He has 420 rushing yards this season and two rushing touchdowns.
No team averages fewer passing yards per game (185.3) than the Bears.
RB David Montgomery missed time with a knee injury earlier in the year, so he's been limited to 183 carries in 11 games for 713 yards (3.9 avg.) and five touchdowns. Montgomery is a powerful back (5'10, 222 pounds) who can run through arm tackles – he has 21 carries of 10+ yards and the Bears are eighth in the NFL averaging 123 rushing yards per game.
Montgomery led the Bears with seven catches for 61 yards last week against Seattle, bringing his season totals to 38 catches for 277 yards. Rookie Khalil Herbert is his backup. No team runs the ball more frequently (50% of snaps) than the Bears in the first half of games. They also Bears rank fifth with 13 runs of 20+ yards and seventh with 52 runs of 10+ yards.
Sam Mustipher (center), james Daniels (right guard) and Cody Whitehair (left guard) have started every game this season. Veteran Jason Peter was an effective starting left tackle but an injury has sidelined him the last 2 ½ games. Rookie Teven Jenkins who missed most of the season after back surgery in August was inserted at left tackle, then had to leave last week's game with a shoulder injury. Larry Borom replaced him at left tackle with veteran Germain Ifedi playing right tackle.
The Bears will get star receiver and contested catch expert Allen Robinson back off the COVID list this week. Robinson has been a disappointment this season after receiving the franchise tag last off-season, catching only 32 passes for 353 yards in 10 games. Despite standing at 6'3 at 211 pounds, he only has one touchdown and 63 targets. Speedster Darnell Mooney has 62 catches for 860 yards with three touchdowns. Second-year TE Cole Kmet has 53 catches for 539 yards as the team's second-leading receiver and Damiere Byrd will likely serve as the team's third receiver this week, although Marquise Goodwin and Dazz Newsome may get snaps, as well.
The Bears own the fourth-worst third-down offense in the NFL (35%) and the third-worst red zone unit (49%) in the league. Only one team has more negative yardage on offensive plays this season than the Bears (-462 yards). The Bears minus-13 turnover ratio is tied for second to Jacksonville in the league and only two teams have more than Chicago's 25 giveaways.
Keys for the Giants' defense…
1. Stop the run
2. Force Chicago into third-and-long
3. Pressure the Bears' quarterbacks and force them into mistakes
View rare photos of the history between the New York Giants and Chicago Bears ahead of their Week 17 matchup.
When the Giants have the ball…
The Bears' defense has remained effective despite not having Khalil Mack for most of the season due to a foot injury. They rank ninth in yards allowed per game (326.5), 15th on third down (39%) and 14th in the red zone (56%). They've allowed the ninth-most points per game (24.9), but that number is inflated by the large number of offensive giveaways.
Robert Quinn leads the NFC with 17 sacks and trails only TJ Watt who leads the league with 17.5. He plays exclusively over the left tackle and will match up with Andrew Thomas. Quinn also has 19 quarterback hits and 17 tackles for loss. He has the classic speed, quickness and bend to win on the edge and get to the quarterback. DT Akiem Hicks has battled injuries throughout the season and missed last week's game after being placed on the COVID list. Despite only playing in eight games, he has 3.5 sacks and nine quarterback hits.
Trevor Gipson and Bruce Irvin have been getting snaps across from Quinn at left outside linebacker. Eddie Goldman is a run-stuffing defensive tackle who is very effective on early downs. The Bears have 42 sacks this season, with is tied for fifth in the NFL. Linebacker Roquan Smith leads the Bears in tackles with 149, including has 11 tackles for a loss and three sacks. Former Giants Alec Ogletree has been getting snaps next to him in the 3-4 defense. The Bears have allowed an average of 5.99 yards per first down, which is the fourth-most in the NFL.
The cornerbacks are Jaylon Johnson (right side) and Kindle Vildor (left side). Duke Shelley is their primary nickel corner. Johnson missed last week's game against Seattle on the COVID list. The Bears have allowed an opposing quarterback rating of 116 on first down, which is the highest in the NFL.
Veteran safeties Eddie Jackson and Tashaun Gipson have Deon Bush as their primary backup. Gipson missed last week's game on the COVID list. Jackson has always been known as a ball-hawking safety though he doesn't have any interceptions this season.
Keys for the Giants' offense…
1. Be an effective and efficient first-down offense
2. Do not let Robert Quinn or Akiem Hicks wreck the game
3. Win outside against the Bears' wide receivers