WHO'S UNDER CENTER?
The Giants head into this weekend with questions at quarterback. Coach Joe Judge told the media earlier in the week that both Mike Glennon and Jake Fromm may get on the field against the Bears.
"I wouldn't say necessarily that I want to play both guys. I just say I expect everyone to play," he said in his weekly interview with Giants.com. "To me, we may have different things for different guys at different times. If that ends up factoring into the game plan, then we'll go ahead and use it."
Sunday's game will mark the 62nd all-time matchup between the Giants and Bears. The first game took place in 1925, with the Bears emerging with a 19-7 victory. The Giants picked up the victory in the first Chicago meeting between the two clubs, 9-0, just one week later. Big Blue's last victory in Chicago was in 2007, when Derrick Ward rushed for 152 yards and a touchdown and had 29 receiving yards in 21-16 game.
Out: WR Collin Johnson (Hamstring), WR John Ross (Knee/COVID Ramp Up), WR Kadarius Toney (Shoulder)
Doubtful: OL Billy Price (Not Injury Related)
Questionable: DB Adoree' Jackson (Quad/COVID Ramp Up), DL Austin Johnson (Foot), TE Chris Myarick (Hip), OL Nate Solder (COVID Ramp Up)
Doubtful: TE J.P. Holtz (Personal)
Questionable: DB Duke Shelley (Heel), QB Justin Fields (Ankle), OL Jason Peters (Ankle), NT Eddie Goldman (Finger), DT Akiem Hicks (COVID Ramp Up)
NO MEANINGLESS GAMES
The loss in Philadelphia officially eliminated the Giants from playoff contention for the fifth straight season. Chicago is out of the race, too, but Judge talked about there being no such thing as a meaningless game in the NFL.
"We all lost John Madden [this week]," Judge said. "One thing John Madden was great about when you really sit back and you listen to some of the things that he said throughout his career, and he talked about the importance of every game and every opportunity in the National Football League, and the value of the opportunity that we have to coach or play in this league. None of that should be taken for granted. I hear people all the time say 'meaningless games.' What is a meaningless game? Everyone here has worked very hard to be in this position, to play or coach in this league. We're only guaranteed or promised so many games a year. It's a privilege to have the opportunity to go out here and compete. There's no such thing as a meaningless game. There's wasted effort, there's wasted preparation, but there are no meaningless games."
Meanwhile, there are draft implications. The Giants and Bears conducted a trade in the first round of this year's draft, with the Bears moving up to No. 11 in order to select Justin Fields. The Giants emerged from draft weekend with Chicago's first and fourth-round picks in 2022.
As it stands now, the Giants' own first-round pick sits at No. 5, while the Bears are at No. 8. The Giants will conclude their season at home against Washington, while the Bears will finish in Minnesota. The Giants could go into next year's draft with two Top-10 picks.
The Giants welcomed several players back in the building Wednesday after they were cleared from the COVID list. Defensive backs Adoree' Jackson and Keion Crossen, along with wide receiver John Ross, cleared COVID protocols and returned to practice. Defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence was added to the list Wednesday morning, joining defensive tackle Danny Shelton and defensive back Julian Love. On Thursday, offensive tackle Nate Solder was activated from the COVID list, while tackle Korey Cunningham and wide receiver Darius Slayton were added.
The Giants also placed two players on injured reserve Thursday, thus ending their seasons two weeks early. Offensive tackle Matt Peart tore his ACL against the Eagles last week, while rookie running back Gary Brightwell is dealing with a neck injury.
Bears rookie quarterback Justin Fields (ankle) missed last week's win and it is still too early to tell if he will suit up on Sunday. Andy Dalton has started four games for Chicago this season, going 2-2, but it was Nick Foles leading the offense over the Seahawks last week. However, Dalton has been a full participant at practice all week, and Bears head coach Matt Nagy announced Friday that Dalton would start under center with Fields listed as questionable.
"They have three talented quarterbacks," Judge said. "All three have played this year. All three can make plays in different ways, whether it's the young guy (Justin) Fields, who's obviously a guy who's got a strong arm, very athletic, very talented, has the ability to make a lot of big plays outside the pocket, does a good job keeping his eyes down the field and taking shots. You talk about (Nick) Foles getting in the other day. He's obviously a very experienced guy, can push the ball down the field, very good arm. And obviously, (Andy) Dalton is a very accomplished player in this league, really knows how to take the profit, move the ball down the field consistently."
View rare photos of the history between the New York Giants and Chicago Bears ahead of their Week 17 matchup.
CONTAINING MONTGOMERY, MOONEY
Chicago should have their top two offensive playmakers on the field, starting with running back David Montgomery this weekend. Montgomery leads the team with 183 rush attempts for 713 yards and five touchdowns, adding 38 receptions for 277 yards in 11 games. The young running back has shown tremendous ball protection this season, fumbling just once.
Montgomery's 38 receptions rank third on the team. However, the top target in Chicago's aerial attack is second-year wide receiver Darnell Mooney. In 15 games (13 starts) this season, Mooney has registered 63 receptions for 680 yards, both of which lead the team, while his three receiving touchdowns are tied with Jimmy Graham for the most on the Bears.
"That's something this team really does as a strength is they have a lot of extended drives," Judge said on Wednesday. "One of the top teams in the league in having drives over 10 plays long, so they can stay on the field, they can capitalize, they have good schemes, they have good systems, they have good coaching. They're a team offensively that likes to stay balanced and make plays."
After registering at least one turnover in each of the first 11 games of the season, the Giants' defense has just one takeaway over the past four games (all losses). Meanwhile, the offense has turned over the ball nine times during that same span, with multiple turnovers in each of their past three games. However, the Giants have a great opportunity to buck those trends this weekend. Chicago enters this matchup with a minus-13 turnover differential on the season, the second-worst in the NFL. The defense has just 12 takeaways through 15 games, while the offense has turned over the ball 25 times, both of which are the third-worst marks in the league. Despite the Giants' lack of takeaways in recent weeks, the defense still ranks tied for 13th with 20 takeaways.
STOPPING BEARS' PASS RUSH
The Chicago defense has excelled at rushing the quarterback. The Bears have accumulated 42 sacks on the year, tied with the Rams for the fifth in the league. Leading the way is veteran linebacker Robert Quinn, whose 17 sacks is 0.5 sacks shy of Pittsburgh's T.J. Watt for the league lead.
Left tackle Andrew Thomas is likely to see a good amount of Quinn, which should be a great test for the second-year player. Thomas' 82.8 pass block grade from Pro Football Focus comes in at No. 10 among NFL offensive tackles this season, as he has surrendered just one sack over his last 462 pass-blocking snaps. Nate Solder, who was activated of the COVID list this week, should see some action against Quinn as well, as he is likely to start at right tackle following Matt Peart's knee injury.
Despite playing in different divisions, the Giants and Bears have seen each other quite a lot in recent years. Sunday's meeting between two of the league's storied franchises will mark the fourth consecutive season they face off, and the fifth time in six years. Oddly enough, each of the past four meetings have been decided by one score. The Bears have won the previous two meetings by a combined nine points, while the Giants emerged victorious in 2018 and '16 by a combined nine points. Both of the Bears' wins came at Soldier Field, while the Giants' victories occurred at MetLife Stadium.
During last year's Week 2 matchup, Montgomery registered a game-high 127 yards from scrimmage (82 rushing, 45 receiving) and a touchdown. Mooney also caught a touchdown pass, finishing with three receptions for 36 yards and the score, while the Bears defense recorded four sacks and one interception of Daniel Jones.